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Some Intel 14th-gen CPUs just got a big performance boost for free (for those with certain motherboards)

Got an ASRock motherboard for your new Intel Raptor Lake Refresh processor? The latest 14th-generation chips – those released last month, namely non-K versions (we’ll come back to that) – just got a sizeable performance boost for free courtesy of the latest update for those motherboards.

Wccftech brought the good news that ASRock has a fresh BIOS update that when applied to Intel 600 and 700 series motherboards means the mentioned non-K series processors are boosted considerably.

We’re talking up to 10% faster going by Cinebench R23 benchmarking, with that best-case scenario witnessed by the best CPU in the Raptor Lake Refresh range, the Core i7-14700, along with the Core i5-14500 which also sees a 10% improvement (just over, in fact).

These are all non-K chips, which means their clock speeds are locked and you can’t overclock them (and they have lower power usage levels). The initial batch of 14th-gen processors – released last year, in October 2023 – can be overclocked, so for example that includes the Core i7-14700K. The vanilla 14700 and other models with no ‘K’ in the name were unveiled at CES 2024 and went on sale just after.

Analysis: Power to the people

This performance boost is due to Intel’s latest microcode update which is packaged in the new BIOS, and so this could be a very worthwhile upgrade for some folks with a cutting-edge Intel CPU of the non-K variety.

Naturally, the benefit you’ll see will vary depending on what model of Raptor Lake Refresh processor you have, and the rest of your PC components. Gains vary from around 1% to 10%, but the average uplift seems to be around 5%, which is still very worthwhile. As noted, those with the 14700 and 14500 are the luckiest Intel CPU owners here with a 10% Cinebench boost.

That’s just one metric, of course, but we can expect similarly meaningful improvements in other productivity tasks and something of a boost in gaming, too. What’s actually happening under the hood here is that as Wccftech pointed out, a new option to disable CEP (CurrentExcursion Power) has been introduced and is being exercised by default. In short, power limits that were in place have been lifted, and the extra juice is what’s giving this neat little performance uplift.

When can you get the benefit of this? ASRock already has the new BIOS out for high-end Z790 motherboards, and the manufacturer says that B600 series and B760 boards will be updated ‘shortly’ – so there shouldn’t be long to wait.

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