With the recent wave of AMD CPU releases in the Ryzen line it’s no small wonder motherboard manufacturers are quickly rolling out new BIOS updates for their hardware to fine-tune the performance of new chips for the best performance possible. If anything, Gigabyte has been fairly quick on the draw when it comes to getting processors up to proper speeds in a short window of time. If you keep up with regular BIOS releases, though, you may want to skip out on the latest wave for a few more days at the very least.
X370 Gaming K5/K7: Voltage woes aplenty
We’ll cut straight to the chase on this segment: If you have the F7 update for the Gaming K5 or the F5 update for the Gaming K7 there is a possibility your BIOS voltage settings have been bumped up far too high for your CPU. Don’t install it if you haven’t yet, as Gigabyte has already removed those updates from their web page following reports of overvoltage problems. If you’ve already updated and have recent issues with your computer restarting itself, freezing often or just not quite running properly, prioritise a BIOS check. You might save your CPU in the process.
For those unfamiliar with overvoltage or even those who are, the concept might seem like an obvious cut-and-dry issue. Pumping more voltage into hardware not designed to handle that much current can cause problems ranging from calculation hiccoughs to outright physical damage, yet overvolting a CPU is an integral part of overclocking hardware components and has been for some time. If you’d like to know more about how the process works when not taken to its accidental extreme, Hardware Analysis breaks down the basics of overvolting in nice, simple terms.
AMD Ryzen CPUs under fire
Fire in the literal sense of overheating, that is, after the latest Gigabyte BIOS updates. Standard voltage settings for Ryzen core CPUs should be in the range of 1.2v, but users have reported seeing spikes of up to 1.7v, which is more than enough to cause damage. Even those who haven’t reported huge spikes have noticed their voltages settling at around 1.5v and that’s definitely not a suggested realm of voltage for this line of chips.
The official Gigabyte support forums chronicle the current tales of burned out CPUs and irreversible damage, with a lucky few noticing the unusual voltage spikes and saving others from the same pain. As of the time of writing this article, Gigabyte has yet to release an official statement, but they have retracted the faulty BIOS from their downloads page.
This comes just a few months after various BIOS issues with the AX370 Gaming K7 motherboards that resulted in soft-bricking that necessitated re-flashing BIOS and editing critical Windows files to fix.
Users who haven’t suffered CPU voltage issues with the latest BIOS have reported lower machine temperatures and improved performance, as well as a fix for a soft-bricking issue that previously required the board’s BIOS to be re-flashed to an earlier version. It may not be worth tracking down the current incarnation that leads to hardware damage but you can safely look forward to a fixed version of the system software after it has been properly patched and re-released.