congatec embedded BIOS/UEFI

Embedded computer users usually require more than the standard functionality of an office computer. congatec has taken these requirements into account when designing BIOS/UEFI functionalities. Based on our large amount of BIOS and UEFI experience, we have implemented the embedded requirements into our powerful congatec BIOS / UEFI platform


congatec Board Controller
An onboard micro controller fully isolates most of the embedded features, such as system monitoring, multi stage watchdog or the I²C bus, from the x86 core architecture. This results in higher embedded feature performance and higher overall system reliability

Board Information

The congatec Board Controller provides a rich data set of manufacturing data and board information: serial number, article number, EAN code, manufacturing and repair date, running time                                       meter, boot counter and more.          

Post Code Redirection
The BIOS Port 80h outputs can be forwarded to the I2C bus, the SMBus or to the module UART. This allows for better in-system debugging

OEM Setup Menu Control
The feature allows customers to hide or show setup nodes and to change the descriptions at the BIOS setup screens. Full control for the setup screens is provided to the OEM.

                    OEM Verb Table

                       To initialize carrier board HDA codecs at BIOS level

                    User Data Memory
                       congatec modules provide 32 Bytes of non-volatile storage in
                       the EEPROM and a 64 kByte block in the BIOS flash memory. 
                       This can be used to store critical and important operating data
                       e.g. system ID, IP address, software key, etc. User Data Memory
                       can be locked to prevent manipulation.

                       UEFI Screenshot Driver
                       This allows saving the current screen of the BIOS setup to a USB
                       flash drive. The resulting .png files can be used
                       for professional system documentation.

Allows customers to a “do it yourself” integration of their own legacy code into the BIOS BOOT flow. The congatec embedded BIOS calls OEM code at designated schedules. Possible options are before/after OpROM scan, before setup and before boot. This can be used to initialize custom carrier board hardware, to add PCI/ PCIe OpROMs and boot loaders, to provide Windows SLP string and SLIC tables for OEM activation, to create own HDA codec verb tables or for other OEM customizations.

OEM BIOS Default Settings
The congatec embedded BIOS allows users to create custom OEM default settings. These settings can be stored as defaults in the flash memory.


BIOS Setup Data Backup
The BIOS configuration settings are held in flash memory to allow battery-less applications.

Fast Mode I²C Bus
The I²C Bus is a simple serial bus interface often used for sensors, converters or data storage in embedded applications. All congatec modules offer a 400 kHz multi-master I²C hardware

                    Further congatec BIOS/BC Features
                       Type based boot device selection, legacy USB support, USB
                       MSD service boot and generic LPC decoding are also
                       supported. Further features include AT mode shutdown
                       configuration (halt, restart), LID & Sleep support and P-State
                       reduction. Some platforms also allow to drive any IRQ over
                       SERIRQ at the GPIO interface.

Power Loss and Power-up Control
This feature controls the operation mode after AC power loss and
normal power on. Turn on, remain off and last state modes are possible.
This feature does not require an installed CMOS battery.

ACPI Battery Management
The congatec ACPI BIOS and Board Controller are designed to
support a CMB (Control Method Battery) sub-system. It’s possible to
implement customized battery solutions by following the congatec CMB
design guide. The solution also supports the commonly used Smart Battery
Chargers and solutions with only a battery implemented.

Multi Stage Watchdog Timer
All congatec modules are equipped with a multi stage watchdog timer supporting different events such as ACPI event, NMI, hardware reset or power button. It can either assert a single                                 event and/or any combination of these events.

                    Post Watchdog Timer
                       This feature allows the monitoring of the BIOS POST process.
                       Starts at system power-up and triggers a hardware reset if
                       adjustable timeout (256 ms to 4.5 h) is exceeded before the
                       operating system is started.

Hardware Health Monitoring
The congatec BIOS and board controller have routines implemented to monitor critical components implemented. This allows for extensive fan control and standard temperature sensors for CPU, module and voltage monitoring. The flexible sensor/actuator assignment allows for easy customization.

Display Auto-detection

Automatic detection and configuration of an attached flat panel is provided via EPI. EPI is an open standard for easy and direct control of all digital flat panel displays with maximum                                           interchangeability

                    Customizable Boot Screen
                       Dark boot, a customized splash screen or a customer logo
                       during POST are the boot screen options which can be set by
                       the customer directly.

LVDS Backlight Control
The backlight intensity can be set in BIOS setup or modified during run time by using the CGOS API and ACPI methods from the operating systems. External DACs and potentiometers are supported. Connections are supported utilizing the I2C or PWM signals.

Allows creation of customized EDID data for any LVDS flat panel and add it to the list of predefined types.

Measured Boot with TPM2.0
Full TPM chip support is provided by the BIOS to support features like Bitlocker and Measured Boot.

                    BIOS write and update protection
                       Both of these functions are available once the BIOS Password
                       has been set in the BIOS Setup. When enabled, the BIOS cannot
                       be updated or modified, BIOS write and update protection can
                       be temporarily disabled with the congatec System Utility
                       (CGUTIL) (requires BIOS Password). The congatec BIOS
                       password is SHA256 encrypted.

Secure Boot with OEM Platform Key
UEFI Secure Boot is about making sure only properly signed and verified images are executed. The main overall reason for UEFI Secure Boot is to prevent any unauthorized software from being loaded in the pre-boot space. The congatec embedded BIOS allows to integrate OEM Platform Keys establishing a trust relationship between the platform owner and the platform firmware.

OS Support
32/64 Bit Uniform OS API

The congatec embedded BIOS Features are accessible through the uniform APIs EAPI (a PICMG® definition) and and the congatec proprietary CGOS API interface.

                    OEM SMBIOS/DMI Data

                       Allows customers to update several SMBIOS strings. This allows
                       for DMI table content control by the OEM customer directly. No
                       3rd party tools are required.

                    Optimized Power Management
                       ACPI Power Management and System Configuration are
                       supported by the congatec BIOS/UEFI according to the
                       ACPI specification.

                    OEM UEFI DXE Driver / Bootloader
                       This feature allows customers to integrate their own UEFI
                       DXE driver and bootloaders. The built-in CGOS DXE driver
                       allows for CGOS support (for example to use the I2C bus
                       or initialize the watchdog) in these OEM DXE drivers.

Optimizations for Real Time Operation
The congatec BIOS includes features to optimize the module behavior for best real time operation. CPU and GPU clocks can be fixed and turbo modes / SpeedStep / C-states can be disabled. Further options include PCIe/DMI ASPM disable, Passive cooling disable and support for exclusive IRQ.

Board Support Packages
congatec offers advanced BSPs, which include both the latest tested drivers from silicon vendors and the congatec specific drivers for accessing all of our additional embedded BIOS and module features.

congatec System Utility
All embedded BIOS features are accessible through the use of a congatec utility. This includes all manufacturing and statistical information; e.g. serial number, running hours, boot counter etc. BIOS default settings, bootlogo and flat panel configurations can easily be programmed using this flexible and powerful tool.