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|
|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!
Update: AMD 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.