Operating System Dependency on BIOS

Discussion in 'Processors and Motherboards' started by Matthew Copeland, Jul 14, 2016.

  1. Matthew Copeland

    Matthew Copeland New Member

    Mar 23, 2016
    Likes Received:
    First things first. I am a software developer trying to learn hardware. I hope my question is clear and concise. I am open to feedback in this regard.

    Problem: I built a server using the Tyan S8236WGM3NR-IL based upon the AMD SR5690 chipset.

    I want to install Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter. It is not on Tyan's supported OS list.

    Supermicro has an almost identical board H8DG6-F. It does support WS2012R2 (With a caveat that it appears to only support dot hill SATA).

    There are 3 total drivers for the Supermicro H8DG6-F:
    1. Intel LAN
    2. dot hill Raid Drivers
    3. Assured VRA Management (for dot hill raid)
    My big picture question: If I am comfortable with the idea of not having native motherboard SATA/SAS support, can I use the Tyan S8236WGM3NR-IL for a WS2012R2 Data Center installation with Hyper-V Manager?

    To be clear, This is not mission critical production server, it is for R&D purposes. However, I want the server performance to match a production server with the same hardware. I would prefer not to spend any more money. If I have to spend an extra 500 to get the Supermicro H8DG6-F in order to achieve that performance, I will.

    This leads to a few more questions.

    Having only built an Intel server prior, it is surprising to me that I cannot find AMD SR5690 chipset drivers for any motherboard manufactured for that chipset.

    Does Microsoft exclusively provide these chipset drivers?

    Can a BIOS implementation be critical to supporting a specific OS? For example, could Supermicro have released a H8DG6-F BIOS which natively supports virtualization, LAN, SMBUS etc. on WS2012R2?

    These all may work on the Tyan board, but would it be suboptimal? (To answer this question, I tried to find BIOS release notes for both Supermicro and Tyan but it appears this information is not readily available.)

  2. ttabbal

    ttabbal Active Member

    Mar 10, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Typically, a modern OS doesn't use the BIOS once the kernel loads. I'm not aware of any that do anyway. I don't run Windows Server, so I guess it could be different, but I doubt it.

    The supported OS list is usually just what they guarantee will work. Most x86 based gear runs Linux fine, for example, but it's rarely listed as "supported" by the manufacturer. Chipset drivers are most often provided by the chipset manufacturer. You might try AMDs website directly.

    If you can't get that version of Windows to run native, you might try ESXI providing a virtualization layer. That might work out better.
    Matthew Copeland likes this.
  3. Matthew Copeland

    Matthew Copeland New Member

    Mar 23, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Thank you.

    I actually have everything up and running. The SATA and SAS2 raid are nonfunctional, but I can provide disk IO through a PCI-E raid card, or maybe even with MS Storage Spaces.

    I got a little spooked by the fact that every hardware monitoring app i have (HWiNFO64, CPUID etc.) starts out reading the SMBUS info properly, but inevitably ends up corrupting.

    Plus, I don't have a lot of hardware experience I just didn't know if there were OS dependencies on the BIOS.

    Also, as far as AMD, they do not have drivers for the SR5690 available for download. As I said, I checked every mobo manufacturer site, and none of them have the chipset driver either. I have to assume they are provided by MS.
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