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Tor wrote: »
The full fix needs a microcode update as well. The operating system pastches need the microcode changes to be functional.
Intel is also publishing firmware updates for its processors. You’ll need to snag them from your PC, laptop, or motherboard maker (like HP or Gigabyte) rather than Intel itself. Intel’s support page for the flaw links to firmware updates and information from the PC manufacturers it works with. By January 12, Intel expects to have released firmware updates for 90 percent of processors released in the past five years. The company hasn’t announced its plans for older CPUs like the venerable Core i7-2600K or processors from last decade.
Will these fixes slow down my PC or Mac?
It’s complicated, but if you’re not working on intensive tasks, it’s looking like you won’t take much of a hit.
More recent Intel processors from the Haswell (4th-gen) era onward have a technology called PCID (Process-Context Identifiers) enabled and are said to suffer less of a performance hit. Plus, some applications—most notably virtualization and data center/cloud workloads—are affected more than others. Intel confirmed that the performance loss will be dependent on workload, and “should not be significant” for average home computer users.
“Obviously it depends on just exactly what you do,” Linux creator Linus Torvalds wrote in the Linux Kernel Mailing List. “Some loads will hardly be affected at all, if they just spend all their time in user space. And if you do a lot of small system calls, you might see double-digit slowdown.”
Fortunately, a growing number of tests seem to support Intel’s contention that everyday PC users won’t see dramatic slowdowns, although storage read performance appears to take a hit. It’s worth noting that the results we’re about to cite were all conducted on CPUs released over the past couple of years—no older chips were tested.
David Betz wrote: »
The Intel processors have loadable microcode? Is there a spec for the microcode instruction set and architecture?
Heater. wrote: »
Yes, the Intel chips have downloadable microcode. As does AMD. They have done for a decade or so. Where have you been?
No there is no publicly available documentation on that micro-code.
Basically they had to implement a way to dynamically change the behavior of their chips because after the the FOOF bug and other errors they realized things were far too complex to get right first time and recalling millions of chips is expensive.
Strangely enough at this very moment I am halfway through watching this video: "34C3 - Everything you want to know about x86 microcode, but might have been afraid to ask"
Where they present their work on reverse engineering and hacking the x86 microcode. They have gleaned a lot about the microcode architecture.
Makes me think there are a lot more x86 vulnerabilities coming down the pipe!
... I just didn't know it was loadable. I figured it was in ROM on the chip.
Heater. wrote: »
A question asked at the end of the presentation was about totally changing the instruction set with a microcode patch. Seems to me that it's probably possible to totally reprogram an x86 to run an instruction set like RISC-V. After all it's only a hand full of simple instructions.
Main program flows would not be microcoded.
Is there enough microcode installed to emulate RISC-V ? - ...
...perhaps, but it seems in loading RISC-V, you would break x86 compatible operation, and all that software would crash.
Genetix wrote: »
I received some Security Update yesterday for Windows 7 but I am not sure what it was for.
Heater. wrote: »
Yes. That is about the best description of the issues that I have seen. After the mass of hand waving, speculation and down right wrongness that has been written about it in the last few days.
Cluso99 wrote: »
Well, it certainly downloaded despite being on a metered wifi !!!
I turned off my wifi hotspot after which, the start menu shutdown changed again, to sleep, shutdown after installing updates, and restart after installing updates. I had no alternative but to shutdown with install. Took something like 15-30 minutes. Then powered on for some more install completion.
Really beginning to hate the fact that I bought the laptop, but MS "owns" it, and does what they want when they want to do it !!! I take second fiddle to MS when it comes to who gets to use the laptop.
FWIW just before Xmas, my wife's work laptop decided to do an update, and without any notice or permission, took over her laptop for 4 hours doing updates. She just had to waste those 4 hours.
Surely some smart lawyer can make MS responsible (and I absolutely hate lawyers)!
Do you get the impression that I am really *****!