Bug Affecting Intel Skylake Processors Can Freeze Computers Running Complex Workloads

Intel has confirmed that there is a bug that can freeze systems using its 6th Generation Intel Core processors, dubbed Skylake, when running certain workloads. Here are the details on the issue and how to fix it.

The bug was discovered by a community of mathematicians who uses a software called Prime95, which is particularly resource intensive, on Intel computers to find prime numbers. While running the program under certain settings, they found their Intel machines would lock up. The bug is reproducible when using the Windows and Linux operating systems.

(Added note: Prime95 is also a popular tool used within the overclocking and PC building communities to ensure the stability of a CPU at higher temperatures. If your system can survive a hefty run, chances are your settings are good — because there's not much more that will tax all your cores as much as Prime95 can.)

The problem is suspected to lay within the Skylake architecture and Intel has confirmed the bug's existence. The vendor has stated that the issue isn't isolated to computers running Prime95. Scientific and financial institutions are also known to deal with complex computing workloads so the problem could affect a number of industries.

Here's what Intel had to say:

"Intel has identified an issue that potentially affects the 6th Gen Intel Core family of products. This issue only occurs under certain complex workload conditions, like those that may be encountered when running applications like Prime95. In those cases, the processor may hang or cause unpredictable system behaviour."

Intel has released a fix for the bug and is working with its PC partners to get the remedy deployed through BIOS.

[Via Intel Communities]

This article originally appeared on Lifehacker Australia


Comments

    I wonder if there will be any performance dip with the new microcode installed?

      Of course it will reduce performance, replacing a broken hardware implementation with some code to avoid it take execution cycles. Avoiding a particular hardware implementation of instruction and replacing it with multiple but equivalent instructions. The question is how bad it will be? Overclockers also run benchmarks so maybe somebody will run the test cases to find out just how bad it is.

      And then again, overclockers might be really happy as they can get more performance out of their rig. If they were using Prime95 as their stability test, the system will be more stable without the bug, so they can overclock further.

    It's not likely something that would have affected me, but I'm real glad I stuck to buying a 4690k in August

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