Intel Faces Stability Issues with Latest Security Firmware Patch


  • Contributor

    Latest Firmware "security patch" from Intel used to address the Spectre flaw (or feature?) is causing some stability issues in data centers. The update causes the system to reboot randomly.

    Intel says they have reproduced the issue and are working on another update as soon as they figure out what causes it.

    Source
    https://newsroom.intel.com/news/firmware-updates-and-initial-performance-data-for-data-center-systems/


  • Contributor

    @dontgive lesson learned: never install a critical patch like this one before it has run everywhere without a hitch for at least some time before.
    Furthermore this patch is only needed of you use a web client to an unsecured website. So if you are on a server that delivers content you normally won't need this.
    A mitigation to this is to run browsers under another user id. This way memories are locked out between processes.

    On another note this feature must have been known for years by everyone including the top management of the firm. It's worse than the Volkswagen diesel scandal but intel will never be fined because it's an Americano company.

    That processors have been designed with this as a backdoor is so so. I would personally be of the opinion that this bug is due to a simplification in the monstrous design of the x86 pipeline architecture.

    If you ever read the technical specs of this line of processors you can't help but notice that with variable instruction lengths varying from 1 to more than 10 bytes it is exceedingly difficult to design a full pipeline efficiently and economically. Add to this that mixing privilege levels in there would hamper complexity so much that they must have taken this decision as a strategic and secret one to avoid losing the processor war to the competition. The pipeline itself must already take easily 70-80% of the silicon dye in this processor line. That's humongous and explains why do these processors overheat and consume so much power all the time. Fixing this will only increase this percentage, thereby reducing space available for actual functionalities and worsen computing efficiency, heat dissipation and power consumption problems.

    That's why I think the x86 architecture is doomed to die, and rightfully so. Fixing this horrible mess will result in at least 1 or more lost generations in terms of features and performances (don't even start to think about the bugs which will be introduced in the chip in so doing) effectively putting intel at the back of the innovation train while companies such as ARM advance by bounds and leaps.

    The only chance for Intel is to boost marketing and imply that everyone faces the same issues to avoid big financial losses. Wrong. Only intel does it worse than in Africa.

    The clock is now ticking for them: either they get out of the x86 architecture or they will fall into oblivion. They therefore have to develop new RISC processors based on the ARM design. That's the only way out because its already the biggest standard around. Biggest and more efficient at all levels. In other terms, Intel will fall from a quasi monopolistic actor in the processor industry down to a mere player. That will teach them about some of the biggest strategic mistakes made during the last 1 or 2 decades.

    Good riddance intel. I never bought your processors when building my own machines and I perfectly know why. I hope it is clear for everyone now, but I'm not holding my breath.


  • Contributor

    @dontgive "or feature" hahahhaha 😭


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