AMD’s Ryzen processors offer a huge performance boost over the company’s previous-gen chips, and mid-range and high-end Ryzen chips are notable for offering multi-core, multi-threaded features at relatively affordable prices.

But it turns out that under some very specific situations, trying to take advantage of all those CPU cores can cause problems.

Linux users have been noticing for the past few months that running heavy-duty compilation tasks in parallel workloads can cause segmentation faults, which could cause some jobs to crash. Now AMD has confirmed to Phoronix that the issue is real… and really specific to certain circumstances.

First up? Windows users aren’t affected at all. Second, AMD’s new Threadripper and Epyc chips allegedly don’t have the segfault problem. It’s just the existing Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, and Ryzen 7 chips that are affected.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, you have to really put a Ryzen-powered PC through the paces to make applications crash due to a segmentation fault. Most common workloads should run smoothly. It’s just running resource-intensive parallel processes that use multiple cores that seems to cause problems, and then only when using Linux.

The issue seems to be with the processors themselves, so changing motherboards or other ancillary hardware shouldn’t have any effect. It’s unclear if updated drivers could eventually resolve the problem, but the fact that it’s not an issue on Windows leads me to think it’s possible a future Linux kernel patch might be able to take care of the issue.

For now, if you’ve got an AMD Ryzen chip and you’re experiencing segfault issues, you can contact AMD for support.

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12 replies on “Some AMD Ryzen chips have trouble with some heavy workloads (in Linux)”

  1. They’ll probably release a microcode update soon enough. Intel had a similar issue with hyperthreading on sky/kaby lake.

    1. I want ryzen to succeed but we need it to be a stable alternative to intel for highly threaded HTPC stuff. I hope the next generation ryzen really pushes things.

      1. The current Ryzen is more than stable enough to run an HTPC. No need to wait for the next generation.

          1. Regardless, people should be out there buying RyZen.
            The 1400 is a powerful alternative to the Core i5-7400
            The 1500X is a powerful alternative to the Core i5-7600
            The 1600 is a powerful alternative to the Core i7-7700
            The 1700 is a powerful alternative to the Core i7-6900k

            Sure, there may be motherboard inconsistencies, RAM incompatibilities, BIOS issues, driver issues, applications not taking advantage, etc etc.

            Remember, this is the first-line. A smart buyer would get a decent motherboard and setup, and one of the low-middle tier CPU’s like the 1400 or 1600 (if they don’t need the 1700’s performance). And when the second-gem comes out, hot-swap the CPU’s to something more efficient and powerful and stable and when applications take better advantage…. its a smart long-term buy!

            Just like how those SMART people back in early 2011 got on Intel’s Sandy-Bridge ecosystem ($190) with the Core i5-2500. Then upgraded the CPU to a Core i7-3770k, overclocked the cpu, and ram, when there were a couple of hot-sales ($229) at end of 2012. A nice improvement overall for very little cost !

      2. My word, what blather.

        It’s stable. Did you even read the article?

        HTPC is done on Rpi3’s these days….

        Jesus, soapbox.

    2. Eh. The odds of a regular user coming across this bug are minuscule, and there’ll probably be a fix for it soon enough. People deal with worse bugs in software every day.

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