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Does Your AMD FX Platform BSOD with Steam? Read This.

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 110 comments

Tom's Hardware has reached out to AMD and a few motherboard manufacturers to get an understanding of what looks to be a long stemming issue with its FX processors and Steam games.

You just purchased a new AMD FX processor and a 900-series motherboard. You load up your Steam games and sit down to enjoy hours of gaming when this happens:

Take some solace in the fact that you don't seem to be the only one having this issue with your AMD FX processor. A reader of Tom's Hardware, Scali, brought this problem to our attention. Scali wrote a nice little blog post about this BSOD back in October of 2011, which still seems to be plaguing users to this day. AMD quietly released a KB article that acknowledges the problem and recommends users update their firmwares to the most recent version, or, at minimum, the one listed in the article. AMD lists four platform vendors and links to specific motherboard models and their related BIOS updates.

Minimum BIOS
Recommended BIOS for
AMD FX Platforms
Asus
v1102 or V0901
Crosshair_V_Formula
Sabertooth_990FX
Gigabyte
Rev F7
GA-990FXA-UD7
MSI
Rev 11.6
990FXA-GD80
ASRock
Rev 1.5
990FX Extreme4


Tom's Hardware reached out to AMD, Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, and ASRock for feedback on this reported problem with Steam games and the FX processors. AMD states:

"We had identified an issue early on and provided the fix to all motherboard manufacturers. The application was attempting to check a register, which caused the instability. We modified the BIOS to resolve the issue as the most efficient way of providing a solution to users with no degradation in performance. Most motherboards would not have experienced the issue at all as their shipping BIOS would have included the fix."

As represented by the KB article, the fix was not in place for all motherboards prior to the FX launch, prompting the updated firmware roll-out. In addition, AMD says, "We would certainly be interested in knowing any instances where this is not the case, so we could work to resolve that issue for our customers."

Communication coming from the motherboard vendors themselves paints a slightly different picture than AMD's KB story. They confirm that the problem affects all 900-series platforms, and not just the ones listed by AMD. Because the problem involves FX itself, any machine with a Bulldozer-based CPU and without the fix could be impacted. All four vendors assure us that their most recent releases include the necessary fix, recommending all users install the most recent BIOS from their support sites. Is there still a chance you could buy a new motherboard without a fixed firmware? Sure. The manufacturers weren't able to tell us when supply of affected boards will turn over completely. 

If you are currently running the latest firmware for your motherboard and are still having issues, or your noticed a performance hit after updating, please let us know in the comments section under this story and we'll pass on your feedback to AMD. Moreover, we will post an update to this piece if we hear anything new!

UpdateAMD contacted us after our story went live to clarify that, one, the issue is limited to the Steam engine and does not affect local games or other applications. Secondly, AMD assured us this is not a potentially widespread issue but a long resolved issue through the available update, it’s easily countered with, what AMD says is no impact on performance. AMD is willing to help try to resolve the issue for those who may encounter it for any reason.

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Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    blazorthon , May 22, 2012 2:43 PM
    halcyonThis doesn't happen to me because I was somehow wise enough to use a 2500K in my gaming build. ...very cheap, yet highly effective.


    The i5-2500K is NOT a cheap CPU. It's not exorbitantly expensive, but there is no way that a $200+ CPU is cheap and most certainly not very cheap. Highly effective, yes, but not cheap.
  • 13 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , May 22, 2012 1:21 PM
    Well at least this is not another one of those TLB issues where Bios vendors had to issue a patch that would result in a big performance loss like on the first gen Phenoms.
  • 13 Hide
    pwnbroker2 , May 22, 2012 2:40 PM
    first rule of system building, check for bios updates. it even tells you to do so in the handbook that comes with the mb. ive built 2-3 dozen of these systems all with 970 or 990 chipsets from asus. the 0901 update was patched about december of last year although it didnt go into specifics it did enhance stability over 0701. in the burn in tests, i didnt have any trouble with steam but it was a quick run of 4 games. for those with asus mb forget the 0901 and download 1101, the newest version which has some stability fixes for the 1090t and 1100 as well.

    all mb's have bios problems even with SB or IVB chips. i cant tell you how many times a customer brings in a system that they have tried to build and thinks it has a defective mb, memory slots or gpu when all was needed was the latest bios fixes. asrock gen3 is notorious for this and look at the gigabyte ud3h board didnt certify some memory with IVB, particularly gskill.

    it just makes me laugh sometimes, but then again, laughter is good for the soul.
Other Comments
  • 13 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , May 22, 2012 1:21 PM
    Well at least this is not another one of those TLB issues where Bios vendors had to issue a patch that would result in a big performance loss like on the first gen Phenoms.
  • -5 Hide
    tical2399 , May 22, 2012 1:25 PM
    Man its just gettin worse for AMD lately, with the under performing bulldozer, the latest top flight nvidia cards besting the high end HD 7xxx series, and now the mobo issues, things aint looking great for AMD at the moment
  • 11 Hide
    eddieroolz , May 22, 2012 1:28 PM
    My god, this just reminds me of the TLB issues in the Agena core in 2008.
  • -7 Hide
    mobrocket , May 22, 2012 1:38 PM
    tical2399Man its just gettin worse for AMD lately, with the under performing bulldozer, the latest top flight nvidia cards besting the high end HD 7xxx series, and now the mobo issues, things aint looking great for AMD at the moment


    i used to be a big AMD fan, but switch both platforms GPU and CPU cus of AMD just not competing
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 22, 2012 1:45 PM
    I get that from time to time. I run a 1055T and a Sabertooth 990FX. I thought it might be my hardware, but after reading this, I think it's the BIOS. Good thing I still have my i3 2100 handy.
  • 1 Hide
    Achoo22 , May 22, 2012 1:49 PM
    I've read all the KBs, but I can't find any indication of what the actual issue is. What, specifically, is Steam doing that causes BSoDs on AMD platforms?
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , May 22, 2012 1:50 PM
    geekapprovedI'm sure Intel had a hand in this, they have a history of cheating to gain market share.AMD can't compete in GPU's? [/citation]
    1st part, I really doubt Intel has anything to do here..
    2nd part AGREED

