It was just earlier this week when I posted a piece about a patch for Intel chips that was quietly released. If you followed the story, news of the bug was first posted by Intel in late April inside a Core 2 Specification Update PDF document. It was explained how internal testing caught an error that could potentially result in memory leaks and, ultimately, crashes.
Microsoft released a patch pertaining to this issue recently, but the download page was terse and the explanation was non-existent. Because of this dearth of information, there was speculation from some quarters that it could be a Windows bug as opposed to a hardware fault with the Core 2 processor.
To summarize, it is indeed a CPU bug, and Intel partners were informed upon discovery of the issue. Later, Intel pushed out a microcode fix in the form of a BIOS update to its various hardware partners.
Most of the products in the channel already have the correct BIOSes right from the start. If not, downloading and applying the latest BIOS update should do the trick. On the OS front, other than Microsoft, it appears that Apple has already updated Mac OS X, while Linux — according to Linus Torvalds — is probably unaffected by the whole issue.
The eye-opener here is the assertion from Linus that "CPUs have always had bugs." For all you know, your next BSOD might not be due to poorly written code in Windows after all. In fact, OpenBSD founder Theo de Raadt has a lot of not so kind words to say about the bugs in Core 2.
Do you think that faulty hardware — motherboard, CPU, RAM, etc. — could have caused its fair share of BSODs, as well as erratic behaviour? Join the discussion.
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.