Processors

Patch for Intel chips quietly released


It appears that a fix for what might be some significant issues in many of Intel's most recent processors has been quietly released. Details on it are scant, other than that it's being billed as a "reliability update."

According to The Inquirer, the affected CPUs are the Core 2 Duo E4000/E6000, Core 2 Quad Q6600, Core 2 Xtreme QX6800, QX6700, and QX6800.

There are no indications that Apple users are affected. AMD processors are unaffected, of course. Otherwise, if you have a Core CPU-based machine, go to this link to download the update or to read up more on what this is all about.

Any speculation on what it might be? Join the discussion.

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

10 comments
TechExec2
TechExec2

. [i]"...These processors are buggy as hell ... At this time, I cannot recommend purchase of any machines based on the Intel Core 2 until these issues are dealt with..."[/i] --- Theo de Raadt of OpenBSD (1) Just a quick post. Apparently there ARE some serious problems with the Intel Core 2 processors. This may not be a Windows problem after all. I slam Windows whenever it deserves it (and that is quite a lot). But, when I'm wrong, I say so. I may owe Mr. Windows an apology after I research this some more. But there might be a slam on Microsoft for leaving customers running Windows 2000 on Intel Core 2 Duo out in the cold! :0 Questions: - How big of a hardware problem is this really? Computer users aren't reporting problems. Or, are they? - Where's Apple? The current Macintosh line uses these processors. - Does AMD have similar issues? Are they more, or less, helpful? - Is Intel really leaving open source OS vendors and customers out in the cold? Linux? *BSD Unix? - If so, why? Cover up? Intel claimed to have learned their lesson with that Pentium floating point divide public relations nightmare. ---------------------------------------------- (1) OpenBSD e-mail from Theo de Raadt http://marc.info/?l=openbsd-misc&m=118296441702631 (2) OpenBSD founder: Intel leaves open-source out in the cold http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=336 (3) Intel releases Core 2 chip Bios fix http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2007/06/27/intel_core2_duo_bios_fix/ (4) Core Duo/Solo Errata as of January 21, 2006 http://www.geek.com/images/geeknews/2006Jan/core_duo_errata__2006_01_21__full.gif (5) Intel's full errata sheet http://download.intel.com/design/processor/specupdt/31327914.pdf

cjbruning
cjbruning

Who the heck would buy a brand new Intel Core2 Duo and still run Windows 2k? That is one of the stupidest things I can imagine

Larkin600
Larkin600

Are there problems with this duo core processor? I have had some erratic behavior using this processor. There have been times when certain programs on my computer would just simply blaze. And then there are times when I just didn't think that my processor was working like it should. I have noticed in the Device Manager that the drivers for my processor aren't from Intel but from Microsoft. That I don't understand unless Microsoft just simply place generic drivers in until you perform an update.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. Picture a production LAN where they choose to run Windows 2000 servers because they work just fine for them and they see no reason to upgrade them all to Windows Server 2003 at great expense. But, their hardware is getting old and running out of gas. So, it is perfectly logical that they might choose to buy or build new servers based on Core Duo or Core 2 Duo processors that are affected by this problem. Hopefully, when you learn that people with production workloads have different issues to deal with than your hotshot gaming machine has, perhaps you'll also learn to not be so rude and obnoxious with your IT colleagues that you have just met on TR.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. [Update (6/29/2007): There are serious Intel Core 2 processor problems after all! http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=227791&messageID=2268560 ] Interesting... ** Just apply this fix. Don't worry about what the problem is. Don't worry about whether you need the fix or not. Don't worry about what it does to your system. Don't worry about what happens if the system does not work correctly after applying the fix. We're Microsoft. Trust us. One question: What??? ** The near complete absence of any explanation about what the problem is, how and when the problem is observed by the user, and what the "microcode update" does to fix it is very suspicious. Therefore, Microsoft is hiding something. ** Is Microsoft hiding this for Intel's benefit? I seriously doubt it. Microsoft is hiding something that Microsoft doesn't want people to know. ** If there was a hardware problem in the "Core 2" CPUs, all operating systems would be affected and Intel would be addressing it. I found no evidence of that (in a quick search). ** The absence of "microcode updates" for the *nix operating systems (Mac OS X, Linux, and Unix) suggests this is a problem in Windows that is simply specific to Intel processors. ** Windows 2000 is still under "Extended Support" yet this fix to Windows does not include Windows 2000. It is logical to conclude that this problem does not affect Windows 2000. Therefore, this is not a hardware problem. It is a Windows software problem. ** Question: What do Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2003 all have in common? Answer: The Windows Genuine Advantage. This is a pure guess of course. But, Microsoft's lack of information would be consistent with this having to do with WGA, the scourge of Windows systems. ** This reminds me of Intel's arrogance with the Pentium CPU floating point divide bug. The first version of the Pentium CPU would unpredictably produce seriously incorrect results in some floating point divide operations. Initially, Intel told people that they didn't need to be concerned. It was only important for certain kinds of scientific computing and unimportant in things like common spreadsheets. Yet, it was trivial to prepare an Excel spreadsheet that demonstrated the dramatic errors. After about a month of escalating outrage around the globe, Intel offered a free CPU replacement to every single customer who asked for one. The best joke about this that I heard at the time went like this: It was 286, then 386, then 486. Question: Why did Intel call the next one "Pentium" instead of 586? Answer: Intel computed 486 + 100 and got 585.99999999 :^0 . ** If I were running one of these versions of Windows on one of the affected Intel processors, I would demand Microsoft come clean before I applied this "fix". It is MY system that could be adversely affected by not applying, or applying, this "fix". Where is the respect for my interests? This is just another example of the Microsoft arrogance and "Microsoft first" attitude that I am completely sick to death of. ** What is the problem? ** How and when does the problem manifest itself? ** What does the "fix" do? ** How do I regress the "fix" if it destabilizes MY workstations and servers? Hey Microsoft! It's time to come clean about this. Your customers deserve to know the truth.

abarabanov
abarabanov

Because not all customers will accept the explanation with such a preamble (pure citations from some last years publications): 1/ One of the most interesting features of the Core microarchitecture is the addition of ?op fusion. 2/ … the verification tasks in parallel ... simulation tools to debug various parts of the chip all at once. 3/ Both AMD and Intel are now shipping chips with hardware support for virtualization. 4/ Microsoft has an open specification and a process for certifying the hardware. Oleks.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

Microsoft doesn't have bugs, they have 'features'

shryko
shryko

really, it's normally true... though, I've also found that the "100 bugs in the code" variant of "100 bottles of beer on the wall" fits... 100 bugs in the code, 100 bugs! take a shot, write a patch, 101 bugs in the code! (repeat till 0 bugs left)

cSpeak
cSpeak

Repeat until 0 bugs left? It's never ending! So E4000/E6000 are stated... Would my Core 2 Duo E6400 fall under the E6xxx category or is it just the E6000?

paulmah
paulmah

Any speculation on what it might be?