Working an Intel Skylake processor too hard may cause it to crash

Vu Anh Nguyen

Intel’s Skylake generation of Core processor is the much-awaited update to the company’s flagship chipset line, and will be powering the oncoming generation of computers, helping to make them thinner, lighter and more powerful than ever before. Currently available machines with Skylake processors have demonstrated the substantial performance increase they bring over previous generations, which makes it surprising to know that you can crash them with complex computations, reports Arstechnica.

Specifically, the community at, and subsequently mathematicians at the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) have reportedly found out that running Prime95 – a program often used to benchmark computers – may cause a Skylake-powered system (both Windows and Linux) to freeze. The program works perfectly with previous processor generations. Intel has officially confirmed the bug’s existence on all Skylake processors.

“Intel has identified an issue that potentially affects the 6th Gen Intel Core family of products. This issue only occurs under certain complex workload conditions, like those that may be encountered when running applications like Prime95. In those cases, the processor may hang or cause unpredictable system behaviour.”

A fix has reported been made by Intel and is coming in the near future via a BIOS update. Of course, seeing that only particular instances of heavy computational tasks would cause problem, most normal users will not encounter the bug; Intel’s fast action and the coming fix, however, is still assuring, and will benefit institutions with such specialized needs.