With the introduction of the Intel Atom processor, the x86 architecture has become a viable contender as a low-power embedded platform. The problem is, x86 designs have traditionally relied on the BIOS to perform early initialization and OS launching – an approach that results in unacceptably long boot times for embedded devices. As a result, embedded developers whose systems must boot quickly need a way to bypass the BIOS. This paper explores factors that affect boot time and discusses the dramatic boot-time and performance gains that result from replacing the BIOS with customized early initialization of peripherals. The paper also discusses some of the work required to achieve these gains.