Intel says 90 percent of CPUs have "received" Spectre and Meltdown patch (which is not...

William Gayde

TS Addict
Staff member

Intel this week announced they have issued firmware updates for 90 percent of their CPUs launched in the past five years. These updates help protect against the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities which could allow hackers to view sensitive information on your computer. Most CPUs released in the past five to 10 years are vulnerable.

In addition to Intel, many other software and hardware vendors have also released patches for their systems. Based on their data center benchmarks, Intel has shown an overall zero to two percent performance impact on systems that have received the patch. Storage performance may be hindered even more with some tests showing up to "an 18 percent decrease in throughput performance." Single-core performance in storage performance development kit (SPDK) tests was affected by as much as 25 percent.

For reference, you can check out TechSpot's performance tests that include consumer-grade productivity tests and gaming.

There is still much more work to do, though. The patches have been well received but Intel recently admitted that they are causing more frequent and unwanted system reboots. The company has said they have started addressing the reboot issue and the specific use cases that saw the greatest performance hit.

Furthermore, once Intel issues these patches and microcode updates, it doesn't automatically translate in safety for actual users and businesses. Part of the vulnerabilities (Meltdown) can be patched at the OS level, while Spectre requires a lower-level update, often delivered via a motherboard BIOS update. It's hard to predict how many machines will remain vulnerable based on users who simply won't update, leaving the door open for exploits when and if those come. As a side note, a new utility released by security expert Steve Gibson called InSpectre lets you check if your computer is vulnerable to either flaw with ease.

There are rumors of two new attacks called Skyfall and Solace although they cannot be verified yet. Security researchers are claiming they are still under NDA to allow manufacturers to address the issues. Until more clarification is released, this may just be the case of people trying to hop on the vulnerability-frenzy bandwagon.

Regardless of whether or not these Bond-inspired attacks turn out to be real or not, we are not out of the woods yet.

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TS Rookie
Hi @William Gayde ; thanks for update article. Just one point, you say " Part of the vulnerabilities (Meltdown) can be patched at the OS level..., "; I have always understood that Meltdown requires both OS and bios microcode patches as well as application patches as well.

Can you please update article to reflect the reality; as many seem to fob-off meltdown, maybe because Intel only?


TS Evangelist
They "patched" these two, but I think some is bullsh-t. The cause is that, unlike mainframe, there is no hardware storage protection and I can't see how a mere firmware update can affect the inherent design of the wafer. Weird that intel actually manufactured generic mainframe memory yet doesn't address this in microprocessors. People just won't talk to each other from generation to generation. By the same token another overlooked flaw is that mainframe had privileged instructions and pcs don't. Anyone can just write their own copy command to get around file security due to this. They had 30 years. Why aren't there any new design chips? Don't reinvent the wheel wrong.

Per Hansson

TS Server Guru
Staff member
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TS Booster
Put differently 90% of Intel CPU's now have a Microcode update available from Intel, which your main board manufacturer may integrate into your BIOS and release for download.

This update then causes BSOD issues, non booting systems etc for which a fixed microcode update hasn't been released by Intel.

This press release brought to you by Intel's new transparency policy.
I'm not going into BIOS to update it to they bring out better patch.

Too many people having problems with computer rebooting, not booting into Windows or really slow computer.

This patch is worse than malware.

How Intel can bring out horrible patch that cause reboots, slow computer or not booting into Windows is beyond me.


TS Addict
[QUOTE="centrino207, post: 1662063, member: 317832"
This patch is worse than malware.

How Intel can bring out horrible patch that cause reboots, slow computer or not booting into Windows is beyond me.[/QUOTE]

Jeez, hyperbole much? Just patch your ****. 99.99% of the time you'll be fine.

john henry

TS Rookie
My Alienware 17 system with an Intel(r) Core(tm) i7-4710MQ 2.5Mhz CPU running Windows 7 Home Premium will no longer restart since I installed the patches. I have to turn it off every time then back on. Since I don't use it as a laptop but as workstation it sits 8 feet away andI use a remote keyboard, I had mail and other little odds and ends sitting on top of it. Now I have to clear them all off whenever I want to restart the system, something I do at the end of each day. I haven't gotten any extraneous reboots though...yet.

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