Intel has announced the availability of a new BIOS Implementation Test Suite (or BITS), a bootable environment that runs before the loading of an operating system (such as Linux or Windows), and allows testing of a machine’s BIOS and its initialization of Intel processors and hardware.
BITS can verify your BIOS against many Intel recommendations. In addition, BITS includes Intel’s official reference code as provided to BIOS, which you can use to override your BIOS’s hardware initialization with a known-good configuration, and then boot an OS.
BITS is, essentially, a modified GRUB2 boot loader, which adds many commands to probe and manipulate the hardware configuration.
The current version of BITS focuses primarily on CPU configuration and power management. BITS supplies general tests and functionality for all Intel x86 platforms, as well as additional specific support for Intel® processors based on the microarchitecture code name Nehalem and newer, which includes Intel Core i7, i5, and i3 desktop and mobile processors, and corresponding Intel Xeon server processors.
It can be installed to a bootable USB drive; instructions for setting it up are contained in the package, which can be downloaded here (ZIP’d archive). Source code is included.