Intel 'Haswell' and 'Broadwell' CPU users complain of higher system reboots after applying Meltdown and Spectre patches
Users of older generation 'Haswell' and 'Broadwell' Intel CPUs are reporting of constant reboots after applying patches to address the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities. Intel is looking at issuing a revised firmware to address specific issues related to these CPUs.
The Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities have jolted the computer industry like none other. Although, the exploits have not yet been taken advantage of, it is a bit disturbing that the CPU architectures which we literally base our lives on have been vulnerable all this while. Intel, Microsoft, Apple, and AMD among others are rushing out patches to prevent systems from becoming victimized. The patches, however, do come at a performance cost. While the exact performance loss is being evaluated, users of older generation Intel CPUs are facing an additional headache — the patches tend to cause higher system reboots leading to decreased reliability.
Intel's Vice President and General Manager of the Data Center Group, Navin Shenoy, has acknowledged that the company has been receiving feedback from customers who have applied the latest security updates regarding reliability issues on 'Haswell' (4th generation) and 'Broadwell' (5th generation) families of Intel CPUs. The patches are apparently causing computers with the said CPUs to reboot often and users across the client as well as datacenter markets are reportedly affected. This has placed users in a quagmire — choosing to ignore Intel's firmware updates could make them vulnerable while installing them could cause constant reboots — not an ideal situation for anyone, more so if the chips are powering mission critical applications. Intel has released a performance assessment datasheet that showed the impact of these patches on new CPUs belonging to 6th, 7th, and 8th generations. The company, however, has not included the previous CPU generations in this assessment.
Shenoy insists that users who get update notifications should go ahead and update in the interest of security. He said that Intel is talking to affected customers and will push another firmware update to rectify the issue if need be.
As Intel CEO Brian Krzanich emphasized in his Security-First Pledge, Intel is committed to transparency in reporting progress in handling the Google Project Zero exploits.
We have received reports from a few customers of higher system reboots after applying firmware updates. Specifically, these systems are running Intel Broadwell and Haswell CPUs for both client and data center. We are working quickly with these customers to understand, diagnose and address this reboot issue. If this requires a revised firmware update from Intel, we will distribute that update through the normal channels. We are also working directly with data center customers to discuss the issue.
End-users should continue to apply updates recommended by their system and operating system providers.
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.