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Intel readying a more reliable Meltdown/Spectre fix for 'Broadwell' and 'Haswell' platforms

Users of Intel 'Broadwell' chips will get a more reliable microcode update in the coming weeks. (Source: Wccftech)
Users of Intel 'Broadwell' chips will get a more reliable microcode update in the coming weeks. (Source: Wccftech)
Intel has identified the root cause of the recent reboot issues plaguing the company's 'Broadwell' and 'Haswell' chips that received a microcode update for the Meltdown and Spectre exploits. The company has issued an updated guidance for customers and partners in this regard.

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Intel has issued an updated guidance for customers and partners affected by the recent microcode update to 'Broadwell' and 'Haswell' CPUs. Intel's Navin Shenoy said that they have now identified the reason why the update nerfed many PCs and a new firmware is under testing to be released shortly.

Earlier this month, Intel released firmware updates for all PCs in order to patch the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities. While Meltdown largely affected Intel chips, Spectre was platform agnostic. 'Haswell' and 'Broadwell' generation CPUs received the update along with the newer 'Skylake', 'Kaby Lake' and 'Coffee Lake' chips. Unfortunately, it resulted in 'Haswell' and 'Broadwell' PCs ending with up constant reboots, effectively rendering them unproductive. Intel promised back then that a revised firmware would be coming soon but still insisted that PCs get the patches in the interest of security.

Now, in the new guidance, Shenoy details that the root cause for the reboots have been identified and the revised firmware has been seeded to partners for testing after which the update will be released publicly. Shenoy has, therefore, recommended that OEMs and end users alike halt deployment of current batch of problematic updates. He also called out industry partners to test out the early versions of the firmware so that the final deployment can be accelerated. Currently, there is no ETA for the public release.

Intel has also released a list of microcode revisions (linked in Sources) to help OEMs revert to older, stable firmware for clients and workstations if needed while the newer versions are being tested. Reverting to the recommended older firmware will impact just the Variant 2 (Spectre) mitigation but will not impact Variant 1 (Spectre) and Variant 3 (Meltdown) mitigations.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 01 > Intel readying a more reliable Meltdown/Spectre fix for 'Broadwell' and 'Haswell' platforms
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2018-01-24 (Update: 2018-01-24)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - News Editor
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.