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Intel Management Engine Interface

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
This has been asked before, but the answers are very unsatisfactory.

Does anyone know what IMEI does on a consumer desktop system that is unrelated to remote management? The answers I've seen range from "it's useless", to quotes directly from Intel about how IMEI's main functionality relates to remote management, but that it has some other tasks it performs during boot and regular system use. Does anyone have examples of what these tasks are?
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by dukeReinhardt View Post

This has been asked before, but the answers are very unsatisfactory.

Does anyone know what IMEI does on a consumer desktop system that is unrelated to remote management? The answers I've seen range from "it's useless", to quotes directly from Intel about how IMEI's main functionality relates to remote management, but that it has some other tasks it performs during boot and regular system use. Does anyone have examples of what these tasks are?

IMEI installs drivers to allow network admin's to control and operate systems via LAN from a dedicated machine with additional services. A driver is required because the system will use an on-board chip as a dedicated piece of hardware to allow certain features.

The hardware feature allow interaction between high and low level hardware interfaces on a controlled system. You can also automate a lot of stuff, negating the need for so much human interaction between devices.

As for boot up, it allows the system to check on a lower level if all hardware is operating. Data is then sent to a connected system or centralized server. Data or tasks can also be sent/performed during sleep mode such as basic log reporting.
Edited by BradleyW - 9/27/15 at 8:46am
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradleyW View Post

IMEI installs drivers to allow network admin's to control and operate systems via LAN from a dedicated machine. A driver is required because the system will use an on-board chip as a dedicated piece of hardware to allow such connectivity.

It also uses a hardware feature to allow interaction between high and low level hardware interfaces on a controlled system. You can also automate a lot of stuff negating the need for some much human interaction between devices.

So, 100% related to remote management then? Could you please elaborate a little bit on these quotes? This is what got me wondering if MEI really is worthless or not. It's apparently directly from Intel, though the original sources are now lost:

"IMEI manages the processor’s input/output operations."

"The main component of Management Engine interface, ME performs a number of tasks in conditions when the system is running or in sleep mode. It also supports several tasks during the boot process. This sub-system is required for proper functioning and maximum efficiency of the PC. The interface checks whether the system is working properly or not while communicating with the operating system of PC."

From:
http://www.win-raid.com/t596f39-Intel-Management-Engine-Drivers-Firmware-amp-System-Tools.html
http://forums.tweaktown.com/gigabyte/55149-intel-management-engine-interface-needed.html
post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by dukeReinhardt View Post

So, 100% related to remote management then? Could you please elaborate a little bit on these quotes? This is what got me wondering if MEI really is worthless or not. It's apparently directly from Intel, though the original sources are now lost:

"IMEI manages the processor’s input/output operations."

"The main component of Management Engine interface, ME performs a number of tasks in conditions when the system is running or in sleep mode. It also supports several tasks during the boot process. This sub-system is required for proper functioning and maximum efficiency of the PC. The interface checks whether the system is working properly or not while communicating with the operating system of PC."

From:
http://www.win-raid.com/t596f39-Intel-Management-Engine-Drivers-Firmware-amp-System-Tools.html
http://forums.tweaktown.com/gigabyte/55149-intel-management-engine-interface-needed.html

In more detail from what I've said: Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Not all the video is relevant, but you'll find some of it informative. Start at 2:30
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post #5 of 8
The ME is an independent part of the PCH and has it's own firmware, usually embedded in the board's firmware. It does all sorts of stuff, even if you don't use any of the remote features...power/clock manangement, control of firmware, management of some integrated PCH components, etc.

It's necessary, and if you remove the ME components of your boards firmware, you have a bricked board.

Installing the HECI driver is not necissary, though without it you can't update the ME firmware. The Management Engine software is wholly unnecessary unless you want to use the specific features it provides.

I normally just pull out the HECI driver and install that so I don't have any warnings in device manager. I never install the rest of the software.

Some other info (mostly the same thing as BradleyW posted, just in slide form):http://www.slideshare.net/codeblue_jp/igor-skochinsky-enpub
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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm watching the vid. It's a bit difficult, but interesting nonetheless.

Thank you both, repped. I've done the same and installed the HECI driver without the rest of the software.
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blameless View Post

The ME is an independent part of the PCH and has it's own firmware, usually embedded in the board's firmware. It does all sorts of stuff, even if you don't use any of the remote features...power/clock manangement, control of firmware, management of some integrated PCH components, etc.

It's necessary, and if you remove the ME components of your boards firmware, you have a bricked board.

Installing the HECI driver is not necissary, though without it you can't update the ME firmware. The Management Engine software is wholly unnecessary unless you want to use the specific features it provides.

I normally just pull out the HECI driver and install that so I don't have any warnings in device manager. I never install the rest of the software.

Some other info (mostly the same thing as BradleyW posted, just in slide form):http://www.slideshare.net/codeblue_jp/igor-skochinsky-enpub

It's interesting, because back in the day, some businesses paid Intel to include the IMEI on each system for an additional cost. Now, the implementation has become a standard. Pretty cool I guess.

Edit: is the HECI driver included in the IMEI or chipset driver at all?
Edited by BradleyW - 9/27/15 at 9:11am
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post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradleyW View Post

It's interesting, because back in the day, some businesses paid Intel to include the IMEI on each system for an additional cost. Now, the implementation has become a standard. Pretty cool I guess.

The higher-end functionality is still barred from most consumer systems. As it is it's probably more of a potential security/privacy risk than an asset for most end-users.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradleyW View Post

is the HECI driver included in the IMEI or chipset driver at all?

It's in the IMEI software, but not the chipset drivers.

If you can't find the driver you want separately, you can pull it out of the software package with something like 7-zip. The inf file is called heci.inf and should have two sub-directories ("x86" and "x64") with it and it's catalog files.
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