Hardware Profiles

ASRock’s OMG provides parental control straight from the motherboard

For the past two weeks I have been shopping for a motherboard for a new testing computer. It has to have all or most of the latest technologies for a standard testing unit, just sufficient for what I do – reviewing Linux and BSD distributions, writing tutorials for same, and hold the potential of some day becoming a Hackintosh (yes, I will be revisiting my roots, computer-wise, soon).

One of the most important features I was looking for was support for the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, or UEFI (pronounced u-ay-phi). UEFI is the replacement for the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS). Both are firmware interfaces, but UEFI is new technology, while BIOS is old technology. Dual-booting does not seem to work the same on UEFI hardware as it does on BIOS system, hence the need for a UEFI motherboard.

So I shopped and shopped and compared options and eventually settled for a unit from ASRock, a Taiwanese company that makes computers and computer accessories.

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The model I bought is the Z77 Pro4 with an Intel LG1155 chipset. It is not super powerful, but for a testing PC, it should serve its purpose (hopefully for a long time). Then I threw in an Intel Core i3 3220 CPU with support for wireless display technology. Not only does the motherboard has support for UEFI, but the UEFI Setup Utility is mouse-friendly. All those things you used to do with a keyboard on a BIOS interface, you can now accomplish from a point-and-click interface, and more. The screen shot below gives an example of what you can see from the UEFI Setup Utility.
ASRock UEFI Motherboard Browser

From a security perspective, the most interesting feature of the UEFI Setup Utility is OMG (the Online Management Guard). It is a parental control system built into the motherboard. Neat. This is a unit I just bought yesterday, so I have not really tested this feature. In fact, I have not even installed any thing on the computer.

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Like any parental control system, it gives you the ability to restrict Internet access by day and time of day. Really neat. A Gibabyte unit I bought early this year did not have this feature.
ASRock UEFI OMG Parental Control

The gist of this article is if you use a distribution that does not have a good parental control system, and you need a good parental control system, this is the type of motherboard you would want to buy, if you want to build a new computer. More on this in a few days. Probably a short article on how I built a new testing unit for just $300.00 USD.

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  1. Stupid feature. Not the role of a motherboard. Also, does it filter porn stuff ?

    • You must also think that a router should not be acting as a firewall. After all, isn’t a router supposed to just route/switch packets.

      • “You must also think that a router should not be acting as a firewall. After all, isn’t a router supposed to just route/switch packets.”

        You can’t compare computer motherboard and router. Btw. router is more suited as firewall than motherboards BIOS because it is network hardware.

        ” potential of some day becoming a Hackintosh”

        In that case, wrong choice for motherboard, Gigabyte is better choice hin that regard.

  2. Would like to see your article more on this motherboard. I’m planning to get Asus P8B75-M LX.

  3. With or without this netnanny feature, one thing no one needs ever is an Asrock motherboard. The only thing worse is a board from PCChips.

  4. Antifeatures how neat!

    Seriously this is a crappy thing. The concept of parental controls can do a few things but is very limited.

    The only thing we as users need is to have a system that can locate operating systems and load them then start them.

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