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Intel issues statement on Raptor Lake crashes, asks mobo makers to revise extreme BIOS defaults

What just happened? Owners of Intel’s latest 13th-gen Raptor Lake or 14th-gen Raptor Lake Refresh processors have been complaining about instability issues for a while. Now, the chip giant is finally shedding some light on what’s causing the problems.

According to a leaked message seemingly intended for motherboard manufacturers, which was obtained by Igor’s Lab, Intel says the root cause hasn’t been pinpointed yet, but it has spotted a pattern. The company claims the stability headaches are mostly impacting unlocked, overclockable systems where manufacturers have gone a little overboard disabling safeguards in pursuit of pushing frequencies.

In the notice, Intel states it has “observed the majority of reports of this issue are from users with unlocked/overclock capable motherboards.” It goes on to list some of the specific settings and protection mechanisms that have been switched off on many 600 and 700-series boards, like Current Excursion Protection, thermal velocity boost limits, C-state disabling, and jacking up power limits beyond recommended specs.

Essentially, in the endless battle for benchmarking crowns, some motherboard manufacturers have been shipping BIOSes primed for pushing Intel’s latest chips way past their typical operating conditions out of the box. While great for boosting scores, it’s also been a recipe for crashes, BSODs, and other instability symptoms under heavy workloads like gaming.

The company wants system builders to start implementing default BIOS profiles that stick to Intel’s officially recommended ranges. It even says motherboard vendors should start showing warnings when users try enabling any unlocked or overclocking features that could destabilize things.

Intel’s still digging into pinpointing the core issue but plans to publish official BIOS setting recommendations by May to help get things under control. In the meantime, a few manufacturers have already started rolling out BIOS updates to dial back some of the more extreme power profiles and limits.

Asus was first, pushing out new BIOS revisions with an “Intel Baseline Profile” for reining in the voltage and power thresholds. Gigabyte put out some beta BIOS builds last Friday aiming to enhance stability by killing off the “optimized” high-power presets thought to be inducing the crashes. MSI took a different approach, opting to release a guide showing users how to manually reset power and current caps back to Intel’s recommended defaults.

Even Nvidia has weighed in, with its latest GeForce driver release notes pointing GPU owners with 13th- or 14th-gen Intel chips to troubleshooting resources if they’re experiencing crashes, out-of-memory errors, or other instability – presumably from the same underlying issue.

So, if you’ve had problems with your shiny new Raptor Lake CPU going a little haywire, help is on the way. Just be ready to accept a bit of a performance tradeoff, at least until Intel and its partners can get a real fix implemented.

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