Intel Issues Official Statement Regarding 14th and 13th Gen Instability, Recommends Intel Default Settings

Further to our last piece which we detailed Intel’s issue to motherboard vendors to follow with stock power settings for Intel’s 14th and 13th Gen Core series processors, Intel has now issued a follow-up statement to this. Over the last week or so, motherboard vendors quickly released firmware updates with a new profile called ‘Intel Baseline’, which motherboard vendors assumed would address the instability issues. 

As it turns out, Intel doesn’t seem to accept this as technically, these Intel Baseline profiles are not to be confused with Intel’s default specifications. This means that Intel’s Baseline profiles seemingly give the impression that they are operating at default settings, hence the terminology ‘baseline’ used, but this still opens motherboard vendors to use their interpretations of MCE or Multi-Core Enhancement.

To clarify things for consumers, Intel has sent us the following statement:

Several motherboard manufacturers have released BIOS profiles labeled ‘Intel Baseline Profile’. However, these BIOS profiles are not the same as the ‘Intel Default Settings’ recommendations that Intel has recently shared with its partners regarding the instability issues reported on 13th and 14th gen K SKU processors.

These ‘Intel Baseline Profile’ BIOS settings appear to be based on power delivery guidance previously provided by Intel to manufacturers describing the various power delivery options for 13th and 14th Generation K SKU processors based on motherboard capabilities.

Intel is not recommending motherboard manufacturers to use ‘baseline’ power delivery settings on boards capable of higher values.

Intel’s recommended ‘Intel Default Settings’ are a combination of thermal and power delivery features along with a selection of possible power delivery profiles based on motherboard capabilities.

Intel recommends customers to implement the highest power delivery profile compatible with each individual motherboard design as noted in the table below:


Click to Enlarge Intel’s Default Settings

What Intel’s statement is effectively saying to consumers, is that users shouldn’t be using the Baseline Power Delivery profiles which are offered by motherboard vendors through a plethora of firmware updates. Instead, Intel is recommending users opt for Intel Default Settings, which follows what the specific processor is rated for by Intel out of the box to achieve the clock speeds advertised, without users having to worry about firmware ‘over’ optimization which can cause instability as there have been many reports of happening.

Not only this, but the Intel Default settings offer a combination of thermal specifications and power capabilities, including voltage and frequency curve settings that apply to the capability of the motherboard used, and the power delivery equipped on the motherboard. At least for the most part, Intel is recommending users with 14th and 13th-Gen Core series K, KF, and KS SKUs that they do not recommend users opt in using the Baseline profiles offered by motherboard vendors.

Digesting the contrast between the two statements, the key differential is that Intel’s priority is reducing the current going through the processor, which for both the 14th and 13th Gen Core series processors is a maximum of 400 A, even when using the Extreme profile. We know those motherboard vendors on their Z790 and Z690 motherboards opt for an unrestricted power profile, which is essentially ‘unlimited’ power and current to maximize performance at the cost of power consumption and heat, which does exacerbate problems and can lead to frequent bouts of instability, especially on high-intensity workloads.

Another variable Intel is recommending is that the AC Load Line must match the design target of the processor, with a maximum value of 1.1 mOhm, and that the DC Load Line must be equal to the AC Load Line; not above or below this recommendation for maximum stability. Intel also recommends that CEP, eTVB, C-states, TVB, and TVB Voltage Optimizations be active on the Extreme profile to ensure stability and performance are consistent.

Given Intel is essentially recommending users not to use what motherboard vendors are offering to fix, we agree that when motherboards come out of the box, they should operate at ‘Default’ settings until asked otherwise. We understand that motherboard vendors have the desire to showcase what they can do with their wares, features, and firmware, but ultimately there is some real lack of communication between Intel and its partners regarding this issue.

Following Intel’s statement, they do recommend customers implement the highest power delivery profile which is compatible with the caliber of motherboard used by following the specification and design. According to Intel, this isn’t open for interpretation despite what motherboard vendors have offered so far, and we do expect that there is likely to be more to come in this saga of constant developments regarding the instability issue.

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