Intel Assures Silicon-Based Changes For Next-Gen CPUs Arriving in Late 2018 – Will Address Spectre and Meltdown Threats
Intel seems to be working on hardware level changes to upcoming CPUs which will address the security threats caused by Meltdown and Spectre. This was confirmed by Intel's CEO, Brian Krzanich, in the earnings call for Q4 2017 in which the company set another record year with a record full year revenue of $62.8 Billion and Q4 record revenue of $17.1 Billion.
Intel To Release Next Gen CPUs With Hardware Level Changes To Address Meltdown and Spectre Flaws, Will Arrive in Late 2018
We will cover the financials in a different article with full details in a bit but the most important thing right now is that Intel's CEO has confirmed that they are working to fix their CPUs on the hardware level to address Meltdown and Spectre. The following statement is from Brian himself during the earnings call:
Security is a top priority for Intel, foundational to our products and it's critical to the success of our data-centric strategy. Our near term focus is on delivering high quality mitigations to protect our customers infrastructure from these exploits. We're working to incorporate silicon-based changed to future products that will directly address the Spectre and Meltdown threats in hardware. And those products will begin appearing later this year.
Brian Krzanich, CEO, Intel
The interesting part is that Intel isn't referring to any specific product here but talking about a range of upcoming CPUs. It's also good to see that the changes will be made on the silicon side and not a software based solutions. This would mean that the upcoming processor lineups featuring these updates won't be affected by any performance hits that current processors are affected with after the Windows and Linux based KPTI patches went online.
The performance hit was as high as up to 30% in some cases and was reported by every major firm incorporating Intel CPUs. Intel reassured users that they will try to mitigate the performance hit through future patches but a proper patch was not to be expected until hardware level changes were made on a new processor. As far as the products are concerned, Intel is still dependent on 14nm for this year and hence, we can see those changes hitting refreshed 14nm and Cascade Lake Xeon chips. 10nm would also get the updated silicon but there's no word on arrival of Cannonlake 10nm chips this year.
Now that Intel has started working on silicon based changes on their new line of chips, we can expect the full performance potential on their platform. The upcoming CPUs will definitely be interesting as they will fix one of Intel's worst processor flaws which will affect them for years to come in the CPU market.