Intel Blames Motherboard Makers for CPU Woes

Previously, reports indicated that Intel had initiated investigations into gaming stability issues with its 13th and 14th generation Core processors, particularly focusing on high-end models such as the Intel Core i9-13900K and 14900K. These issues were most pronounced in games utilizing the Unreal Engine, often manifesting as “insufficient VRAM”, instability, or random crashes. In response, major manufacturers like ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI have released corresponding solutions.

Speculation suggests that the problem may be related to the design of the Raptor Lake processors, or perhaps due to Intel pushing the voltage and frequency limits to enhance performance, which in conjunction also exacerbates cooling issues, leading to system instability and game crashes. According to Wccftech, Intel has provided an official statement to the media, though it has not yet been released to the public.

Intel has observed that this issue may be related to out-of-specification operating conditions resulting in sustained high voltage and frequency during periods of elevated heat.

Analysis of affected processors shows some parts experience shifts in minimum operating voltages which may be related to operation outside of Intel specified operating conditions.

  • While the root cause has not yet been identified, Intel has observed the majority of reports of this issue are from users with unlocked/overclock capable motherboards.
  • Intel has observed 600/700 Series chipset boards often set BIOS defaults to disable thermal and power delivery safeguards designed to limit processor exposure to sustained periods of high voltage and frequency, for example:
    – Disabling Current Excursion Protection (CEP)
    – Enabling the IccMax Unlimited bit
    – Disabling Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB) and/or Enhanced Thermal Velocity Boost (eTVB)
    – Additional settings which may increase the risk of system instability:
    – Disabling C-states
    – Using Windows Ultimate Performance mode
    – Increasing PL1 and PL2 beyond Intel recommended limits

Intel requests system and motherboard manufacturers to provide end users with a default BIOS profile that matches Intel recommended settings.

  • Intel strongly recommends customer’s default BIOS settings should ensure operation within Intel’s recommended settings.
  • In addition, Intel strongly recommends motherboard manufacturers to implement warnings for end users alerting them to any unlocked or overclocking feature usage.

Intel is continuing to actively investigate this issue to determine the root cause and will provide additional updates as relevant information becomes available.

Intel will be publishing a public statement regarding issue status and Intel recommended BIOS setting recommendations targeted for May 2024.

The statement essentially assigns responsibility for the issues to motherboard and system manufacturers, and further updates are expected by May.