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In My Understanding

An old school gamer discusses the challenges facing the MMORPG community and it's leaders.

Author: jesad

Windows 8 Secure Boot and Budget Gamers.

Posted by jesad Wednesday January 9 2013 at 5:42PM
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Ok, going way off post on this one.  Call it a public service announcement.

You can save yourself a lot of build-up reading by skipping to where I say "So I get the Core i3 machine."

Christmas just passed, Merry Christmas btw.  And this year for Christmas I had this great idea that I would ask everyone to give me the same gift, a gift card from my local computer store.  The theory at work here was that it was time for an upgrade.  So instead of shelling out all of my hard earned cash on a new rig, I'd just use my collected gift cards as a discount.  Heck maybe if I had more friends or family that loved me I'd have even have enough to purchase the entire thing!

Well that didn't happen.  But I did get enough to represent a pretty good discount.  And so off to the store I went.

Now some people have all the money in the world, some people save, other people buy barebones and build from there, and other's still suffer through screenshots pretending to be games, always losing at pvp, and having to decrease their settings to the point that they can barely make out that it is even a game that they are playing anymore before forcing their selves to go into the local computer store and purchasing just what they can afford to get them back into the game.  I have been all of these people at one time or another, but this year you can slot me into the latter category as times have been tight.

So of my choices there are two machines, an AMD with a quad core processor with built in video capabilities, and a Core I3 machine.  Yeah, yeah, I know that statement just opened me up for all you guys who want to tell me how I should have gotten this or that which would have been so much better.  And although I could spend a few paragraphs going over all of the things I have traded for the ability to live on the cutting edge of computer hardware, instead I will just say that this is what I could afford.

So I research the AMD machine.  The processor is strong, the video (amazingly enough which is onboard) gets good reviews.  Heck, it even left room for you to put in a discrete video card (that's the new name for video card btw, and the fact that they had to call it something other than video card should tell you that something was becoming rotten in Denmark) and provided the discrete video card was of a certain brand, it would team up with your onboard card and allow you to operate in SLI mode.  Rumor had it that even without the addition of the extra card that one could still run such graphically intensive twitch games such as Crysis on full settings just using the onboard card.

All in all I have to say, it was a nice rig for the price.  But then I researched the Core I3 machine.

The processor benchmarked at only a little less than the AMD, but the price was a full $150 less.  With a 2 gig Nvidia GT 620 only being around $70, and me not being the graphically intensive twitch gamer type, I figured that it would be a steal to get this rig.  I could then slap a bigger processor and/or video card in later and not be confined to the two or three particular video cards that the AMD machine said I would have to buy in order to take advantage of their onboard SLI feature.

I figured that this was a pretty forward thinking process.  This was before I realized what Secure Boot was all about.

So I got the Core i3 machine.  I took it home and fired up my current favorites and, one by one, test the onboard video.  It wasn't bad but there were still things to be desired, and for the price of a new rig in this economy, the one thing that I didn't want to feel is like I didn't get my money's worth.  So I popped back to the store and picked up the video card.  I took it home, it took all of 10 minutes for me to slap it into my rig, and BOOM! the new BSOD (Black Screen of Death).

So here I am panicking, unable to get anything to work.  The new machine was Windows 8 based so, as you may know, safe mode was gone!  There was no way to force the machine into VGA mode and no way to hook up an extra monitor to the old card as, being the tech savvy guy that I am, I had disabled it through windows.  There was no way to enable the onboard card in the bios either.  In short, I was SOL.

My one saving grace was that there was a boot option command that seemed to come up just before the machine BSOD'd.  Using this command I was met with three options...

1. Use UEFI with legacy OPROM

2. Boot to legacy BIOS

3. Remain in UEFI Secure Boot Mode

Did I mention that my old rig was a windows XP machine?  It looked like I had some reading to do.  So I went out into these internets, armed only with those three options and found out what UEFI Secure Boot Mode was.  To make what has turned into a really long story a little shorter, UEFI is what some want to replace the old Basic Input Output System (BIOS) with, and Secure Boot Mode is an option of that system that allows the people who built your computer to sign all of the hardware that was in it when they built it, in order to provide you with an extra layer of protection against viruses that might attack your system on really low level.

Viruses, btw that my friends and family have been calling me paranoid for saying that they exist for years.

To put all of this into layman’s terms.  The reason that my machine had gone to black was because I had upgraded my video card, and that card was not a signed piece of hardware created by my hardware manufacturer.  The remedy?  Simple, either remove the offending piece of hardware, or turn off the UEFI secure boot mode, thus making myself now susceptible to the risks of low level infection.

So I figured I would turn off the secure boot mode, let the machine boot up with the new piece of hardware, then re-enable it with the update, you know, like you do with most anti-virus software after putting in a new program.  No sir.  You see, once you deviate from what the manufacturer says you should have in your machine, you are now tossed out of the land of secure boots akin to the way God tossed Adam out of the garden of evil.  And by that I mean, ne'er to return.

So at this point I am of course thinking "I should have gotten the AMD."  But then, would not the same thing have happened the moment I attempted to upgrade to their promised SLI pairing?

The point I am trying to make here is that MOST of us, if not all of us who are in the habit of purchasing prebuilt factory machines are also in the habit of upgrading the pitiful excuses for graphic cards that they sell many of these machines hard-wired with.  Now, with the inclusion of the UEFI Secure Boot, the average gamer, meaning you, if you are on a budget, me, and especially your KIDS, are all now forced to either buy the more expensive, pre-built, pre-signed gaming rigs, or be excluded from the world of safety that those who do not game, or those who can afford to buy those rigs, can now enjoy.

In my understanding that makes us kinda targets, don't you think?



Ok, going way off post on this one.  Call it a public service announcement.In my understanding that makes us targets, don't you think


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