Technology

Spectre, Meltdown patches causing problems in newer chips, admits Intel

Spectre, Meltdown patches causing problems in newer chips, admits Intel

Intel shares ended higher in the USA, despite the latest update from the tech firm that it's patches to mitigate the Spectre and Meltdown flaws are adversely affecting its newer processing chips, too.

Shenoy says Intel engineers have also found unexpected reboots occur in devices powered by later chips and configurations, including Ivy Bridge-, Sandy Bridge-, Skylake-, and Kaby Lake-based platforms. Intel said it has now updated 90 percent of affected Intel CPUs introduced within the past five years. Shenoy said he will continue to provide regular updates on Intel's progress in addressing the exploits and reboot problems. As for the Spectre and Meltdown patches, more benchmarks will likely be coming down the pipeline soon, so stay tuned.

However, while the firmware updates are effective at mitigating exposure to the security issues, customers have reported more frequent reboots on firmware updated systems. Hopefully a streamlined fix without these issues will emerge pretty soon after vendor testing is done next week, although Intel doesn't recommend that folks wait before patching, given the seriousness of these bugs. "But we have more work to do".

The degree to which computing performance suffers as a result of the mitigations against Spectre and Meltdown depends on how you use your PC and how old and powerful its processor is to begin with.

On Tuesday, as part of its quarterly patch update, Oracle released fixes for 237 flaws across its products, including its first batch of Spectre and Meltdown fixes. Intel initially claimed its security patches were causing problems in systems with its older Broadwell and Haswell chips.

Intel says it's continuing to gauge the impact that its fixes are having.

Intel has already said that it believes that there are other options that will mitigate the performance drop, most notably Google's Retpoline patch, which is said to have an nearly zero impact.

Moving forward, Intel said that it has reproduced the issues internally and is working to identify the cause.

The company is also looking at incorporating Google's Retpoline (return trampoline) software solution to mitigate the performance impact of the security patches.

Intel has recommitted to supporting customers as it addresses the Spectre and Meltdown exploits that came to light this month.


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