AMD Preps Ryzen EFI BIOS Update To Fix Dreaded FMA3 Code System Lock-Ups
Not long after AMD released the first Ryzen processors to market a few weeks ago, a strange bug involving FMA3 instructions (an extension to 128-bit and 256-bit SIMD instructions that performs fused multiply-add floating point math operations) was discovered. If you were to trip over this bug yourself, its effects would have been impossible to ignore: your entire AMD Ryzen-based system would crash. This was a digital roadblock of epic proportions for certain applications and benchmarks that make use of the floating point math.
Even if you don't have a particular use case that makes use of FMA3, some benchmarks will take advantage of the instruction set, and could likewise be used to induce a hard lock crash. After a couple of weeks of users digging deep to figure out what's going wrong, AMD, via Digital Trends, tells us that a fix is en route.
What we don't know are the specifics of this bug, or how difficult it was to fix. AMD simply acknowledges the oddity, and says that is has "identified the root cause". Thankfully, this isn't a bug with the processor itself, but one with the EFI, which means that a fix can, and will, be released soon.
Even though Ryzen just hit the market, the number of motherboards available is plentiful, with many of them having numerous EFI BIOS updates already. If you've been encountering any hard-locks or simply want to make sure that your system is as stable as possible, be sure to keep your eyes glued to your motherboard vendor's website and pull down that update as soon as it gets posted. You might not touch FMA3 instruction math now, but applications you use down-the-road might very well take advantage of it.