bit-tech.net

Critical Windows update for Core 2s

Critical Windows update for Core 2s

All Intel Core 2 and Xeon 3000/5000 series processors are affected by this "microcode reliability update" so head on over to Microsoft to grab the update.

Microsoft has released a critical update for Windows machines running processors from Intel's Core 2 and Xeon 3000/5000 families.

The update is recommended for 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2003, along with the 32-bit versions of Windows XP.

Microsoft describes the patch as "a microcode reliability update is available that improves the reliability of systems that use Intel processors."

According to the Inquirer, the problem also affects Core 2-based systems not running Windows, and motherboard manufacturers are working to release urgent BIOS updates that refresh the microcode versions too.

Details on what the actual problem is are pretty light at the moment, but the Inquirer has been assured that there will be no product recall and that the problem - whatever it is - is fixable via either BIOS or Windows updates.

You can grab the patch from Microsoft's support site, and discuss the update in our forums.

Update 29/06/07 0100hrs GMT:
Intel's Nick Knupffer dropped into bit-tech's forums this evening to offer some more insight into this situation, as it's fair to say that there was very little detail out there at the time of publication. He said that the company publicly documented the erratum in April and that the issue has not only been fixed with recent BIOS updates, but also with the recent update to the various versions of Windows. He even went onto say that if you're using a recent build of Linux, there is a high chance that you are not going to need to do anything at all because the fix will already be implemented into the kernel.

This should give bit-tech readers that have bought Intel Core 2-based processors some peace of mind, and he stated that the issue was an incredibly rare one even if you haven't applied one of the fixes. Intel essentially issued the erratum for the once in a blue moon scenario that you're incredibly unlikely to ever encounter in order to protect its brand name. You can read his posts in full here and here.

Without doubt, we really appreciate Nick taking the time to come and explain the situation in more detail. It's commendable that Intel is not only upfront about potential problems with its processors, but also works to fix the problems as soon as it discovers them.

39 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
BioSniper 27th June 2007, 19:35 Quote
I'd love to know the exact nature of the issue before installing patches for something that may or may not be affecting me.
Hells_Bliss 27th June 2007, 19:44 Quote
nice to know i guess....why no 64bit xp patch though? is xp 64bit just given up for dead or something?!!? :(

/edit never mind just looked at the M$ site and there's a 64bit xp patch too.

/edit of the edit
...okay now i'm just confused, the x64 xp patch just redirects to the 2k3 download, and there's no file information or applies to for x64 xp. One way or the other people sheesh!
Tim S 27th June 2007, 19:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hells_Bliss
nice to know i guess....why no 64bit xp patch though? is xp 64bit just given up for dead or something?!!? :(
Yeah, I thought that was a bit strange... it either doesn't affect it or Microsoft is choosing not to support the install base. I'm not going to speculate on which is the right answer though.
gvblake22 27th June 2007, 19:47 Quote
Agreed. It always makes me nervous when these big companies say it is urgent and highly recommended to update things but they never specify exactly why. At least they are working on it...
mattthegamer463 27th June 2007, 19:50 Quote
Reliability issues? I haven't had a single system crash on my C2D rig. Ever. It already installed it on me though so I guess theres no cause for concern...
Robotrix 27th June 2007, 19:56 Quote
How likely is it that we'll need the update for Intel Penryn CPUs as well?
Tim S 27th June 2007, 20:05 Quote
whatever the problem is might either be fixed in hardware by then (with new silicon revisions) or it should be fixed in BIOS updates by then at the very worst.
Sim0n 27th June 2007, 20:08 Quote
Erm, there is a 64bit XP driver on MS's website now, dunno if it was always there tho.
Hells_Bliss 27th June 2007, 20:14 Quote
It just redirects you to the 2003 update though, and theres no "applies to" for it.

APPLIES TO
• Windows Vista Home Basic
• Windows Vista Home Premium
• Windows Vista Ultimate
• Windows Vista Business
• Windows Vista Enterprise
• Windows Vista Starter
• Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition
• Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
• Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
• Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
• Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
• Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
• Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
• Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
• Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
• Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition
• Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition
• Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter x64 Edition
• Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
• Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Amon 27th June 2007, 20:33 Quote
*sniff*
I smell bullsh*t in an attempt to make Vista appear necessary.
knowyourenemy 27th June 2007, 20:52 Quote
A tad elaborate, no?
Omnituens 27th June 2007, 22:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amon
*sniff*
I smell bullsh*t in an attempt to make Vista appear necessary.
but they patched XP OSs... so how is Vista necessary?

unless they go HAHA WE R IN UR MACHINES, DISABLING UR XP OS!

