An Intel Core i9-14900K slotted into a motherboard

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

MSI has now adopted Intel‘s new default settings for its line of Z790 motherboards in the hope of bringing stability to Raptor Lake and Raptor Lake Refresh Core i9 processors.

As spotted by Wccftech, MSI has implemented the new BIOS settings following Intel’s guidelines with two power limits at 125W and 253W. This move has been made to try and ensure that 13th and 14th-gen Core i9 CPUs will perform without crashing when gaming (or indeed failing to boot Windows at all in some reported cases).

It’s a bold move which sees the new BIOS settings effectively replace MSI’s existing ‘Baseline Defaults,’ and the cost of this greater stability could be reduced gaming performance. The BIOS will also warn you against using the ‘Tower Air Cooler’ or ‘Water Cooler’ over the new ‘Default Settings’ as the former two have decreased stability. Intel strongly recommends consumers use these new settings

There’s an important distinction between the power draw of the new Default Settings compared to the two previous performance modes. At 125W and 253W for PL1 and PL2 (power consumption limits) respectively, as noted you may experience reduced performance compared to the previous limits of the performance modes. (These are 288W for ‘Tower Air Cooler,’ and 4096W – meaning effectively unlimited, or as fast as the chip will go – for the ‘Water Cooler’ mode).

If you’re running an MSI motherboard and experiencing crashing then you can now download the new BIOS settings directly from MSI. Just know that you could see frame rate drops, perhaps to the tune of 10-15% in CPU-bound games and software, as the cost of keeping the chip working as intended. 

The problems with Intel Core i9 CPUs continue

Over the past couple of months, we’ve noticed more reports of Intel Core i9-13900K and 14900K CPUs experiencing problems with no dedicated solution on the horizon. Initially, Intel blamed motherboard makers before conducting its internal investigation as the problem became more widespread.

Considering the price tag associated with the best processors from Team Blue, it’s disheartening that the only real fix involves hindering your Core i9’s peak performance. That’s far from ideal, especially if you’ve opted for a near-$700 14900KS. We recommend using the new ‘Default Settings’ for now, as per Intel’s advice, until a better solution is found (indeed if that happens).

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Curiously, MSI makes no mention of Intel’s caveats around high-end motherboards – and how these may be fine away from the default settings – and the hardware maker appears to be taking a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach here.

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Aleksha McLoughlin is an experienced hardware writer. She was previously the Hardware Editor for TechRadar Gaming until September 2023. During this time, she looked after buying guides and wrote hardware reviews, news, and features. She has also contributed hardware content to the likes of PC Gamer, Trusted Reviews, Dexerto, Expert Reviews, and Android Central. When she isn’t working, you’ll often find her in mosh pits at metal gigs and festivals or listening to whatever new black and death metal has debuted that week.

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