A new feature on MSI’s top overclocking motherboard has reintroduced AVX-512 support for Intel’s Alder Lake Desktop CPUs.
Intel Alder Lake CPU’s AVX-512 Support Can Be Enabled On MSI’s Top Overclocking Motherboard Through Microcode Selector Feature
Earlier last month, it was reported that Intel was forcing motherboard manufacturers to disable AVX-512 support across their Alder Lake CPUs which they mistakenly enabled for the 12th Gen Desktop lineup.
A22 bios for the @msigaming MEG Z690 Unify-X reintroduces AVX-512 with microcode selector switch in the bios. This is amazing for enthusiast fans of performance and actual efficiency!
— Xaver Amberger // cancel µcode 18! 🔥 (@skullbringer123) January 30, 2022
While Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs are not officially stated to support AVX-512 instructions, they can be enabled by disabling the efficiency ‘Gracemont’ cores and leaving the performance ‘Golden Cove’ cores running. This delivers slightly better performance and higher efficiency than the standard AVX2 instructions. While the E-cores have their own advantages in a number of workloads, it looks like the AVX-512 instructions net higher efficiency too.
These chips had the potential to be a hot item for entry-level servers and workstations where their AVX-512 goodness can be put to use. Intel doesn’t want that to happen and as such, they quickly let their board partners know that it’s best to remove support of the instruction set from the equation.
Now MSI has come up with an interesting feature within its MSI Z690 Unify-X motherboard which can enable AVX-512 support on Intel Alder Lake CPUs by selecting the Microcode version. The new support is added through the latest A22 BIOS as discovered by Xaver Amberger from Igor’s Lab. There are three modes within the BIOS: Auto, Normal and AVX-512 Trial. There’s also a good reason why the MSI MEG Z690 Unify-X is the only motherboard that has this feature so far and that’s due to it being an enthusiast and overclocking-geared motherboard.
With AVX-512, Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs can produce higher performance in extreme overclocking benchmarks such as Y-Cruncher while offering better efficiency. So it’s a win-win for overclockers and it looks like other motherboard makers might do the same with upcoming BIOS’s, allowing overclockers to select AVX-512 mode within the BIOS rather than using previous BIOS to enable AVX-512 support.