The return of the Turbo button • The Registry

Do you remember the days when desktop processors needed heat sinks? Are you tired of the constant flow of new computer technologies that never seem to make things easier?

Intel has good news for you: it’s bringing back an old friend: the turbo button.

Best of all, you won’t need any new hardware because it reuses something you already have but never use: your Scroll Lock key.

Gray-haired techs might remember that the turbo button didn’t do what it said on the box. It didn’t magically make a sluggish PC run faster, but rather the other way around: It slowed it down to make programs older – mostly games that weren’t designed for 33 megahertz screaming 486 raw power – playable again. Well, these are still the games to blame now that the 12th generation Intel Core processors are here.

Chipzilla yesterday posted a troubleshooting bulletin recommending the use of Scroll Lock as a workaround, inviting more than one person to comment this it does Scroll Lock the new turbo button.

(If you’ve lost track of generations, we don’t blame you. So far it has been: Nehalem; Sandy Bridge; Ivy Bridge; Haswell; Broadwell; Skylake; Kaby Lake; Coffee, Amber, Whiskey and Canon Lake; Lac Cascade, Glace and Comet; Tiger and Rocket Lake. And now, Alder Lake. Clear as mud at the bottom of Lake Shenzhen.)

Naturally, Intel says its latest PC silicon is the fastest thing ever, but the big change in this generation is really about power management.

Alder Lake is Intel’s second attempt at what it initially called “hybrid technology” processors. Alder Lake’s chips have a mix of two types of processor cores: some high performance but power hungry, and some Atom style – less efficient but more juice efficient.

This design style was started a decade ago by Arm, who called it big. SMALL, much to the chagrin of The Regcorrespondent of. It is useful for smartphones and tablets – as long as the operating system knows it can mix tasks between performance or efficiency cores depending on battery life, cooling, demands users, etc. It’s also good for marketroids, who may claim that a chip with, say, three of each type is a “six-core” device.

Apple’s new Arm-based chips naturally have their own versions of the same technology, and Apple has been pretty tricky about how it distributes the load.

The problem is, this stuff is new to PCs. PCs with low power Atom chips arrived in 2008 for netbooks and so on. The processors were sold because they were cheap, small, and had decent battery life – not on their speed, because they had none. Now Intel is blending low-end Atom-class cores and high-performance normal cores in the same microprocessor enclosure to balance power consumption and oomph, which is especially useful in laptops and tablets.

That is, many PC-grade programs do not expect the CPU cores available on a system to change types dynamically: a quad-core system in the past had four cores of the same type, not a combination. different ones powered on as desired by the operating system.

Some software, especially games, check the specifications of the PC to not only make sure that it has enough oomph to run the title, but also to see if the hardware underneath has changed, which is a sign that the program was hacked on another system.

As it turns out, a brand new 12th Gen Intel Core processor can trigger copy protection, or DRM, in games, presumably by showcasing its Atom class and performance cores in such a way that anti-piracy code thinks. that the game is running on another PC. It’s either that or the hybrid nature of the microprocessor disrupts the DRM code enough for titles to crash or not load.

This apparently affects a bunch of games on Windows 10 and 11, at least, that use Denuvo DRM. Some fixes should arrive mid-November to correct these crashes.

In the meantime, step into the 21st century turbo button. All that the happy new owner of one of these boxes has to do, if he has any problems with his games, is to go into the system firmware, activate the Legacy Game Compatibility Mode option, to restart, then, when you press Scroll Lock, your PC will gently anesthetize its efficiency cores. Results? The game and its copy protection will only see the top performers and work fine.

In other words, the newly reused key actually spins disabled the whizz-bang hybrid chip feature – much like how a 1980s turbo button actually slows down your processor so you can play Alley Cat Where Manic mansion. Technology: wonderful innit, eh? ®

About Jon Moses

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