Skylake bug freezes systems under 'complex workloads'

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Intel said that its newest and latest Skylake microprocessor could crash or trigger unpredictable system behavior under certain scenarios. Users first stumbled on the problem as early as December last year, though it was some weeks before they narrowed down the issue to the processor and informed Intel, according to Ars Technica

Fortunately, the issue will only surface under very specific scenarios, including while using Prime95, free software that is typically used to benchmark and put computers through stress tests. The bug apparently affects both the Windows and Linux versions of the software, which performed without problems on all other processors by Intel, according to Ars.

"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," someone called "orlich," who appears to be an Intel employee, wrote in a post on the company's community site. "In those cases, the processor may hang or cause unpredictable system behavior."

Intel didn't offer additional information about the bug, though it's possible that the use of extremely large numbers by Prime95 causes the issue, speculated Ars Technica. While the issue is unlikely to be encountered in day-to-day computing, it could cause some consternation within financial or academic organizations that crunch large numbers.

For now, the word from Intel is that a fix has already been developed as a BIOS update. This will be distributed with the help of its hardware partners in the weeks and months ahead, though the onus is on owners to perform the manual update.

For more:
- check out this article at The Inquirer
- check out this article at ExtremeTech

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