Intel 13th & 14th Gen CPUs Receive New BIOS To Fix eTVB Microcode Bug, “Default Settings” Guidance For Core i9, i7, i5 Chips To Address Instability

Intel’s partners have started rolling out the eTVB microcode BIOS fix as it tries to resolve instability issues on the 14th & 13th Gen chips.

Intel Confirms eTVB Microcode Bug, & Elevated Voltages As Contributors To 14th & 13th Gen CPUs Instability Issues, New BIOS Rolls Out With eTVB Fix

In a previous report, it was stated that the eTVB (Enhanced Thermal Velocity Boost) feature had a buggy algorithm within the microcode which was stated as a root cause however Intel denied this and said that it was indeed a contributing factor but not the main problem as elevated input voltages that led to higher turbo clocks and voltages despite the chip maxing out its thermal limit also contributed to the issues.

According to Intel, the eTVB microcode can impact operating conditions for Intel’s 14th and 13th Gen CPUs and these include KS, KF, and K series SKUs.

A new patch has been developed by Intel to resolve the eTVB bug and the company is working with its OEM/ODM partners such as motherboard manufacturers to roll out the BIOS as early as today (19th July 2024). Intel once again states that while the eTVB bug is an issue that leads to instability, it’s not the root cause of the instability issue.

As of writing this post, motherboard makers such as MSI have already rolled out the new BIOS updates for its Z790 lineup which can be found in the respective links provided below:

The new BIOS update including the B0671/125 microcode which is the fixed version and no longer has the associated algorithm bug.

For now, all that Intel can offer for better stability on existing 14th & 13th Gen CPUs is the release of its “Intel Default Settings” guidance across the entire family which not only includes Core i9 chips but also Core i7 and Core i5 parts. This means that while the Core i7 and Core i5 CPUs aren’t that much affected by instability as the Core i9 chips, they are also seen as “affected” in all of this and motherboard vendors will resort to reduced power limits for these chips too leading to lower CPU performance levels than what were possible before.

Intel states that these settings are based on extensive testing and validation to ensure that users of its CPUs get the most optimal stability and reliability. I mean it would’ve been great if Intel had done this kind of testing before the chips were rolled out and that would’ve helped them discover these issues earlier and sort a fix for it.

Intel analysis has determined a confirmed contributing factor to the instability reports on Intel Core 13th and 14th Gen (K/KF/KS) desktop processors 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.

However, in investigating this instability issue Intel did discover a bug in the Enhanced Thermal Velocity Boost (eTVB) algorithm which can impact operating conditions for Intel Core 13th and 14th Gen (K/KF/KS) desktop processors. We have developed a patch for the eTVB bug and are working with our OEM/ODM motherboard partners to roll out the patch as part of BIOS updates ahead of July 19th, 2024. While this eTVB bug is potentially contributing to instability, it is not the root cause of the instability issue.

As Intel and its partners continue working towards a conclusion to the investigation, we want to make sure that all users are clear on the recommended power delivery profile settings for Intel Core 13th and 14th Gen (K/KF/KS) desktop processors.

via Intel

Image Source: Intel

As we know from earlier testing and benchmarks, the “Intel Default Settings” profile leads to lower performance since it essentially reduces the power limits for these chips. Intel relied on excessive power limits too much to make their chips look good in front of the competition but that edge is now lost and the guided settings drop performance by as much as -10% in games and up to -20% in multi-threaded workloads.

Intel still isn’t giving an exact date on when we can expect a true fix for all of these issues. They only say that this investigation is not an easy one to conduct and that they’re grateful to their partners & community but that may not be enough since users are already giving up on their systems with 14th and 13th Gen chips and looking for alternatives at the moment.

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