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New MSI firmware could mean lower temperatures for multiple Intel CPUs and motherboards

In context: Keeping your CPU cool plays a huge role in leveraging the processor’s computing power. As it turns out, many Intel 14th-gen Core CPU owners opt to reduce the CPU voltage in an attempt to lower temperatures. However, in that process, the performance of non-K CPUs drops significantly due to CEP. This week, MSI posted new BIOS options that allow more 12th, 13th, and 14th-gen Core users to lower peak temperatures without compromising on performance.

The BIOS updates provide the ability to disable the CEP function (Current Excursion Protection) on previously unsupported Intel CPUs and MSI motherboards, allowing supported users to disable CEP across select Z790, B760, and H610 platforms. According to MSI, additional firmware support is expected for other MSI B760 and 600 series boards by the end of this month.

When enabled, CEP prevents system instability caused by insufficient CPU voltage while under load. However, the setting’s function can sometimes result in significant performance losses for the sake of system stability.

Previously available only to Core K CPUs on Z-series motherboards, the update provides a big functionality boost for additional MSI motherboards and Intel 14th-gen non-K CPU users. By disabling CEP, 14th-gen users can now maintain higher performance levels while reducing temperatures thanks to reduced CPU voltage. The tradeoff, however, is that disabling the function could introduce new scenarios resulting in previously unencountered system instability.

The new firmware change is particularly beneficial to Raptor Lake Refresh CPUs such as (but not limited to) the non-K 14900, 14700, and 14600 CPUs. These models previously had no ability to disable CEP; as a result, users that simply undervolted the CPUs to control power delivery and heat generation would experience severely degraded performance due to CEP-imposed throttling.

Disabling the protection can allow users to retain processor performance levels and generate less heat without inducing performance throttling.

Once installed, the new firmware will allow most 14th-gen users to disable CEP on supported MSI motherboards. However, support for 12th and 13th-gen CPUs remains unchanged.

While 12th and 13th K-series CPUs can disable CEP on supported motherboards, their non-K counterparts will remain unaffected.

It’s important to note that MSI’s new firmware is a beta release. Those not willing to take the risk would be better served sticking with their existing BIOS until a stable release is issued. A complete list of all supported MSI motherboards and beta BIOS files can be found in MSI’s news release.

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