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Why Can’t Intel’s 12th Generation CPUs Pass the Bar Test? blame the e-core

in great shape , Intel’s 12th generation Core CPUs use different types of CPU cores for different tasks. That hybrid architecture keeps causing problems for some software.


Earlier this week, some people are waiting to take the bar exam got a message From ExamSoft, the company that makes Explify software that many states use to administer exams: PCs with Intel’s latest 12th-generation Core processors are “currently not supported” because they “support Explify’s automated virtual machine checks.” were triggering.” The company’s suggested solution was to find another tool for people to test with, which is a frustrating and unhelpful “solution” for anyone with a new computer.

As reported by The Verge, Examplesoft’s system requirements page for its software does not provide any additional details, simply reiterating that 12th-gen CPUs are not currently supported and require you to run the Exampleify software within a virtual machine. is not permitted. But this isn’t the first time a problem like this has surfaced, and the culprit is almost certainly the hybrid CPU architecture that Intel is using in most 12th-gen chips.

In previous generations, all the cores in a given Intel CPU were identical to each other: similar design, similar performance, similar features. The clock speed and power usage would go up and down depending on what the computer was doing at any given time, but the cores themselves were all the same and could be treated as such by the operating system. In 12th-generation chips, CPUs come with a mix of entirely different processor cores: larger, faster performance cores (or P-cores) handle the heavy lifting, while smaller, lower-power efficiency cores (or E-cores) handle the heavy lifting. core) handle lightweight tasks. , But because the operating system and most apps are used to assuming that all CPU cores in a given system are the same, software needs to be modified to tell the difference between the two.

Apps that haven’t been updated sometimes see two different types of CPU cores available to them and assume they’re actually looking at two completely different PCs. This was the reason why some video game DRM and anti-cheat software packages required updates or workarounds to run on 12th-gen CPUs. Intel said at the time that the affected software was detecting the E-Core “as another system”, which may also explain why the Xplify software thinks it is running in a virtual machine. is that there is a layer of abstraction between it and the CPU. , and it refuses to move.

This also means that there is a possible solution that could make 12th generation laptops compatible with Xplify software in the short term: disable e-core. Not all PCs support it, but most custom-built desktop motherboards will let you do so, sometimes by manually adjusting the core count and sometimes by enabling “Legacy Game Compatibility Mode.”

The option is rare in laptops, but some of the 12th-gen laptops we’ve tested so far even have a switch for it in the BIOS, usually somewhere in the display or power settings—we’ve included screenshots of one. Dell XPS 15 BIOS that allows users to adjust the number of e-cores, and a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon BIOS that doesn’t allow this. There’s no guarantee that disabling e-Core will fix the problem, but it works for those older games, and there’s a good chance it’ll work for the Explify software as well (as long as you don’t have it). in the first place).

Moving to a hybrid architecture will lead to other issues, for example in addition to older games. Windows 10 and older Linux kernel versions cannot take full advantage of 12th-gen processors because they do not support the “thread director” technology that Intel has built in to ensure that tasks are being sent to CPU cores. Forcing people with 12th generation PCs to use Windows 11 to get the best possible performance and battery life that they can handle. Disabling E-Core has also been the only way for some users with Elder Lake processors to take advantage of Intel’s AVX-512 instructions. Since P-cores support AVX-512 and E-cores do not, AVX-512 support is usually discontinued. All Core by default, but some motherboards will allow you to switch the AVX-512 back on after the E-Core is turned off.

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