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I did some work with the PC-AT BIOS and BIOS extension roms 25 years ago, so when I found out about this book I ordered it immediately. Having read 1/2 of it and having built some of the software (chapter 7) on the cdrom, I give this book 5 stars, but with a caveat. This book and its cdrom are heavily Microsoft Windows-centric. Doing things with the files on the cdrom using linux or *bsd instead of Microsoft Windows, while not difficult, will be accompanied by a certain amount of pain as the doer massages file formatting to make the files work with the gcc toolchain. It's even worse in my case since I am running 64-bit OpenBSD and I can't run any 32-bit software (eg Fasm) on the 64-bit version of OpenBSD.
The reader of this book not familiar with x86 assembly code had better have a dos x86 assembly tutorial handy. All the BIOS code is written in 16-bit x86 assembly.
That said, this is a uniquely informative book on PC BIOS-related hardware and I recommend it highly to those who want to learn all about the workings of the BIOS, either AWARD or AMI.
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BIOS Disassembly Ninjutsu Uncovered is a very good book indeed. The author, Darmawan Mappatutu Salihun, has the rare talent of explaining very complex topics in plain language. He really can take the worst obscure datasheets and tell you what's going on. This type of book is an all-too-rare find.
This book first gives you the Big Picture about the BIOS in PC computers, because you need that to find out where the next chapters fit in. What does the memory map look like? How does the BIOS start up? Then the author zeroes in on subjects that I haven't seen much coverage on anywhere. I didn't know how PCI worked, but he showed me how it was configured by the BIOS. How does the BIOS start up? Well, it's stored compressed, and gets uncompressed into RAM, and run. (Jeeze, the BIOS is really big!) Power On Self Test? BIOS file structure? Award and AMI BIOS layout? All here.
If nothing else, the author has gathered the essentials of a whole bunch of datasheets into one book. BIOS chips. Motherboard specs. CPU specs. PCI specs. On and on and on... You can see why this book stays on my "instant access" shelf.
In the areas the data sheets just do not cover, it's obvious the author has applied both hardware and software probes to find out... what on earth! is going on. Titles like "Obscure Hardware Ports" make my day! How a BIOS uses the CPU cache for RAM before RAM has been initialized ... cool beans!
Of course, he shows how to read and write the BIOS, along with plenty of warnings and caution. You definitely don't want to blunder into that without all the specialized knowledge (and source code!) in this book.
Then we get into how to read/write a PCI plug-in card's ROM, in careful detail.Read more ›
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Okay, I understand that this may be out of print. BUT, is there ANYONE willing to sell this for a REASONABLE price? This is like the only book about BIOS disassembly!!!!!!!! I want it, but PLEASE lower the price?!?!?!?!?!