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Intel just updated us on game crashes, and it’s not looking good

The CPU maker confirms that new motherboard BIOS updates will be released soon, but they won't fix the root cause of instability problems.

Intel CPU game crashes statement

Intel has finally updated us on its search for the cause of game crashes on Intel CPUs, including the Core i9 14900K. According to the chip maker, a bunch of motherboard BIOS updates will be coming soon to fix one contributing factor, but the company says it’s still yet to identify the “root cause” of the game crashes on Intel CPUs.

The extreme multi-threaded power and high clock speed of the Core i9 14900K makes it one of the company’s best gaming CPU options right now, but there have been many reports of game crashes on Intel CPUs in games based on the Unreal engine recently. This latest announcement from Intel isn’t timely either, as the company originally promised to make a statement about the situation in May 2024.

Let’s start with what Intel does now know, which is that there is indeed a bug in its Enhanced Thermal Velocity Boost (eTVB) algorithm. The statement, posted by Intel communications manager Thomas Hannaford, says that Intel has already developed a patch to fix the eTVB problem, and that it’s currently talking with motherboard makers with a view to getting BIOS (firmware) updates out before 19 July, 2024.

Intel also says that the default settings for LGA1700 motherboards should stick to a limited set of parameters when it comes to power limits and thermal regulation so that CPUs aren’t overheating. Motherboard makers have already been issuing BIOS updates to conform to Intel’s default baseline settings, but Intel has also specified the following settings for several CPUs, from the Core i5 13600K to the Core i9 14900KS.

However, bear in mind that these settings are conservative compared to the loose default power settings applied to these motherboards when they were first released, and they’re highly likely to result in a drop in performance as a result.

Intel recommended motherboard settings

These are the recommended Intel default motherboard settings for stability:

Parameter Value
CEP (current excursion protection) Enable
eTVB (Enhanced Thermal Velocity Boost) Enable
TVB (Thermal Velocity Boost) Enable
TVB voltage optimizations Enable
ICCMAX unlimited bit Disable
TjMAX offset 0
C-states (including C1E) Enable

Core i5 13600K/KF and 14600K/KF

Parameter Baseline Performance
ICCMAX 175A  200A
ICCMAC_App 150A 170A
Power limit 1 (PL1) 125W  181W
Power limit 2 (PL2)  143W  181W

Core i5 13700K/KF and 14700K/KF

Parameter Baseline Performance
ICCMAX  249A  307A
ICCMAC_App 200A  245A
Power limit 1 (PL1) 125W 253W
Power limit 2 (PL2)  188W  253W

Core i5 13900K/KF and 14900K/KF

Parameter Baseline Performance Extreme
ICCMAX  249A  307A 400A
ICCMAC_App  200A   245A 320A
Power limit 1 (PL1)  125W  253W 253W
Power limit 2 (PL2)   188W   253W 253W

Core i5 13900KS and 14600KS

Parameter Performance Extreme
ICCMAX  307A  400A
ICCMAC_App  245A  320A
Power limit 1 (PL1) 253W  320W
Power limit 2 (PL2)  253W 320W

Disappointingly, though, as we recently reported, Intel still doesn’t know the root cause of the stability problems gamers are encountering, and specifically states that “while this eTVB bug is potentially contributing to instability, it is not the root cause of the instability issue.”

Intel also hasn’t provided a timescale for resolving the problem, simply saying that it will “continue working towards a conclusion to the investigation.” The company admitted that this “investigation is not an easy one to conduct and we’re grateful for both the support of our partners in conducting the analysis as well as the patience of the Intel community.”

Intel is expected to release its new Arrow Lake desktop CPUs before the end of this year, but in the meantime, its 14th-generation Raptor Lake CPUs are its best options for gaming. If you’re thinking of buying a new gaming CPU right now, we recommend picking up the AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D instead, as it’s faster than the 14900K in most of our game tests, and it’s much cheaper too.