Tuesday, February 9th 2016

Intel Pushes CPU Microcode Update which Cripples Overclocking Non-K Skylake CPUs

Intel pushed a CPU microcode update to its motherboard partners, which "plugs a loophole," which allowed people to overclock Core "Skylake" processors, other than those with the "K" brand extensions. The PC enthusiast community rejoiced what it felt was a comeback of base-clock overclocking on non-enthusiast Intel chips, with the advent of the company's 6th generation Core "Skylake" architecture. Apparently, Intel sees it as a flawed CPU micro-code which allowed overclocking, and which some motherboard vendors even built marketing campaigns around.

In an interview with PC World, a company spokesperson stated: "Intel regularly issues updates for our processors which our partners voluntarily incorporate into their BIOS," an Intel spokesman said. "The latest update provided to partners includes, among other things, code that aligns with the position that we do not recommend overclocking processors that have not been designed to do so. Additionally, Intel does not warranty the operation of the processor beyond its specifications." So how does this micro-code update work? For starters, it will work only if you want it to. If your motherboard currently supports overclocking, then it will continue to do so, until you update its BIOS. Intel will push the new micro-code to its motherboard partners, who in turn will deploy it on their latest production batches, and to their customers through DIY BIOS updates.

Source: PC World
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49 Comments on Intel Pushes CPU Microcode Update which Cripples Overclocking Non-K Skylake CPUs

#1
Ikaruga
We all knew this was coming, but it still hurts!
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#3
SonicZap
I was expecting this. They did the same with the Pentium G3258 (Anniversary Edition), it was initially overclockable on non-Z chipsets but a year after release Intel pushed a microcode update that made the CPU BSOD when overclocked on a non-Z chipset.

That micro-code update was included in Windows Updates, which caused overclockers using the Pentium G3258 to suddenly receive a BSOD on startup for no clear reason (and on some occasions, like mine, it caused a BSOD even without overclocking). Had I known that Intel likes suddenly wrecking customers' PCs like that, I would've went with some AMD APU instead.

I wonder if Intel will push this microcode update through Windows updates as well.
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#4
john_
we do not recommend overclocking processors that have not been designed to do so
....it costs us money.


Everyone who bought a non K Intel CPU after hearing that they can be unlock, will be very happy with this decision. But I guess it is no big deal if the BIOS that permits OC is nice and stable and there is no reason to update it.
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#5
trog100
it just goes to show that the entire pricing structure is based on intel being able to fix a chips clock speed..

bugger all to do with how well any chip can perform at.. simply what intel says it can perform at whatever price intel sells it to perform at.. the only surprise is that they let the base clocking trick out of the bag in the first place..

a whole bunch of identical chips in different boxes all with different prices and different (intel set) clock speeds.. its been this way for years.. nothing much has changed..

trog
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#6
P4-630
So basically if you do overclock with your non-K skylake processor, just don't update the BIOS.
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#7
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
And pretty soon they'll get Microsoft to push an update to Windows that will prevent it from booting with the old micro-code or an overclocked non-K processor, just like they did with the G3258...
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#8
Dj-ElectriC
The company stopped giving a damn about K users the moment they went with a shitty thermal design for the 3770K, why would they give 2 Fcks about non-K overclockers.

I have lost faith in Intel when it comes to overclocking friendlyness
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#9
Parn
All the 100 series motherboards that will be shipped in the near future will have the new BIOS pre-installed I guess.
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#10
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
Well suddenly I don't mind not having gone with Skylake.
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#11
Octopuss
I don't see what the big problem is. From what I read, the cost of being able to overclock non-K CPUs were major BIOS features either bugging out or not working at all. I don't think that's worth it at all.
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#12
Sasqui
newtekie1 said:
And pretty soon they'll get Microsoft to push an update to Windows that will prevent it from booting with the old micro-code or an overclocked non-K processor, just like they did with the G3258...
Supposedly, the G3258 problem was a defect in Win 10 microcode, not deliberate.

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-windows_install/windows-10-upgrade-fails-with-0xc1900101-0x20017/db224756-027e-4a5c-83a8-0c8edd156e55?auth=1

Interestingly, turbo boost isn't supported, but it sure works on my 3rd rig. Multiplier and voltage goes up and down with load. http://ark.intel.com/products/82723/Intel-Pentium-Processor-G3258-3M-Cache-3_20-GHz
Posted on Reply
#13
bug
Does it still make sense to overclock at all?

Back in the day, you could get a cheap $200 CPU and make it work like a $500+ part. And that was when every MHz mattered.
Today, CPUs are already overkill for desktop usage and an overclocked CPU won't be felt under >80% of your daily usage (and it can overclock itself some anyway). I have a k CPU and I had one before. I overclocked the first one to see how fast it would go, but then for several years I have used it at stock speeds. The current CPU, I wasn't even interested in seeing what it can do.

Oh and btw, when overclocking was born, it wasn't sanctioned by intel either. It just wasn't actively sabotaged.
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#14
GhostRyder
newtekie1 said:
And pretty soon they'll get Microsoft to push an update to Windows that will prevent it from booting with the old micro-code or an overclocked non-K processor, just like they did with the G3258...
Yea, that will be when this actually becomes a problem since you can just avoid updating the bios on the motherboard right now.

