OS problems due to Intel EIST turned off

In non-Intel motherboards that support overclocking (OC), some features for the CPU may be disabled at default settings of the BIOS. This is not the case with Intel motherboards which normally do not support overclocking, hence their BIOS are factory-defaulted to ideal values. What follows in the OC motherboards is that Windows may not install/ start properly, drivers may not be identified, etc. leading to BSODs with random STOP errors.

One cause of such STOP errors is the EIST settings in BIOS. The Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST) is a feature with Intel’s latest processors. This technology allows to scale up/ modify the CPU clock frequency, power consumption as per the OS’s requirements. This feature if turned off in BIOS, might lead to BSODs. A BSOD is usually associated with a STOP error code. Microsoft’s tech support site has information on the error code; but one may get random error codes for this problem, which can lead to confusion. Say, the memory is not being accessed at the instant this problem occurred. Windows will give a STOP error code corresponding to RAM failure. But in the next attempt it may be the optical drive (during identification of its drivers) or even the mouse! So it can’t be deduced rightly that the problem is actually that corresponding to the error code. In Linux, this may not cause an issue, but one may still get Kernel Panic while booting the OS.

The main culprit can be the EIST setting being disabled by default. So in case one has a non-Intel motherboard and is struggling to get past the STOP errors during Windows installation startup, better check in the BIOS settings whether EIST is turned off:

1. Power on the CPU and enter BIOS by pressing F2 or Del (depending on the BIOS manufacturer).
2. In the BIOS menu, look for Advanced CPU settings/ Cell Menu/ Overclocking settings, and enter the same.
3. Look for Intel EIST. Enable the setting.
4. Save BIOS configuration (usually F10).

At this point the system will restart and hopefully the problem will be resolved. Note that this may have to be done again if the BIOS is reset to default or the CMOS battery has expired (in which case one gets CMOS checksum error on booting because the battery is not able to provide power to BIOS when mains is switched off, hence the values are lost).

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