Intel says it still doesn’t have the true fix for its crashing i9 desktop chips

June 14, 2024
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For months, Intel’s highest-end desktop gaming processors have had a strange tendency to occasionally make games crash — and despite what you might have seen earlier today, Intel says it doesn’t have a final fix for its 13th and 14th Gen Intel Core i9 “Raptor Lake” and “Raptor Lake S” chips just yet.

“Contrary to recent media reports, Intel has not confirmed root cause and is continuing, with its partners, to investigate user reports regarding instability issues on unlocked Intel Core 13th and 14th generation (K/KF/KS) desktop processors,” reads a statement via Intel spokesperson Thomas Hannaford.

It continues: “The microcode patch referenced in press reports fixes an eTVB bug discovered by Intel while investigating the instability reports. While this issue is potentially contributing to instability, it is not the root cause.”

Intel’s official statement references (and partially confirms) leaked internal Intel documents obtained by Igor’s Lab earlier today. Those documents suggest that part of the problem is how Intel’s chips have been erroneously overclocking their own cores, using a feature called Enhanced Thermal Velocity Boost (eTVB), even when they should have known they were running too hot to do that.

“Root cause is an incorrect value in a microcode algorithm associated with the eTVB feature,” that leaked document began. It continued:

Failure Analysis (FA) of 13th and 14th Generation K SKU processors indicates a shift in minimum operating voltage on affected processors resulting from cumulative exposure to elevated core voltages. Intel® analysis has determined a confirmed contributing factor for this issue is elevated voltage input to the processor due to previous BIOS settings which allow the processor to operate at turbo frequencies and voltages even while the processor is at a high temperature. Previous generations of Intel® K SKU processors were less sensitive to these type of settings due to lower default operating voltage and frequency.

Intel® requests all customers to update BIOS to microcode 0x125 or later by 7/19/2024.

This microcode includes an eTVB fix for an issue which may allow the processor to enter a higher performance state even when the processor temperature has exceeded eTVB thresholds.

But while Intel confirms eTVB was potentially part of the problem, it’s apparently not the “root cause” of the whole issue.

Here’s hoping we get a full fix soon.

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