What is iAMT?

If you look more closely at Intel Core i processors, you may come across the term "iAMT", short for Intel Active Management Technology. In this article we have summarized , what stands behind it and what functions iAMT has.

Intel Active Management Technology, iAMT  for short, is a system for the administration and remote maintenance of PCs. It is based on the Intel vPro platform and consists of its own hardware component, the Intel Management Engine (Intel ME for short). It is installed as a microcontroller in all current chipsets, including Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and Xeon processors.

This microcontroller always runs when the computer has power, since it is supplied with power via the 5-volt supply of the power supply. The PC does not have to be switched on for this. This hardware-based management has the advantage that most features can also be used when the PC is turned off or crashed. There are only a few functions, the PC needs to run for. The computer, which is to be managed via iAMT, can be controlled via cable or WLAN.

What functions does iAMT have?

iAMT can perform various tasks, e.g.

  • Turn the PC on or off remotely
  • Steer the boot process in a different direction, e.g. to boot from a CD
  • Reset the computer
  • Change BIOS settings
  • Turn power supply on and off
  • Redirect keyboard, mouse and display output via the KVM switch
  • Get information about errors
  • Initiate remote control sessions

What are the disadvantages of iAMT?

Unfortunately, iAMT has enormous security holes. The German Federal Office for Information Security already warned in 2015 about the Intel Active Management Technology. In 2017 it became known that is was possible to take over computers completely. More information can for example be found here

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What is BIOS?
2 May 2016 Array ( [id] => 186 [title] => What is BIOS? [authorId] => [active] => 1 [shortDescription] => In the first part of our BIOS-series we explain the terms BIOS and UEFI. We also talk about the tasks of the BIOS and we answer the important question of how to actually get into the BIOS. [description] =>

What is BIOS?

The abbreviation BIOS means “Basic Input/Output System”. It is the firmware of a PC –  A software which is built integrated into the hardware. The BIOS is stored on a small chip in the mainboard of the computer and is always preinstalled. There are motherboards, which also have a second chip, that acts as backup. The BIOS is the link between the software (OS) and hardware components such as hard drives, keyboard, mouse and printer. The navigation in BIOS is only possible with a keyboard.

And what is this UEFI?

The new version of BIOS is called UEFI, which means unified extensible firmware interface. UEFI looks like an operating system, can be controlled by mouse and is capable of executing programs.

What is BIOS responsible for?

The main tasks of the BIOS are a self-test and the initialization of the hardware as well as the communication between the operating system and other components. When a computer is turned on, the BIOS starts and prepares the PC for booting. First it performs the power-on self-test (POST). The computer checks one by one whether the basic hardware components such as CPU and RAM are working properly. If errors are found, the BIOS displays them by specific sounds or on screen, if the graphics have already been tested successfully.

Following this self-test, the booting process starts. For this, the hardware must know from which component it should boot the operating system. The BIOS searches the operating system in the available devices (hard drives, USB, DVD) following a specific order. As soon as it finds software, the PC is booting automatically. The order of the drives, on which to search for the operating system, can be set in the BIOS. For instance if you want to delete the existing OS and install a new one via DVD, it is necessary to set “CDROM” as first boot device. Other tasks of the BIOS are managing date and time as well as the temperature monitoring of the processor and the mainboard.

How do I get into the BIOS?

To enter the BIOS, a certain key must be pressed (multiple times!)  right after  turning on the PC and even before the operating system  is booted. It depends on the manufacturer which key: usually - and also at all spo-books – the BIOS is accessed by pressing the key "F2" or "Del".

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What is BIOS?
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8 May 2019 Array ( [id] => 415 [title] => What’s New? The end of Windows 7, spo-comm at the Nürnberg Digital Festival & Nvidias Development Kit [authorId] => [active] => 1 [shortDescription] => Our news for May have plenty to offer: We say goodbye to Windows 7, but Hello to the Nürnberg Digital Festival and we discover a new Nvidia beginner’s platform. [description] =>

Windows 7 – The end has come

We already mentioned in our news in June last year, that spo-comm can only support Windows 10 for new systems.

