Intel’s Meltdown fix freaked out some Broadwells, Haswells

Customers say PCs and servers reboot a lot after fixes. Meanwhile, AMD admits to Spectre problems

Intel has warned that the fix for its Meltdown and Spectre woes might have made PCs and servers less stable.

Chipzilla has slipped out a statement to the effect that “we have received reports from a few customers of higher system reboots after applying firmware updates.” The problems have hit “Broadwell and Haswell CPUs for both client and data center.”

Intel has said that if it needs to create a new fix, it will.

If new code is needed, Intel will need to get it right: the company already faces numerous class action lawsuits. Data centre operators already scrambling to conduct unplanned maintenance will not be happy about the fix reducing stability.

Intel can take some small measure of comfort from the fact it is not alone with having ongoing Meltdown/Spectre worries to handle, as AMD on Thursday confirmed that its kit is vulnerable to Spectre.

The x86 challenger is, happily, immune to Meltdown. The company has said that operating system patches alone will address the Spectre bounds check bypass bug. Fixing Spectre’s branch target injection flaw will require firmware fixes that AMD has said will start to arrive for Ryzen and EPYC CPUs this week.

The Register has also asked other server vendors how they’re addressing the bugs. Oracle has patched its Linux, but has told us it has “No comment/statement on this as of now” in response to our query about its x86 systems, x86 cloud, Linux and Solaris on x86. The no comment regarding Linux is odd as fixes for Oracle Linux landed here on January 9th.

SPARC-using Fujitsu, meanwhile, has published advice (PDF) revealing how it will address the twin bugs in its servers and PCs, and also saying its SPARC systems are “under investigation”.

We’ve asked Oracle and Fujitsu for more information and will update this story if they send more information. ®

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