Intel security patches could cause restarts on hardware old and new


Going on two weeks since the reveal of Meltdown and Spectre, are you all patched up? (Windows users can grab InSpectre if they're not sure.) If so, how stable has your machine been lately? As Intel admitted last week, some folks on Haswell and Broadwell CPUs are seeing spontaneous system restarts because of the updates. Now, Intel has has a new blog post up with some more details, and as it turns out, that reboot problem can affect CPUs from the Sandy Bridge series on up to Kaby Lake.

Not all systems are affected, and the severity of the symptoms varies. For its part, Intel says it has made "significant progress" toward finding the root cause of the issue. It doesn't seem like the CPU manufacturer is quite certain just yet what the problem is, but it says that it's at least managed to reliably reproduce the problem in its testing.

Spontaneous shutdowns are surely frustrating, but users can at least take solace in the fact that their systems are safe from Meltdown and Spectre. Intel says that the existing updates continue to provide protection against the flaws even if they might wreck reliability for some folks. The company promises to continue pushing out beta microcode updates to its customers as it works toward finding and resolving the core issue.

Intel's blog post also has some preliminary data on the performance impact of the security fixes for datacenter systems. The company tested Linpack, Stream, server-side Java, and raw integer and floating-point throughput—tests that it says are representative of common workloads for enterprise and cloud customers. It's worth noting that Intel only tested one configuration, but according to the numbers provided, the impact looks like it's quite small overall. You can hit the blog post to see the data.

Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
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