Desktops

AMD's new chips are locking up PCs and the company knows why

File photo: A man works in a showcase design studio at the fringes of a launch ceremony presenting the new Volkswagen Passat at the Volkswagen Design Center in Potsdam July 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Thomas Peter GERMANY - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS)

File photo: A man works in a showcase design studio at the fringes of a launch ceremony presenting the new Volkswagen Passat at the Volkswagen Design Center in Potsdam July 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Thomas Peter GERMANY - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS)

AMD threw Intel a curve ball in February when the chip company announced its Ryzen CPUs would launch in early March. They are fast and significantly cheaper than Intel's equivalent Core processors. It even led to some price cuts by Intel.

But with Ryzen chips now making their way into desktop PCs, AMD experienced its first major problem. All variants of the Ryzen 7 desktop processors are locking up PCs. The issue is related to FMA3 code, which are a set of streaming SIMD Extensions (SSE) that can greatly enhance the performance of floating point operations carried out by the chips. FMA3 isn't new. AMD added support for the instruction set back in 2012.

Thankfully for Ryzen chip owners, AMD knows what the problem is but isn't giving out much in the way of details. According to Digital Trends, the fix requires changes to the BIOS on motherboards. AMD is working on those changes, which will then be distributed to motherboard manufacturers who will then issue a patch.

For anyone experiencing these Ryzen system hangs, it's a case of patiently waiting and checking your motherboard's support page for the required BIOS update.

Although embarrassing for AMD, it's also being viewed as a lucky break for the company. The same FMA3 problem would have been present on its data center processors called Naples. Catching and fixing the bug before Naples ships in the second quarter saves AMD a potential major headache. In other words, desktop PC users are much more forgiving and easier to deal with than data centers who have adopted your tech.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.