Intel ships (hopefully stable) microcode for Skylake, Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake


Detail / Intel Core i9 X-series Skylake X.

Intel reports that it has aged a stable microcode update to address the Spectre flaw for its Skylake, Kaby Lake, and Coffee Lake processors in all their different variants.

The microcode updates help address Spectre variant 2 disparages. Spectre variant 2 attacks work by persuading a processor’s branch predictor to manufacture a specific bad prediction about which code will be executed. This bad prophecy can then be used to infer the value of data stored in memory, which, in spin, gives an attacker information that they shouldn’t otherwise have planned. The microcode update is designed to give operating systems greater in check over the branch predictor, enabling them to prevent one process from influencing the prognoses made in another process.

Intel’s first microcode update, originated late last year, was included in system firmware updates for gismos with Broadwell, Haswell, Skylake, Kaby Lake, and Coffee Lake processors. But narcotic addicts subsequently discovered that the update was causing systems to crash and reboot. Initially, no more than Broadwell and Haswell systems were confirmed to be affected, but further scrutiny determined that Skylake, Kaby Lake, and Coffee Lake organized wholes were rebooting, too.

A new microcode for mainstream Skylake processors was released earlier this month. The latest microcode crosses both Skylake variants, such as Skylake X (used in the newest Core X and Xeon-W processors), Skylake D (tolerant of in the latest Xeon D chips) and Skylake SP (used in Xeon Scalable Processor), and the post-Skylake mainstream morsels, branded as 7th and 8th generation Core, and codenamed Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake.

Older processors purchasing the Broadwell and Haswell cores still do not have a fixed microcode update handy. Intel claims that microcode fixes for Sandy Bridge, Ivy Traverse, Broadwell, and Haswell processors are in beta. This means that Intel has about a microcode update to hardware vendors for testing, protected under NDA. A troublemaker of older chips are described as having their microcode updates in “pre-beta,” denotation that Intel is performing internal validation of the fix prior to the “beta” present external testing.

In general, PC users will have to wait for their technique or motherboard vendor to provide an updated firmware that contains the microcode.

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