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New BIOS bug fixes for Intel 13th & 14th Gen CPUs in battle for stability as eTVB issue confirmed

The bug is plaguing the 13th & 14th gen
Last Updated on June 19, 2024
Intel Core i5-14600K placed in motherboard socket, image by PCGuide
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Intel has recently confirmed a buggy algorithm in the eTVB (Enhanced Thermal Velocity Boost) feature on 13th and 14th generation CPUs, affecting overall stability and increasing voltage. Whilst denying that this feature’s microcode was the root cause of the issue, a new patch claims to fix a separate bug in a new BIOS update.

There have been plenty of reports that the stability of these 13th and 14th gen chips has been rocky, and it looks like the biggest factor affecting this has finally been singled out. The rollout of new BIOS updates is more than welcome.

  • A close-up of an Intel Core i9-14900K CPU installed in a motherboard socket.
  • Close-up of an Intel Core i9-14900K CPU installed on a motherboard, surrounded by RAM slots and a PCIe slot.
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Specifications
  • Cores: 24 (8P-16E)
  • Threads: 32
  • Boost speed : P-Core 5.8GHz / E-Core 4.4GHz
  • Base speed: P-Core 3.2GHz / E-Core 2.4GHz
  • L3 Cache: 36 MB
  • TDP: 253W
  • Platform: Intel (LGA 1700)

New BIOS updates for Intel motherboards

Motherboard manufacturers have already begun the rollout of new patches, ensuring that most users have access to the fixes as soon as possible. MSI is one manufacturer that has been busy dishing out a number of updates, particularly for their Z790 series:

What did Intel have to say?

Intel’s press release on the matter was diplomatic, saying that the instability reports and the eTVB error are separate and that the new BIOS with compatible motherboards should fix it:

Intel analysis has determined a confirmed contributing factor to the instability reports on Intel Core 13th and 14th Gen (K/KF/KS) desktop processors is elevated voltage input to the processor due to previous BIOS settings which allow the processor to operate at turbo frequencies and voltages even while the processor is at a high temperature.

However, in investigating this instability issue Intel did discover a bug in the Enhanced Thermal Velocity Boost (eTVB) algorithm which can impact operating conditions for Intel Core 13th and 14th Gen (K/KF/KS) desktop processors. We have developed a patch for the eTVB bug and are working with our OEM/ODM motherboard partners to roll out the patch as part of BIOS updates ahead of July 19th, 2024. While this eTVB bug is potentially contributing to instability, it is not the root cause of the instability issue.

As Intel and its partners continue working towards a conclusion to the investigation, we want to make sure that all users are clear on the recommended power delivery profile settings for Intel Core 13th and 14th Gen (K/KF/KS) desktop processors. Intel also recommends users check their motherboard vendor’s website for the latest relevant BIOS updates.

Source: Intel

In terms of actually improving performance, however, Intel simply encourages using their default configuration settings, though there’s a catch to this: the default settings lower the power threshold of these high-power CPUs, and as such affect performance. Benchmarking using these CPU settings leads to significantly reduced performance: between 10% and 20% depending on the application.

Given that these are supposed to be some of Intel’s best processor offerings, this stop-gap solution isn’t ideal – especially given that the underlying stability issue is still not fixed. It’s a shame to see Intel’s latest and greatest CPU offerings effectively hamstrung by minor errors. Whether or not improved quality control pre-release could have prevented this is purely speculation, but users experiencing the bugs are most certainly dissatisfied.

Angus Warrender is a PCGuide Writer and Editor. He's interested in a range of tech, from cameras to consoles, and has an eye for spotting the best products on the market!