    LOOL, until the GTX680/670 came out, Nvidia was getting trounced by AMD for the last 5yrs. Get real noober.

    AGREED... that dude is probably from another planet
  • -8 Hide
    machvelocy , May 22, 2012 1:57 PM
    abandon ships!! i hope this is not the main reason many key figures are leaving amd
  • 3 Hide
    Murissokah , May 22, 2012 2:04 PM
    As if we needed any more reason to skip the current AMD CPUs.
  • -5 Hide
    kawininjazx , May 22, 2012 2:37 PM
    Intel chipsets for the win.
  • 1 Hide
    halcyon , May 22, 2012 2:38 PM
    This doesn't happen to me because I was somehow wise enough to use a 2500K in my gaming build. ...very cheap, yet highly effective.
  • 13 Hide
    pwnbroker2 , May 22, 2012 2:40 PM
    first rule of system building, check for bios updates. it even tells you to do so in the handbook that comes with the mb. ive built 2-3 dozen of these systems all with 970 or 990 chipsets from asus. the 0901 update was patched about december of last year although it didnt go into specifics it did enhance stability over 0701. in the burn in tests, i didnt have any trouble with steam but it was a quick run of 4 games. for those with asus mb forget the 0901 and download 1101, the newest version which has some stability fixes for the 1090t and 1100 as well.

    all mb's have bios problems even with SB or IVB chips. i cant tell you how many times a customer brings in a system that they have tried to build and thinks it has a defective mb, memory slots or gpu when all was needed was the latest bios fixes. asrock gen3 is notorious for this and look at the gigabyte ud3h board didnt certify some memory with IVB, particularly gskill.

    it just makes me laugh sometimes, but then again, laughter is good for the soul.
  • 11 Hide
    blazorthon , May 22, 2012 2:41 PM
    tical2399Man its just gettin worse for AMD lately, with the under performing bulldozer, the latest top flight nvidia cards besting the high end HD 7xxx series, and now the mobo issues, things aint looking great for AMD at the moment


    mobrocketi used to be a big AMD fan, but switch both platforms GPU and CPU cus of AMD just not competing


    The 7970 is on-par with the GTX 670 at 2560x1600 and is on-par with or beating the 680 at 5760x1080 and higher resolutions. Other than an occasional driver issue (Nvidia is having them too right now, look up the Kepler stuttering problem if you want to see an example of one of Nvidia's problems), AMD is doing very well. That Nvidia is only slightly more power efficient also keeps them from beating AMD much even in that regard. Nvidia's only significant win is their pricing which is continually undercutting AMD and forcing price drops.

    In a few games, the 7970 even beats the 680 even at 2560x1600 (only because of Kepler's VRAM bandwidth bottle-neck. If the 670/680/690 cards had more VRAM bandwidth, they would then never lose at 2560x1600 to the 7970). Of course, don't take my word for it, have a look at what Tom's and Anand had to say and beyond that, the benchmarks themselves:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5818/nvidia-geforce-gtx-670-review-feat-evga/5

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-670-review,3200-5.html
  • 14 Hide
    blazorthon , May 22, 2012 2:43 PM
    halcyonThis doesn't happen to me because I was somehow wise enough to use a 2500K in my gaming build. ...very cheap, yet highly effective.


    The i5-2500K is NOT a cheap CPU. It's not exorbitantly expensive, but there is no way that a $200+ CPU is cheap and most certainly not very cheap. Highly effective, yes, but not cheap.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , May 22, 2012 2:43 PM
    Yup, after the effort of all the BSOD Ive had with my Brothers AMD Sabertooth setup, we are selling the lot and going Intel z77 i5 Ivybridge!
  • 6 Hide
    blazorthon , May 22, 2012 2:47 PM
    moriconYup, after the effort of all the BSOD Ive had with my Brothers AMD Sabertooth setup, we are selling the lot and going Intel z77 i5 Ivybridge!


    Or, you could update your motherboard's BIOS.
  • 3 Hide
    unksol , May 22, 2012 2:50 PM
    So you are dragging up an issue that was fixed 6 months ago because... why exactly?
  • 3 Hide
    alphaalphaalpha , May 22, 2012 2:56 PM
    Quote:
    So you are dragging up an issue that was fixed 6 months ago because... why exactly?


    Some people were too ignorant to update their BIOS and Tom's wants to know if anyone using a BIOS that is said to have the fix is still experiencing problems and if the fix incurs a performance penalty like the TLB BIOS fixes for the affected Phenoms did.
  • 5 Hide
    supall , May 22, 2012 3:08 PM
    Ah, the AMD-Hate bandwagon...always around, even on something as minor as a BSOD due to Steam that has already been fixed and only requires motherboards to have an updated bios.
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