From the AMI Archives: AMIDebug Rx USB Debug Tool

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Throughout the years, one area that BIOS development has traditionally been slightly lacking in is the availability of robust tools for BIOS debug. Traditionally, developers were often limited to unwieldy solutions like expensive, hard-to-find POST “checkpoint cards” based on aging PCI technology. Yet the landscape of BIOS debug tools changed dramatically in 2009 when AMI introduced the AMIDebug™ Rx tool, the first dedicated, low-cost, portable debug solution.

In today’s post, we will introduce AMIDebug Rx, look at its key features and benefits and assess how it has lived up to expectations in the years since it was first launched.

AMIDebug Rx was truly the first of its kind: a low-cost debug tool built around the debug port feature common on modern USB 2.0 EHCI controllers. Its thoughtful design was reflected in its convenient, portable form factor that easily fits a pocket, roughly the size of a mobile phone.

Product literature for the product noted that “BIOS debug can be tricky; AMIDebug Rx greatly simplifies it, in all phases of system development and deployment. Perfect for today’s embedded and Ultrabook™ platforms, but sophisticated enough for use with advanced workstations and servers, this product is ideal for BIOS developers, quality assurance labs and field service technicians.”

One key to the practicality of AMIDebug Rx is its ability to diagnose small form factor platforms like tablets and netbooks in a nonintrusive manner, allowing technicians to access checkpoints without opening the hardware case. Another key advantage was its replacement of the checkpoint card’s traditional 7-segment LED with a small LCD screen – thus providing the ability to display more descriptive debugging messages than before.

Additionally, it was designed with on-board memory to capture and store debug data in one of four “sessions” for later use, making it the perfect companion to checkpoint-rich Aptio® and Aptio® V firmware. AMIDebug has also proven itself as a truly integrated solution, working seamlessly with our AMIDebug™ for UEFI debug software for easy access to recorded checkpoints, UEFI debug messages and timing data for measuring boot performance.

AMIDebug Rx has stood the test of time well, as orders for these units still reach AMI from BIOS customers and manufacturers around the globe even today. This is a source of immense pride for AMI, knowing that one of the many development tools originally conceived of and designed for internal development use has gone on to widespread adoption outside of our own labs.

Thanks for reading today’s Tech Blog! Do you have any experienced using AMIDebug Rx or other AMI debug and development tools? Feel free to drop us a line via social media or our Contact Us form and let us know – and what you might like to see in future posts!