Intel blames aggressive motherboards for high-end CPU crashes

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There’s an ongoing saga around some of the latest Intel Core desktop CPUs, and how they’re crashing when running 3D games and other resource-intense programs. Intel has previously stated that it’s aware of the issue, and a few motherboard makers have issued BIOS updates trying to fix it. Now an internal memo from Intel is pointing the finger straight at those motherboards.

According to a report from Igor’s Lab, Intel has issued a message to motherboard manufacturers addressing the crashes on 13th- and 14th-gen Core processors, which we’ve seen on some of our personal machines here at PCWorld. The memo makes no bones about it: Intel is blaming 600 and 700-series chipsets with BIOS settings that “disable thermal and power delivery safeguard designed to limit processor exposure to sustained periods of high voltage and frequency”.

Intel claims that features designed to protect the processor from these very issues, like Current Excursion Protection and Thermal Velocity Boost, have been turned off in motherboards in the name of higher performance.

As Igor’s Lab notes, Intel isn’t exactly on the sidelines of this arms race — the most powerful Raptor Lake chips can suck down over 300 watts of energy with a compatible motherboard and power profile. But the fact that motherboard makers like Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, and even system integrators like Falcon Northwest have issued new BIOS updates disabling some of these motherboard customizations is fairly damning.

Intel’s memo says it still hasn’t nailed down the precise mechanism of the CPU crashes, but plans to issue a more public, consumer-focused statement May.

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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