If it becomes a problem, the only thing this will do is annoy those who chose the cheaper route instead of saving or spending more on the unlocked variations. Hopefully they just keep it at the bios level but I am not holding my breath.
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#15
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
bug said:
Does it still make sense to overclock at all?

Back in the day, you could get a cheap $200 CPU and make it work like a $500+ part. And that was when every MHz mattered.
Today, CPUs are already overkill for desktop usage and an overclocked CPU won't be felt under >80% of your daily usage (and it can overclock itself some anyway). I have a k CPU and I had one before. I overclocked the first one to see how fast it would go, but then for several years I have used it at stock speeds. The current CPU, I wasn't even interested in seeing what it can do.

Oh and btw, when overclocking was born, it wasn't sanctioned by intel either. It just wasn't actively sabotaged.
It doesn't matter what sense it makes. It doesn't make sense for me to buy a server board, get a custom BIOS and push dual AMD 12 core chips to 4.6, yet as an enthusiast that is exactly what I have. On an enthusiast grade platform I expect enthusiast grade options. Period.
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#16
Sasqui
bug said:
Does it still make sense to overclock at all?

Back in the day, you could get a cheap $200 CPU and make it work like a $500+ part. And that was when every MHz mattered.
Today, CPUs are already overkill for desktop usage and an overclocked CPU won't be felt under >80% of your daily usage (and it can overclock itself some anyway). I have a k CPU and I had one before. I overclocked the first one to see how fast it would go, but then for several years I have used it at stock speeds. The current CPU, I wasn't even interested in seeing what it can do.

Oh and btw, when overclocking was born, it wasn't sanctioned by intel either. It just wasn't actively sabotaged.
Making sense has nothing to do with it lol.
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#18
buildzoid
No surprises here.

Oddly enough I haven't see many people buying i5 6400 and overclocking them which would 70$ cheaper than buying a 6600K and overclocking.
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#19
9700 Pro
1. Don't update
2. ?
3. Profit

Though this works only existing MB's/CPU's.
Posted on Reply
#20
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
Sasqui said:
Making sense has nothing to do with it lol.
And that is the problem and why unlocked i3's would be great.
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#22
Sasqui
Static~Charge said:
Don't say that too loud or Intel will issue a microcode update to "fix" it.
You know, that product is a 20th anniversary product, and the vendors (like Newegg) sell it touting the unlocked multiplier... nothing in the intel spec sheets (I could find) confirm that.

I don't think there's any coincidence they released this chip in 2016, since 20 years earlier in 1996, this:
Intel gets in on the overclocking game
Intel, of course, has long been the master of making smaller transistors. In 1996 it introduced the Pentium Pro. Firstly, this was a much more sophisticated CPU than any before thanks to out-of-order instruction execution. But it also boasted tiny (for the era) 250nm transistors. 200MHz versions of the Pentium Pro were known to hit 300MHz, an extremely healthy 50 per cent overclock.
However, the Pentium Pro was a painfully expensive chip. In 1998, Intel released the original Celeron, a budget-orientated processor with a cut down feature set including no L2 cache. Stock clocked at 266MHz, retail examples of the chip were sometimes capable of as much as 400MHz. Big clocks on a small budget was possible for the first time.
Source: http://www.techradar.com/us/news/computing-components/processors/need-for-speed-a-history-of-overclocking-540671

Who doesn't remember the buzz of the Celeron 300 A, capable of 450Mhz? Arguably, we wouldn't even be here on TPU if that chip wasn't released!
Posted on Reply
#23
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
bug said:
Does it still make sense to overclock at all?

Back in the day, you could get a cheap $200 CPU and make it work like a $500+ part. And that was when every MHz mattered.
Today, CPUs are already overkill for desktop usage and an overclocked CPU won't be felt under >80% of your daily usage (and it can overclock itself some anyway). I have a k CPU and I had one before. I overclocked the first one to see how fast it would go, but then for several years I have used it at stock speeds. The current CPU, I wasn't even interested in seeing what it can do.

Oh and btw, when overclocking was born, it wasn't sanctioned by intel either. It just wasn't actively sabotaged.
I'd say it makes sense, but overclocking on the parts they allow overclocking on isn't really helpful.

I wish they'd release a K series i3, but that would hurt their sales of their higher processors.

Sasqui said:
You know, that product is a 20th anniversary product, and the vendors (like Newegg) sell it touting the unlocked multiplier... nothing in the intel spec sheets (I could find) confirm that.
I'm pretty sure Intel's marketing slides touted the unlocked multiplier.

Like this one:
http://www.legitreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/pentium-anniversary-cpu-645x392.jpg
Posted on Reply
#24
yogurt_21
nothing stopping them from doing this. Without adequate competition they simply set the price and go. So obviously they want you to pay for the privilege of overclocking... which makes sense business wise for them, not so much consumer wise for us. It used to be the whole draw of overclocking was getting extra performance for free... granted we also paid money for better mobos and power supplies and cooling options... Ok so it was never free. lol. But at least you didn't pay Intel any extra for it.

now without adequate competition they get in on the action too.
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