A number of reviewers have reported problems with a Blue Screen Of Death on AMD’s Bulldozer, even with stock settings:
The reviewers reporting this problem include, but are not limited to:
As you can see, Total War: Shogun 2 triggers this bug. Which is rather ironic, since it is part of AMD’s Gaming Evolved program.
The hardware.fr review says that AMD has been able to reproduce the bug, and is working on a fix.
Now, what is happening here? Let’s look at Microsoft’s site for an explanation of this particular error code:
The CLOCK_WATCHDOG_TIMEOUT bug check has a value of 0x00000101. This indicates that an expected clock interrupt on a secondary processor, in a multi-processor system, was not received within the allocated interval.
The specified processor is not processing interrupts. Typically, this occurs when the processor is nonresponsive or is deadlocked.
So apparently there is a problem with the multiprocessing in Bulldozer. The interrupt handling can get messed up at times.
Note also that the above review-sites have used different hardware, so it is unlikely that this is caused by a specific motherboard, BIOS, memory, videocard, PSU or anything like that. Also, as most overclockers will be able to tell you: if your system is just unstable because of problems with voltage, overheating or such, then although you may get BSOD’s, they are generally not reproducible. The actual reported error is quite random, it just depends on where the CPU fails first. So you generally get a different error code with every BSOD. In this case, it is always the same error. It is also an error that I have never seen myself, during all the years of overclocking, dealing with unstable memory, voltage and whatnot…
So Bulldozer is starting to look more and more like Barcelona: Not only is the performance underwhelming, but apparently the stability is not 100% either.
Update: AMD has finally acknowledged the issue in their knowledgebase: http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/STEAMGamesonAMDFXplatforms.aspx
They recommend installing the latest BIOS, which have updated microcode, as expected. This updated microcode appears to fix the BSOD problem, however people who tried this bios are complaining about poor performance. So I wonder what the microcode fixes exactly. After all, the fix for Barcelona’s TLB was just a microcode update as well, but it disabled the TLB cache altogether, since the hardware was just broken. As a result, the performance was severely compromised.
Update: Tomshardware is investigating the issue: http://www.tomshardware.com/news/STEAM-AMD-FX-Processors-BSOD-bios,15630.html
AMD’s KB article focuses solely on some boards with the 990FX chipset. However, there have been various other motherboards with 9xx, 8xx and 7xx chipsets, that have been sold as AMD FX-compatible, and some of them have never received the proper BIOS updates, and as such, still suffer from the BSOD.
If you have problems, I suggest you leave a message there. They might be able to get your motherboard vendor to release a fix for your board.