7 Replies Latest reply on May 29, 2016 11:11 PM by N.Scott.Pearson

    What exactly does ME do?


      The Detailed Description for ME (Management Engine) from Downloads is: "The Intel® Management Engine (Intel® ME) software components that need to be installed depend on the system's specific hardware and firmware features. The installer detects the system's capabilities and installs the relevant drivers and applications."

      Download Intel® Management Engine (Intel® ME) software for systems based on 3rd generation Intel® Processors or above.


      That description is too vague to be useful. So what exactly does ME do? I ask this because I need to stress-test an ME driver to ensure that it is working properly on W-10. I can reverse engineer a list of functionalities to create a series of tests which will essentially qualify the driver for my application. I'm not asking for use-cases, code, or trade secrets, just a high-level list.

        • 1. Re: What exactly does ME do?

          A lot of this is trade secrets that will not be answered. What Intel is willing to tell folks (without NDA) is published in several books and out on the web (I suggest you start in Wikipedia)...


          • 2. Re: What exactly does ME do?

            I specifically said I was not asking for trade secrets. And Wikipedia often includes erroneous, if not flat-out biased information, but it's good enough for my purposes, I guess. All I was asking for was a way to verify that ME was working under W-10 so I can better inform friends and acquaintances about their newly installed W-10. It's curious that everyone here points to available LAN, RST, chipset, and Realtek drivers, but no one ever references ME ones. Users can add a graphics card to avoid the lack of support for W-10, but we are forced to experiment with different drivers for ME.


            I do not understand why someone at Intel -- and I don't mean you, given that you are retired -- doesn't write a sticky post regarding drivers for W-10 including all available knowledge. Instead, people continue to ask the same questions over and over again. It would be so much more efficient for Intel to do this.

            • 3. Re: What exactly does ME do?

              I don't know why either; it's probably because, except for those folks using AMT (on VPRO systems) or the soft TPM (on newer systems), you don't need or use the interface at all. Many of those that do install the package are doing so only to resolve the yellow bang in Control Panel. If I can avoid it, I don't install it. Why? Because it locks open folder "C:\Intel" and I am a purist who believes that no software package has the right to create folders in the root of my system disk without my explicit permission (which I will never give). None of the software that I produced (or managed the production of) EVER did this (though we did have to invoke necessary driver installers, like that for the SMBus driver, which did create this folder - but we hated having to do so). If I install something and it creates a root folder without my permission, I delete it. If I cannot delete it, I uninstall the package (period).


              If you install the ME package, it (also) installs an application, with tray icon, that can tell you if the interface is working properly (it's likely this application that holds open the "C:\Intel" folder).


              Thanks for the rant opportunity...


              • 4. Re: What exactly does ME do?

                You're welcome.


                It's true that I am the type of person who hates Device Manager errors, but even more importantly, W-10 does not relinquish any control over updates, so it is possible it will search for a match and find something, even if it's awful. Or it might search forever, consuming system resources. It's better to provide it with something close. And given what you said, I think the closest match is from the link in my original post, even though it is only advertised for Ivy Bridge and later, as it is the only ME with W-10 support that's not NUC or Compute Stick. I'll have to remember to ask people if they are using TPM, and if so, advise them to stick with 7 or 8/8.1.


                That said, your reference to vPro is mildly alarming, given that it is an umbrella over Turbo Boost and Hyperthreading. If a proper ME driver is not installed, does the PC not allow Turbo Boost and Hyperthreading? If so, that is enough of a disadvantage to avoid W-10 on Sandy Bridge and previous processors, as Intel support has always advised. I think I may have proven that W-10 messes with Turbo Boost on older hardware, e.g. DH67BL / i5-2500. I ran the latest XTU on my W-10 PC with ME v- Normally, the percentage of CPU usage is pegged at 100% during the entire test, but this time the percentage jumped around from the low 90s to 100. I wanted to run the old Turbo Boost Technology Monitor, but it would not start (it appears to be hard-coded to expect .NET 3.5 and cannot take advantage of later releases).

                • 5. Re: What exactly does ME do?

                  VPro has absolutely nothing to do with Turbo or HT; these are completely independent processor features. I am struggling to find the simplest way to explain this. Let's start with, having a processor that says it supports VPro doesn't mean its VPro features will be enabled. To have its VPro features enabled, a processor must be combined with a Q chipset (i.e. Q963, Q965, Q33, Q35, Q43, Q45, Q57, Q67, Q77, Q87 or Q170). The main difference between a Q chipset and a non-Q chipset is that the Q chipset (also) has the Intel AMT feature running on the ME. Bottom line, your systems do not have AMT and you likely do not need the iMEI driver installed.


                  Despite the fact that I owned a feature in the ME for a long while (I was architect, designer and development lead (and even the developer for some portions; truly a man of many talents) for the Intel Quiet System Technology (QST) feature, which supported health monitoring and acoustically-optimized fan speed control in the 965 and 3- through 5-Series chipsets - and which also reappears (but running on a micro-controller within the SIO IC) on the 8 Series boards), I am embarrassed to say that I haven't kept up on the ME feature set, so I can't provide you with an exhaustive list of the features available (well, not without a lot of investigation). Suffice it to say, unless you are installing support for the use of some specific ME feature, you don't need the iMEI driver. If the feature being installed actually needs it, it will either tell you it needs it installed or it will just go ahead and install it itself.


                  People commonly believe that, if there is a yellow bang on a device in Device Manager, something is very wrong. This is not always the case. You don't need a driver for a piece of hardware that you are not using. If you understand this fact, you won't be concerned (or stressed out, as you seem to be) if/when you see the yellow bang.




                  P.S. Applications developed for any specific version of .NET can run on any version of Windows. Simply install the support libraries for the .NET versions that you don't have. Microsoft provides downloadable packages for these on their site (though some are automatically installed and updated by Windows Update). A simple way to tell what versions you have support installed for is to display the contents of folders C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework and C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64. The folder names below them will tell you what versions you have installed (for 32-and 64-bit applications).

                  • 6. Re: What exactly does ME do?

                    Remember your telling me to read the Wikipedia page on Management Engine, which forwards to Intel Active Management Technology, making it appear at first glance that they are one in the same? vPro is referenced there. The first two lines of the Wikipedia page on Intel vPro are: "Intel vPro technology is an umbrella marketing term used by Intel for a large collection of computer hardware technologies, including Hyperthreading, Turbo Boost 2.0, VT-x, Trusted Execution Technology (TXT), and Intel Active Management Technology (AMT). When the vPro brand was launched (circa 2007), it was identified primarily with AMT, thus some journalists still consider AMT to be the essence of vPro."



                    I looked at the Ark page for the i5-2500 and saw that its features included Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, Intel vPro Technology, Intel Virtualization Technology (VT-x), Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d), and Trusted Execution Technology.



                    So I had good reason to believe that vPro was the umbrella over Turbo Boost and Hyperthreading. But thanks for explaining about Q-chipsets. I vaguely remembered that they had a relationship to vPro, but I never understood it. Now the sentence slightly further down in that Wikipedia article -- "PCs that support vPro have a vPro-enabled processor, a vPro-enabled chipset, and a vPro-enabled BIOS as their main elements. -- makes a lot more sense.


                    By the way, why does the Ark page for the i5-2500 list support for Trusted Execution Technology, Intel vPro Technology, and Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d), but the Ark page for the i5-2500K does not?


                    • 7. Re: What exactly does ME do?

                      Well, it's certainly true that, on a VPro system, you can have HT and Turbo - but you have these capabilities on a non-VPro system as well - and without having to have the iMEI driver.


                      The i5-2500 is VPro capable but the i5-2500K is not. Absolutely true. You don't actually expect Intel's numbering system to make sense, do you?