I just updated my BIOS, no mention of any issue with the C2D though.
Indybird 27th June 2007, 22:19 Quote
Well, I downloaded, installed and restarted and I haven't been haxed yet... The only reason I downloaded it is because I was having some random crashes a while ago.
Tim S 27th June 2007, 22:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indybird
Well, I downloaded, installed and restarted and I haven't been haxed yet... The only reason I downloaded it is because I was having some random crashes a while ago.
Welcome to the forums ;)
Aankhen 27th June 2007, 22:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amon
*sniff*
I smell bullsh*t in an attempt to make Vista appear necessary.
*sniffs*
I smell paranoia… ;)
stevehp 27th June 2007, 22:34 Quote
XP Pro 64bit is essentially just Windows Server Standard so 2k3 updates will work i.e. SP2 for 2k3 and XP Pro 64bit used the same executable file.
Tyinsar 28th June 2007, 01:08 Quote
The fact that they haven't specified what the issue is makes me want to run benchmarks before and after the install.
BurningFeetMan 28th June 2007, 01:43 Quote
Meh, if it ain't broke, don't fix it! My c2d has been the best thing since sliced bread. No complaints from my end. I highly recommend them to anyone interested in getting a new PC.
Tyinsar 28th June 2007, 03:56 Quote
Hmm, got home & looked for said patch but it wasn't shown when I ran "Windows Update". Went to the linked page on MS & saw: "Release Date: June 11, 2007" & "Last Review: June 22, 2007". However, this update doesn't show up in my update history within, or since, that time period. /me scratches head & shrugs
IanW 28th June 2007, 07:20 Quote
/me wonders how this affects we who have turned away from the dark side toward the light of The Great Penguin?
Mankz 28th June 2007, 09:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S
it either doesn't affect it or Microsoft is choosing not to support the install base.

XP Pro x64 was the worst Invesment / OS I've ever got. Nothing ever works and its slow as hell.
DougEdey 28th June 2007, 09:32 Quote
Wasn't XP 64 just designed as a test system? Not formally released
Matkubicki 28th June 2007, 09:45 Quote
The Inq as all the details on what it fixes here. Basically sounds like a hardware issue that can be fixed in software by making sure the exact conditions never arrise. Mac OS X has already been updated as have many BIOSs and Linux is meant to be doing something.
Boswell 28th June 2007, 12:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyinsar
The fact that they haven't specified what the issue is makes me want to run benchmarks before and after the install.

Can you post them once your done :D
Xen0phobiak 28th June 2007, 13:12 Quote
404's on the patches for me :(
quack 28th June 2007, 13:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hells_Bliss
nice to know i guess....why no 64bit xp patch though? is xp 64bit just given up for dead or something?!!? :(

/edit never mind just looked at the M$ site and there's a 64bit xp patch too.

/edit of the edit
...okay now i'm just confused, the x64 xp patch just redirects to the 2k3 download, and there's no file information or applies to for x64 xp. One way or the other people sheesh!

The x64-based versions of Windows Server 2003 and of Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition are based on the Windows Server 2003 code tree. Service and support activities for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition use the Windows Server 2003 tree and do not use the Windows XP client tree.

If you check the filename for the microcode update you'll find it is for both XP x64 and 2003 x64: WindowsServer2003.WindowsXP-KB936357-x64-ENU.exe.

In fact you'll find that SP2 for 2003 is also SP1 for XP x64. :)
Henk 28th June 2007, 15:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mankz.
XP Pro x64 was the worst Investment / OS I've ever got. Nothing ever works and its slow as hell.

QFT. I've had it for six months and do I regret installing it. Harddrive interaction is a pain in the ass, everything takes almost double the time to load/move/copy compared to 32bits (yes I have the latest drivers for everything), and games that doesn't have that nifty 64bit .exe all suffer from random slowdowns for no apparent reason :?

I gotta reformat someday, but I'm currently out of space to do so
completemadness 28th June 2007, 20:30 Quote
http://marc.info/?l=openbsd-misc&m=118296441702631

he has a link to
http://download.intel.com/design/processor/specupdt/31327914.pdf

which has a list of the 105 currently known bugs with the C2D
Amon 28th June 2007, 20:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henk
QFT. I've had it for six months and do I regret installing it. Harddrive interaction is a pain in the ass, everything takes almost double the time to load/move/copy compared to 32bits (yes I have the latest drivers for everything), and games that doesn't have that nifty 64bit .exe all suffer from random slowdowns for no apparent reason :?

I gotta reformat someday, but I'm currently out of space to do so
That's unusual. I've been using XP 64-bit for almost two years and I've never had any performance issues at all. My games have only suffered a ~2% performance penalty from having to deal with the WOW64 emulator more intensely.
IntelNick 29th June 2007, 00:11 Quote
I am from Intel, and I thought I would give you our perspective. Months ago, we addressed a processor issue by providing a BIOS update for our customers that in no way affects system performance. We publicly documented this as an erratum in April. All processors from all companies have errata, and Intel has a well-known errata communication process to inform our customers and the public. Keep in mind the probability of encountering this issue is low. Specification Updates for the affected processors are available at http://developer.intel.com.

