Intel releases a new round of Spectre and Meltdown patches

Intel has begun shipping microcode updates to its OEM partners to deal with Spectre and Meltdown, and presumably they don't come with the unwanted side effect of bricking PCs or random reboots.

That hasn't always been the case since Spectre and Meltdown erupted onto the scene. Intel's first attempt at patching the problem caused some systems to reboot unexpectedly, while Microsoft's own efforts to mitigate the threats resulted in some older AMD PCs refusing to boot altogether.

As it pertains to Intel, the company advised its partners and customers to stop installing the problematic firmware, then it began dishing out out beta firmware. Testing on the updated code is now complete and apparently good to go.

The new firmware updates apply to Intel's 6th, 7th, and 8th generation Core product lines, otherwise known as Skylake, Kaby Lake, and Coffee Lake. They also apply to Intel's Core X series (Kaby Lake-X and Skylake-X), along with its recently announced Xeon Scalable and Xeon D processors for datacenters.

"The new microcode will be made available in most cases through OEM firmware updates," Intel said.

Looking ahead, Intel is planning to release more firmware updates for a wider range of processor families. According to the company's microcode update document (PDF), beta firmware exists for its 2nd generation Sandy Bridge, 3rd generation Ivy Bridge, 4th generation Haswell, and 5th generation Broadwell lines, though there is no timetable on when exactly they will reach production status.

Going back even further, Intel's 1st generation Arrandale and Clarkdale chips have firmware updates in the pre-beta stage. Several other processor lines will be receiving updated firmware at some point, too.

Have you received updates for your motherboard yet?

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).