Breaking News

XMP Profiles & Skylake Stability Issues – CES 2016 Update

As CES continues one of the topics that we frequently discussed with memory and motherboard manufacturers is the on-going issue of unstable Skylake builds. This topic seems to be rather ‘hush-hush’ throughout the industry, and if not ‘hush-hush’ than it is a topic not readily discussed. 

Z170 Test Bench Photo 5

As seen in our latest Z170 build, we found that with clock frequencies ranging up and above 2133 MHz, the system becomes unstable, even with the XMP profiles enabled. However, once the timings were loosened and the voltages were pumped up, we were able to obtain a moderately acceptable stability. Crucial’s 64GB DDR4-2133 memory worked magically to provide us with a stable build.

Z170 Test Bench Photo 15

Our discussions with the manufacturers here find that motherboard XMP profiles from X99 have been copied for Z170. These have yet to be fully optimized for Z170 and are prone to a lack of stability, unless you loosen the timings and overvolt the memory. Motherboard manufacturers are working and testing various memory brands and BIOS tweaks to provide new XMP profiles to help with create more stable Skylake builds.

The fix, other than playing with the timings and voltage, is simply a waiting game. Pay attention as you will see that within the next month or so their will be new BIOS releases for motherboards. From what we’ve heard is that Asus will be leading the way with the other manufacturers releasing new BIOS’ shortly thereafter.

Should we find out any other information regarding this stability issue, we will be sure to check back in for updates. We highly encourage you, in the meantime, to use Memtest, and test your memory accordingly to rule out the fact that your memory could be bad.

Stay tuned for more coverage from CES 2016

  • Mark Rose

    There will be a stability BIOS update coming out soon for all Skylake systems. An issue was discovered where Prime95 would reliably cause a Skylake processor to freeze with no overclock. Intel has reproduced the issue and fixed it; it’s now up to motherboard manufacturers to release an updated bios.

    • Thanks for the read. Through our testing we found SuperPi struggled as well. It’ll be nice to see this stability update sooner rather than later from all motherboard manufacturers.