Patch-Induced Reboot Errors Impact Kaby Lake, Skylake, Ivy And Sandy Bridge, Too

Intel released a new update on the state of the Meltdown and Spectre patches to reveal that the reboot errors it previously disclosed, which plague Broadwell and Haswell systems, also impact Kaby Lake, Skylake, Ivy Bridge, and Sandy Bridge processors.  

Here's Intel's statement on the reboot issues:

Firmware Updates

We have now issued firmware updates for 90 percent of Intel CPUs introduced in the past five years, but we have more work to do. As I noted in my blog post last week, while the firmware updates are effective at mitigating exposure to the security issues, customers have reported more frequent reboots on firmware updated systems.

As part of this, we have determined that similar behavior occurs on other products in some configurations, including Ivy Bridge-, Sandy Bridge-, Skylake-, and Kaby Lake-based platforms. We have reproduced these issues internally and are making progress toward identifying the root cause. In parallel, we will be providing beta microcode to vendors for validation by next week.

For those customers looking for additional guidance, we have provided more information on this Security Center site.  I will also continue to provide regular updates on the status.

Intel issued the update as part of a broader update on the performance impact of the patches on data center workloads. The rolling nature of the updates and the early teething pains highlight that the patches for the vulnerabilities are still very much in their infancy. This means that the performance impact is far from a settled matter.

The buggy firmware updates were distributed to motherboard manufacturers as part of a BIOS update. Vendors such as MSI, ASUS, and Gigabyte have issued press releases announcing the new BIOS revisions this week, but for now, it might not be wise to update to those versions. Users who haven't installed the latest BIOS are not affected, and Intel says that new patches will enter the validation phase early next week.

There are currently no known exploits being used in the wild for these vulnerabilities, so most users should be fine waiting for the update. However, end users will have to make that decision based on their potential exposure. In related news, Microsoft pushed a patch yesterday that corrects some of the issues with AMD processors.

The unexpected reboots with Intel systems could be a huge problem for mission-critical applications (such as in the data center), so it appears that Intel's woes are only intensifying.

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  • mischon123
    A crash is now a reboot? "Fixed" means 10-20% slower CPU in many scenarios. SSD performance cut in half in some cases. Intel still churning out defective chips.

    My below average 7 year old Zen i7 will be unusably slow by the time all the updates will be rolled out by March.
  • marcelo_vidal
    What i can say. Don't mess with kernel... who get Intel need to send the cpu and motherboard. get the money back...
  • InvalidError
    I've grown accustomed to my PC running continuously for months at a time between drivers and Windows updates. If a patch of any kind caused my computer to crash, reboot or whatever you want to call that, I'd declare it unfit for its intended use and would have to seek compensation if it cannot be fixed within a reasonable time frame. I'd rather avoid the hassle altogether but failing that, it would be nice to upgrade my CPU+MoBo+RAM (mostly) at Intel's expense.