MSI solved one of Intel Alder Lake's biggest drawbacks with a simple BIOS tweak

Intel Core i9-12900K leaked picture of box
(Image credit: Seby9123 (Reddit))

When Intel launched Alder Lake, we were told some games had issues running on the new 12th-generation processors, mostly due to DRM. MSI Z690 boards should be able to circumvent this problem, however. Here's how - and what it means for you.

The workaround was found first by PCMag, which detailed how it works. Some Asus and MSI motherboards have a BIOS setting called "Legacy Game Compatibility Mode", which you need to turn on. Then, once you launch a game, simply press the Scroll Lock key and the game should run. 

The fix didn't work for PCMag at the time its article went live. But Wccftech reports that the workaround should work now. And, even if it doesn't, an Intel blog post describes a software fix the company is working on that should solve the issue for good. 

So, hopefully, if you were one of the early adopters of the Intel Core i9-12900K, you should be able to play all your games soon, one way or another. 

Analysis: what's the deal?

The reason Intel's 12th-generation processors have problems running games is entirely due to the Denuvo DRM, because of course it is. The issue stems from the two clusters of cores that makes the Intel Core i9-12900K such a powerful and efficient chip. 

Sometimes, Denuvo reads these two clusters of Performance Cores and Efficiency Cores as two separate computers trying to run a game at the same time. This makes the software think something shady is happening, and it locks down the system. 

So it's true that Intel's hardware is affected, but it really comes down to Denuvo for not updating its software in time. Intel's blog post does mention that "a software fix has been identified by the vendor of the affected DRM software". It's only a matter of time before that software fix is widely distributed to all affected games. 

In the meantime, before you pick up one of these Intel processors, our advice would be to check out the list of games affected by the issue on Intel's website.

Jackie Thomas

Jackie Thomas is the Hardware and Buying Guides Editor at IGN. Previously, she was TechRadar's US computing editor. She is fat, queer and extremely online. Computers are the devil, but she just happens to be a satanist. If you need to know anything about computing components, PC gaming or the best laptop on the market, don't be afraid to drop her a line on Twitter or through email.