All errata are thoroughly investigated for issues and vulnerabilities, should they have any we fix them, usually through a microcode update. We feel we’ve resolved the issue and were open about it with customers and then publicly publishing it, but this is a good venue for ideas on how we could do better or more. I am interested in any constructive comments...
Hells_Bliss 29th June 2007, 00:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by IntelNick
I am from Intel, and I thought I would give you our perspective. Months ago, we addressed a processor issue by providing a BIOS update for our customers that in no way affects system performance. We publicly documented this as an erratum in April. All processors from all companies have errata, and Intel has a well-known errata communication process to inform our customers and the public. Keep in mind the probability of encountering this issue is low. Specification Updates for the affected processors are available at http://developer.intel.com.

All errata are thoroughly investigated for issues and vulnerabilities, should they have any we fix them, usually through a microcode update. We feel we’ve resolved the issue and were open about it with customers and then publicly publishing it, but this is a good venue for ideas on how we could do better or more. I am interested in any constructive comments...

Hi Nick :)

I'd say more information would be nice, other than just a "hey we're releasing a patch, install it!"
IntelNick 29th June 2007, 01:15 Quote
Well, we have 2 kinds of things we do:

1. We publish details these and tell the big PC manufacturers. The press regularly review our http://developer.intel.com website. The PC makers and motherboard makers have the option to tell their customers directly.
2. If it is a big issue, we tell the press directly - and they in turn make everyone aware.

In this case, since this is an extremely rare issue (only been seen in testing, not in the 'real world'), we published the details in our Specification Updates document and left it up to the PC and motherboard makers to decide how they want to update their customers.

This being said - the Core 2 products are amongst the most solid and reliable - something that is reflected in the posts in this forum.

PS: If you want to update you PC, you can use either the Windows patch, or a BIOS update for your motherboard, either one will do the trick, you do not need to do both. If you use a recent version of Linux, you likely don't need to do anything at all.
Tim S 29th June 2007, 01:48 Quote
Hey Nick,

Thanks for stopping by to explain the situation more clearly, I am sure that our readers really appreciate the elaboration (as do we). I will add an update to the story so that the readers are pointed to your posts!

Thanks,
Tim
Nature 29th June 2007, 02:32 Quote
Do I need this for my pentium 3?:D?
Hells_Bliss 29th June 2007, 04:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by IntelNick
Well, we have 2 kinds of things we do:

1. We publish details these and tell the big PC manufacturers. The press regularly review our http://developer.intel.com website. The PC makers and motherboard makers have the option to tell their customers directly.
2. If it is a big issue, we tell the press directly - and they in turn make everyone aware.

In this case, since this is an extremely rare issue (only been seen in testing, not in the 'real world'), we published the details in our Specification Updates document and left it up to the PC and motherboard makers to decide how they want to update their customers.

This being said - the Core 2 products are amongst the most solid and reliable - something that is reflected in the posts in this forum.

PS: If you want to update you PC, you can use either the Windows patch, or a BIOS update for your motherboard, either one will do the trick, you do not need to do both. If you use a recent version of Linux, you likely don't need to do anything at all.


Thanks mate, definately appreciate the info :)
Amon 29th June 2007, 05:04 Quote
Nick,

Question: do you use AMD--or would like to? Or are you not at liberty to comment? Thank you for the enlightenment on the matter, though.

Thanks
IntelNick 29th June 2007, 08:54 Quote
Quote:
Question: do you use AMD--or would like to? Or are you not at liberty to comment? Thank you for the enlightenment on the matter, though.

Hehehe! I have a Quad-Core Core 2 Extreme Edition as my gaming rig (mostly BF2 and waiting for the new Civ4 expansion) at home, my wife and I both have Centrino notebooks, I have a Viiv based media centre in the living room and a Pentium-D in the garage (for guests and watching DVD's while working out).

So no, no AMD machines.
jodo 29th June 2007, 15:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by IntelNick
Hehehe! I have a Quad-Core Core 2 Extreme Edition as my gaming rig (mostly BF2 and waiting for the new Civ4 expansion) at home, my wife and I both have Centrino notebooks, I have a Viiv based media centre in the living room and a Pentium-D in the garage (for guests and watching DVD's while working out).

So no, no AMD machines.

Hi Nick,

My english is very poor, I have used the google translator to write this post. I hope that it is understood.

When seeing this post I have seen myself in the obligation to register only for tell you that I envy much to you.

I write to you from Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain), here to be able to have that you say we needed to work hard to obtain half of which it is worth all that in my country, and that that we are not a poor country.

I want to you to congratulate by your work and the help that you have offered to us in this post with respect to the subject which we are treating.

I have always bought all the computers with Intel, although AMD launch good and low cost things (sometimes:D), I have always bought intel (;)), you do not ask to me, I suppose that it is faith.

How much expensive is in your country all that you have? can you send me one of each? surely that is to half of price.

Thanks for the help and to read me…


An envious one from Barcelona.
BoomAM 10th August 2007, 14:55 Quote
Does this patch show up in windows update?
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums