Intel starts rolling out processor updates to fix vulnerable chips

Intel has announced that it is rolling out fixes to computers using its chips to overcome the recently revealed Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities inherent in its processors.

The company is rushing out updates that appear to have originally been slated to go out on January 9, but news of the problem leaked early, pushing up the timetable. In a press release, Intel revealed that it has already issued updates for many of its products using its chips, and expects to have more than 90% of its chips manufactured within the last five years immune from both exploits by next week. Intel said it has been working with companies like Microsoft, which issued an update yesterday.

As far as reports that any fixes would cause about a 30% drop in performance, Intel refuted the claim:

Intel continues to believe that the performance impact of these updates is highly workload-dependent and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time. While on some discrete workloads the performance impact from the software updates may initially be higher, additional post-deployment identification, testing and improvement of the software updates should mitigate that impact.

Intel said it will continue to work with its vendors to ensure that all the issues are addressed and systems are properly updated.

The company has been buffeted by bad press since the revelation, particularly since the Meltdown vulnerability seems almost exclusively relegated to Intel chips. All chips seem to be affected by Spectre , including ARM, although chip-maker AMD has said that "negligible performance impact expected" from Spectre.

Intel stock has dropped more than 7% on the news, and an investigation has been started against the company on behalf of investors.

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