AMD is also being dragged into court following Spectre and Meltdown reports


The patches come as Intel deals with the Spectre and Meltdown exploits, which were revealed two weeks ago and affected chips from multiple vendors.

Those security issues are a trio of connected, speculative execution flaws in microprocessors known as Spectre and Meltdown (see Meltdown and Spectre Forecast: Patch Now and Keep Patching).

"The firmware updates are effective at mitigating exposure to the security issues, customers have reported more frequent reboots on firmware updated systems". 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.

"We have reproduced these issues internally and are making progress toward identifying the root cause", Shenoy said.

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The Santa Clara, Calif. -based company said it would provide a beta microcode to vendors for validation in the next week.

Shenoy said that the company had issued patches for 90% of the chips released over the past five years. As for the Spectre and Meltdown patches, more benchmarks will likely be coming down the pipeline soon, so stay tuned. As Intel admitted last week, some folks on Haswell and Broadwell CPUs are seeing spontaneous system restarts because of the updates. "If you look at our Ryzen product line, for example, at every price point we offer more threads, more multithreaded performance", she added.

On Wednesday, the chipmaker confirmed that the security patches are causing higher than expected reboot for computers with newer chips. Intel provided some additional insight into that as well, saying that workloads that incorporate a large number of user/kernel privilege changes and spend a large amount of time of in priviliged mode are more adversely affected.

The patches lead to a 2% slowdown for regular tasks like running website servers, while online transactions at a stock brokerage suffered a 4% slowdown, the chipmaker said. When we conducted testing to stress the CPU (100% write case), we saw an 18% decrease in throughput performance because there was not CPU utilization headroom. One of the options it's looking at is Retpoline, the technique a Google engineer conjured up to protect the tech titan's systems from the second variant of Spectre without affecting performance.