Wednesday, April 17, 2024

CPU Voltage Drop: CEP Disabled on Intel 14th Gen Non-K CPUs

Many consumers try lowering the CPU voltage in an effort to cool their Intel 14th Gen CPUs. They do find, however, that when CPU Voltage is lowered, non-K CPU performance suffers greatly. CEP, or Current Excursion Protection, is to blame for this. CEP is activated when the CPU voltage is attempted to be lowered, which results in a significant drop in CPU performance.

What Current Excursion Protection (CEP) Is All About

By keeping an eye on voltage variations and averting any instability brought on by inadequate voltage, CEP serves as a safety net for Intel CPUs. This guarantees system stability but may also limit attempts at undervolting. Manually reducing the CPU Voltage applied to the CPU is known as undervolting. If done properly, this may result in a reduction in power usage and a drop in operating temperature. On the other hand, the CPU may become unstable and crash if the voltage is lowered too much. In the past, even when the CPU could tolerate undervolting, CEP would step in and stop it on non-K CPUs.

14th generation non-K CPUs now support turning off CEP as well

Non-K series CPUs do not permit deactivating CEP, although K-series CPUs when combined with Z chipset series motherboards have long supported this feature. Because of this, lowering the voltage on CPUs in the K series has no effect on performance, while lowering the voltage on CPUs in the non-K series does. Nevertheless, non-K 14th Gen CPUs may now also deactivate CEP thanks to the most recent Intel Microcode. You may decrease the CPU temperature via lowered CPU Voltage without sacrificing CPU speed by simply turning off CEP in the BIOS. With an Intel 14th Gen non-K CPU, you may now maintain CPU cooling without sacrificing performance. The performance of CEP enabled and deactivated is contrasted here:

Advantages of Turning Off CEP

For enthusiasts who want to fine-tune their systems for ideal thermals, turning off CEP on 14th generation non-K CPUs offers up new possibilities. Here are some advantages for users:

Reduced CPU temps: Users may get notably lower CPU temps by permitting more severe undervolting. Because of the increased thermal headroom, this leads to quieter operation and perhaps higher boost clocks.

Enhanced Efficiency: Reduced CPU Voltage results in reduced power use. This might help people looking for a more environmentally friendly PC configuration or those on a limited power budget.

Unlocking Undervolting Potential: By disabling CEP, users may strike the ideal balance between stability and reduced temperatures by having greater control over the voltage of the CPU.

Important Things to Think About Before Turning Off CEP

Although there may be advantages to turning off CEP, it’s important to be aware of the accompanying risks as well:

Understanding Undervolting Is Necessary: Undervolting is not a risk-free procedure. To guarantee stability, thorough testing and a thorough knowledge of your system are necessary. Inadequate undervolting may result in data loss and system breakdowns.

Not Promised Stability: Because each CPU is different, aggressive undervolting cannot be guaranteed to remain stable, not even with CEP deactivated. The best CPU Voltage for your particular CPU will need some trial and error.

Implications for Warranty: Undervolting and changing BIOS settings may cause your CPU warranty to expire. Before moving on, confirm the policy with your manufacturer.

Reducing CPU Voltage and Temperature Without Impairing Performance

The test results showing CPU temperature and performance when CEP is enabled and when it is off are shown below. We discovered that with CEP enabled on Core i9-14900 and Core i7-14700, CPU performance dropped by more than 40% when the CPU AC Load Line was lowered to lower CPU voltage. On the other hand, the CPU temperature dropped by 16°C when CEP was turned off, while performance remained unaffected. Please be aware that system instability might result from reducing the CPU voltage.

Core i9-14900 CPU performance
Image Credit to MSI

How to Turn Off CEP on a Non-K CPU from the 14th Generation

The method used to disable CEP may differ according on the manufacturer of your motherboard. Using MSI motherboards as an example, the following basic guideline may be used (for exact instructions, always refer to your motherboard manual):

  • Update BIOS: Verify that the BIOS version you have loaded is the most recent one from the website of the motherboard manufacturer. Disabling CEP is usually an option included in the most recent microcode version.
  • Go into the BIOS settings: After restarting your computer, use the Delete key to typically access the BIOS configuration program.
  • Find the CEP Settings: To locate the CEP-related option, go through the BIOS settings. This might be found in the CPU setup settings or Advanced menu. There are differences in the particular name conventions (e.g., Voltage Regulator Over Current Protection, Current Excursion Protection).
  • To deactivate CEP, find the CEP configuration and switch it from “Enabled” to “Disabled.”
  • Save and Close: Close the setup tool after making any BIOS modifications. Your computer will reboot.

Assistance Chart

Similar to K-series CPUs, 14th generation non-K CPUs may now disable CEP thanks to the latest Intel Microcode. Disabling CEP is not supported by non-K CPUs manufactured before the 13th generation. The CPU and chipset support matrix is shown below.

Support Matrix
Image Credit to MSI

Updates to the BIOS that include the new Intel Microcode are starting to trickle out. Get the update right now to enjoy the advantages of a cooler CPU without compromising performance!

Since June 2023, Drakshi has been writing articles of Artificial Intelligence for govindhtech. She was a postgraduate in business administration. She was an enthusiast of Artificial Intelligence.


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