Intel's Spectre BIOS Fix Causes Crashes On Broadwell, Haswell Systems

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I've had my new laptop turned off for this very reason. I don't want Win10 to push any updates, to *anything* until I'm 100% sure there are no stupid side-effects that need working on.

For all you people without a (real) choice, I pity you and wish you the best of luck.

For BIOS upgrades, luckily we're not at the point where they are also mandatory and our of our control.

Cheers!
 

vipervictorus

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Jan 12, 2018
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I would like Intel to get in touch with me, but they probably won't support laptop users. I loaded their January 8, 2018 microcode update into my BIOS, and within 24 hours, my motherboard and processor are dead (Alienware 18, Haswell 4940MX CPU). I don't know if this was coincidental or not with the microcode, but I really would like Intel to get in touch with me. All other haswell users, be wary of the January 8, 2018 microcode.
 

therealduckofdeath

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Intel will definitely not contact you from a random (trolley?) comment to a news post, "vipervictorus". I'm guessing you already know that too. Try, you know, a site owned by Intel.
 

InvalidError

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Every time I let Windows Update apply patches to my PC, it is an ordeal to get it to quit scheduling daily restarts so I've disabled Windows Updates entirely and run it manually once every few months. Probably going to hold on to updating until June to give all the most disruptive changes and new bugs arising from those changes a chance to get sorted out. I can't use my PC for serious work if I have to worry about my PC randomly rebooting or crashing multiple times a month.
 

plateLunch

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Leon,
Thanks for putting the Intel Series number (4000, etc) along with the product name (Haswell) in your article. I have a bunch of PCs here and that saved me a bunch of lookup time.
 

thuck777

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Jan 12, 2018
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Once again, the cure is worse than the disease. These updates should be AVOIDED. I have completely disabled all future updates via Windows Update on my older systems because of this crap.
 

thuck777

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As previously stated, I am not willing to sacrifice the kind of performance noted for my Windows 7 laptop running a Sandy Bridge i7 CPU. That is stupid, especially given that there really is NO threat. Now that so many systems are going to be updated, there is little reason for any scumbags to try to exploit these vulnerabilities, IMO. From my perspective, the cure is far worse than the disease, especially on older hardware / OS combinations. It just is not worth it. So, I believe Microsoft should make a way to have these patches be OPTIONAL and AVOIDABLE and UNINSTALLABLE. This is crap!
 

2Be_or_Not2Be

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Aug 23, 2013
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This particular problem is from a BIOS update, not from Windows 10.

In regards to the software, most desktop users won't see any significant degradation of performance. The ones who might see more of a performance impact is the server people - specifically the ones who have heavy I/O workloads along with heavy network I/O. I imagine the ones who run heavily-used game servers, over-subscribed virtual hosts, big OLTP db svrs, and other similar workloads might be able to see more of an impact.
 

2Be_or_Not2Be

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If you think the problem is all Microsoft's fault, you have not read (or understood) much of the details about Meltdown/Spectre. You also don't really comprehend the potential for abuse here either.

I recommend you read the excellent articles posted here on Tom's, Ars Technica, and even Anandtech.
 


I can see you didn't read what I wrote, at all. I said "side effects" to the Win10 patches and I explicitly said that BIOS updates are still manual.
 

chaos133

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Can you exploit Spectre Variant 2 through a internet browser or do you have to have physical access to the system? Is it worth it getting this BIOS update? I run Haswell so I'm not sure if it's worth the risk of random resets.
 

InvalidError

Titan
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The browser variant got "fixed" by Chrome, Firefox and Edge limiting their high performance counter resolution to 20 microseconds. Can't do a successful timing side-channel attack without a sufficiently accurate timing reference.
 

chaos133

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Thanks for the reply, I think I might wait a while or not even update the BIOS at all since it doesn't seem necessary at this stage. Or would that be too risky?
 

Plumboby

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dont worry about the bios i had a haswell go down coz off A nvidia update went from running iffy to update Nvidia & all of a sudden hit by Malware & prety much nuked a 600w Antec PSU as i had an Antec 18months old die a month ago. If you can avoid any bios updates from Intel till they are properly sorted. I am going AMD now as sick of the bs from Intel & there ass kiss Nvidia buddies. Running an AMD videocard been the best investment ever with my Sandy Bridge i5. I wont be recommending Nvidia or Intel ever again right now about to go threw all my stepsons builds removing anything Nvidia related & finding the bin as Nvidia comment for older gen hardware was prety rude telling me to upgrade to the 1000 series & a few other i know with the same issue. The older builds like the Sandy Bridge are vunerable but not as much as the 4-8th gen cpus so far from other i know who bee having issues. lesson learnt going AMD for everything at least if i run into issues they are willing to help.
 

InvalidError

Titan
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As long as malware doesn't get on your PC, then Spectre and Meltdown are a no-concern. It is a huge deal in virtualized datacenter and servers because any compromised virtual instance or process can potentially be used to snoop into other instances and there is little/no control over who runs what. Not much of a threat on a home PC where there rarely anything particularly sensitive being processed, which means very few opportunities to even attempt to carry out a side-channel attack.

I'd regard the simple fact that malware containing a Meltdown or Spectre exploit got on a computer as a far more serious security threat than Meltdown and Spectre themselves - these exploits are irrelevant if you can prevent code containing them from getting on your PC in the first place.
 

Lord3210

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Nov 10, 2014
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What I did and Recommend (Until they sort out the buggy Patches) is simply Disable the Windows update service on windows 10 for now and stop all updates. It's a risk yes but the current issues out weigh it.
 
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