Skylake Bugs Aren't Odd, They're Prime

Intel discovered that its latest 6th Gen (Skylake) Core processors have a bug that can cause the system to freeze or crash when calculating prime numbers.

While testing Skylake processors with Prime95, a few testers observed that the system would on rare occasions freeze. The bug is not limited to Prime95; it may also affect compute-intensive programs such as scientific and financial applications. This problem affects all Skylake processors ranging from the low-end Core M up to the top-end Xeon CPUs.

Intel told us that average users should not be too concerned about this bug, however, as has only a slim chance of occurring in compute-intensive tasks, and it should not occur unless a user is running extremely complex workloads.

Although it isn’t a serious issue for most users, Intel wants to fix the problem before it can cause trouble for its high-end users, so the company has already created a fix for the problem that can be implemented in the system BIOS. Intel is working with OEMs now to implement it across the various motherboards already released on the market.

It is common that fixing bugs like this can negatively impact performance and power consumption, but Intel stated that while testing the fix, it did not observe any measurable difference in either.

The patch should be available soon.

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Michael Justin Allen Sexton is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers hardware component news, specializing in CPUs and motherboards.
  • CaedenV
    +1 for the title. Made me smile lol
  • IInuyasha74
    Haha thanks :)
    I'll just wait for the next Skylake stepping before I buy any for the office.

    K thanks Intel.
  • Sakkura
    Anyone know if this affects Folding@Home? Or other distributed computing projects for that matter.
  • rwinches
    Meanwhile the fix for this bug will only work if the non K BCLK OC is disabled. :-)
  • Darkk
    This reminds me the time when a FPU bug was found in the Pentium 60 processor. Intel tried to say very few users will ever experience this bug. Intel ended up swapping the processor out after a public outcry.
  • chechak
    wtf i just making anew RIG sky lake ....hope they fix it
  • InvalidError
    17302831 said:
    I'll just wait for the next Skylake stepping before I buy any for the office.
    If the bug is fixable through a microcode update with no performance or power penalty, then it was just a minor microcode bug and won't have a stepping to address it specifically since there is no actual hardware bug to fix.

    If you read errata for past CPUs, most still have around a hundred known bugs in their last production stepping, all addressed by microcode updates and software patches. Many of those non-critical bugs even carry over across multiple CPU generations since the next-gen chips are usually too far into the design phase to bother fixing those minor bugs by the time they are discovered.

    Here, Kaby Lake must be getting close to first silicon tape-out if that hasn't occurred already. If it reused the same logic responsible for this bug, it is likely too late for a hardware fix and Kaby will carry over the microcode fix.
  • Cryio
    Skylake has a lot of issues IMO. Boot/shutdown times on my Surface Pro 4 i5 are really bad. From what I read around, its battery life is also a lot worse compared to the Pro 3.
  • TechyInAZ
    At least it can be fixed with a BIOS update and isn't a hardware only problem.