Motherboard BIOS Settings May Be the Cause for Instability Issues with Intel Core 13th and 14th Gen Unlocked Desktop Processors

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Image: Intel

Multiple sources have identified that default motherboard BIOS settings could be the root cause for games crashing when using select Intel processors. There have been reports coming in from users that games, particularly those based on the Unreal Engine, are regularly crashing on their PCs with Intel i9-13900K / i7-13700K desktop processors. Further investigation from NVIDIA, RAD (a subsidiary of Epic Games that has developed the Bink video codec and Oodle data compression technology), and Fatshark (Warhammer: Vermintide 2, Warhammer 40,000: Undertide) point to common issues which, according to RAD, could also affect a small percentage of Intel 14th gen processors as well.

Per IT Home (machine translated):

“Based on user feedback and related surveys, games using Unreal Engine have a higher probability of crashing. After in-depth investigation by Epic Games, Nvidia and Game Studios, they found that the culprit of the problem was Intel’s high-power hardware.”

Apparently, the issue stems from default motherboard BIOS settings often being set to unlimited which in turn will allow unlocked processors to have higher power usage and clock frequencies thus causing instability. While there are multiple ways to get around this, from adjusting BIOS power and/or clock limits to using the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility to essentially do the same, it shows that users need to be more aware of how their Intel Raptor Lake CPUs are performing in order to track and prevent these issues. A general recommendation for users with 13900K processors is to downclock them by 200 MHz or to undervolt them.

Image: Tom’s Hardware

Tom’s Hardware reached out to Intel regarding the matter and was told the following:

Per Intel (via Tom’s Hardware):

“Intel is aware of reports regarding Intel Core 13th and 14th Gen unlocked desktop processors experiencing issues with certain workloads. We’re engaged with our partners and are conducting analysis of the reported issues.”

Tom’s Hardware goes on to say that it has, in particular, seen crashing issues during shader compilation. Something that games using Epic’s Unreal Engine have notoriously demonstrated issues with but usually is attributed to game stuttering.

Per Tom’s Hardware:

“Our own Jarred Walton has seen the problem in quite a few games: Alan Wake 2, Hogwarts Legacy, Horizon Zero Dawn, Immortals of Aveum, Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition, and The Last of Us, Part 1 to name specific examples. Hogwarts, Horizon, and The Last of Us are all particularly painful examples in his case, and at ‘stock’ settings would crash during the shader compilation process probably over 90% of the time.”

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Peter Brosdahl
As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my dad, a used Atari 400, around 1982. Eventually it would end up being a lifelong passion of upgrading and modifying equipment that, of course, led into a career in IT support.

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