Now the time for all the other Mini-PCs has come, too. The Windows 7 SB versions are no longer available. The spo-comm Mini-PCs can from now on only be equipped with Windows 10 (IoT) or – after consultation – with Windows 7 Embedded.

AI AI, Captain: spo-comm at the Nürnberg Digital Festival

At the Nürnberg Digital Festival we will be organizing an event all about the topic Artificial Intelligence. Here the participants can experience and learn what Nvidias programming technique CUDA has to do with AI and Deep Learning. More information about our guest speakers, the application examples of our customers and the event in general, we have put together in another blog article.

CUDA & 4K: Nvidias Jetson Nano Development Kit

As the name suggests, Nvidia brought a new board for developers to market. It is called Jetson Nano and has four ARM processing cores with 1.43 GHz as its centerpiece. These are combined with a 4GB high LPDDR4 RAM. The Developer Kit only comes up with 5 Watt power consumption. The Jetson Nano also is equipped with 128 CUDA cores with which 4K@60 Hz videos can be encoded in the H.264 standard and decoded in the H.265 standard.

The Jetson Nano has – despite its small dimensions of only 100 x 80 x 29 mm – next to a passive cooling system also many different connectors. These include five USB ports, one of them Micro-USB, one HDMI and one DisplayPort for connecting monitors, as well as a Gigabit LAN port. With the CSI-2 a camera can be connected, too, and a microSD card slot is also available.

Find more information about the Jetson Nano here and in this video.

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23 Apr 2019 Array ( [id] => 409 [title] => What is UEFI? [authorId] => [active] => 1 [shortDescription] => The well-known BIOS is more and more being replaced by its successor UEFI. So it’s time to take a closer look at this UEFI and its benefits. [description] =>

The abbreviation UEFI stands for "Unified Extensible Firmware Interface". It is the successor to the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) and much easier to use. UEFI is an interface between the firmware, the individual hardware components of the computer and the operating system. UEFI has the same basic functions as the BIOS. It initializes the hardware, tests the individual hardware components and initiates booting the operating system.

How was UEFI developed?

BIOS was developed in the seventies for the first IBM PC released in 1981. So it’s not surprising that it’s already getting old. Since it is not 64-bit-compatible and because of other reasons, BIOS no longer meets the requirements of newer hardware. As a result, Intel took the first step and developed the successor EFI, which was specified in 1998. To further develop EFI, the Unified EFI Forum was founded. Among Intel, AMD and Microsoft, also other manufacturers belong to it. The first version of UEFI was released in 2006. Since Windows Vista it is supported by Windows.

What is Secure Boot?

Probably the most important new feature of the UEFI is Secure Boot, which increases the security of booting. It prevents malicious software from being loaded during the boot process, which then manipulates or attacks the computer. This is done via a digital key, the bootloaders and programs must identify with. If software exits, which cannot be authenticated, the start of the system is prevented.

What are the benefits of UEFI?

  • Graphical user interface, which – unlike the BIOS – can also be operated by mouse instead of just by keyboard.
  • 64-bit support
  • Drivers can be integrated directly or reloaded as a module.
  • The PC boots faster, since the hardware components are prepared parallel during initialization and not one after another as with the BIOS.
  • Booting from hard disks larger than 2 TB is possible.
  • Network support: The UEFI can go online and like this, for example, be updated to a newer version.
  • Certain functions can be used even before the operating system starts.
  • Several operating systems can be installed parallel.
  • The user can choose which parts of the operating systems should load.

What are the disadvantages of UEFI?

  • 64-bit are necessary.
  • Virus and Trojan threat due to network support, since UEFI doesn’t have anti-virus software.
  • When using Linux, Secure Boot can cause problems.

How do I get into UEFI?

If you want to get into the UEFI, on most computers you have to press the “delete” Key several times in quick succession directly after switching on the PC. If this does not lead to success, it is worth looking into the manual. Sometimes it is another key that allows access to BIOS or UEFI.

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What is UEFI?
The well-known BIOS is more and more being replaced by its successor UEFI. So it’s time to take a closer look at this UEFI and its benefits.