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Member Since 10 Sep 2008
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Intel's Spectre BIOS Fix Causes Crashes On Broadwell, Haswell Systems

17 January 2018 - 09:26 PM

Intel has issued a statement confirming that BIOS patches for the Spectre vulnerability are causing crashes on Broadwell and Haswell systems.


The company wants us to know that it’s sticking to its recent commitment to put security first by confirming that it’s investigating an issue with the CPU microcode updates it issued to its hardware partners. These updates are being distributed to users’ systems as BIOS updates, which are just beginning to roll out.


Intel said that customers have reported “higher system reboots” (crashes) after applying BIOS updates. So far, the issue only affects Broadwell (Core i3/5/7 5000 series on for mobile) and Haswell(Core i3/5/7 4000 series for desktop and mobile). Intel didn’t specifically say if Broadwell-E (Core i7 6000 series on desktop) are also affected. The issues have been reported in both data centers and regular user systems.


We are working quickly with these customers to understand, diagnose and address this reboot issue. If this requires a revised firmware update from Intel, we will distribute that update through the normal channels.  We are also working directly with data center customers to discuss the issue.


Intel doesn’t recommend you ignore the BIOS updates from your system OEM, but you might want to wait for this to unfold if you’re using one of the affected CPUs. The BIOS fixes are used in conjunction with software fixes to mitigate Spectre Variant 2. If you have auto-updating turned on in your OS, then most likely you have already received the software side of the fix.



Apple's Spectre fix throttles iPhone 6 performance 'by 40 per cent'

16 January 2018 - 12:15 PM

APPLE'S SPECTRE PATCH for iDevices could affect iPhone performance by as much as 40 per cent.


So says Dutch security researcher Melvin Mughal, who carried out benchmarking tests before and after the security patch had been applied. The test results indicate that Apple's iOS fix has a significant impact Apple's A8 processor, with single core results experiencing a 41 per cent decrease from 924 to 1,561.


Multi-core scores are almost as bad, dropping from 1,616 to 2,665, down by 39 per cent. Memory was impacted the least, with performance declining in Mughal's benchmarks by 14 and eight per cent for single and multicore, respectively.


Last week, Apple rolled out its iOS 11.2.2 firmware update to mitigate against the risks posed by the Spectre security flaw. But following warnings of a performance hit from patches introduced on other platforms, Mughal was keen to see how it might affect the iPhone. 

Although Mughal performed the benchmarks on an iPhone 6, he said the update would likely have a similar impact on other Apple devices.


"The performance benchmarks were performed on an iPhone 6 and are done pretty straightforward. The benchmarks were performed before/after updating iOS in the exact same scenario: no apps running (including background)," he said.

Mughal said his handset "took a serious hit in performance at every possible level", with the benchmark results showing "a significant decrease in performance" up to 50 per cent in most areas.

"Although this is not the best news, this security update is a ‘necessary evil'. It demonstrates a message the security community have reminded us time and time again: security can't be compromised over performance," he said.

Some of the worst affected applications on the iPhone will be web surfing, with HTML5 Parse and DOM whacked by 46 per cent and 56 per cent respectively on single core, according to Mughal's benchmark, and by 46 per cent and 36 per cent respectively on multicore. 


In the wake of the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerability, Apple joined companies, including Microsoft and Canonical, in releasing firmware updates for affected hardware. However, complaints of big performance hits following implementation of the patches have been widespread.


Chinese market phones.. are these a bargain?

21 August 2017 - 07:40 PM

Some of these can be... but through the extensive research I've done, I've decided that the Chinese market Honor V9 is the best of them all. Just look at that price!


You get a 2k screen, 64gb ROM, Kirin 960 octa-core, 6GB of RAM, Micro SD, USB Type C, and Android 7.0 to top it all off. This can all be had for under $600 delivered.


The problem is... you have to do your own restore of Google Play as it's not allowed there... and I'm guessing there will have to be a little jimmying to do with the OS to make it nicer, but it should be basic Huawei here.


But $600 is a bit rich to risk IMO, so I'm putting the feelers out.


Does anyone have any experience with these or other Chinese phones? Hell... does anyone have any EMUI 5.0 experience? Is anyone else in my position?


Let's have a chat.



Too Many Damn Lakes! Intel's coming CPU's

21 August 2017 - 12:32 AM

So Coffee Lake gets revealed on the 21st. This will be the thread to post all the low down on it. But in addition to that... subsequent announced Lakes that Intel has confirmed.




So unless you have been living under a rock.. you might have seen Coffee Lake leaks. These will be 6 core 12 thread mainstream flagships descending to fill the lineup and eliminate the dual core.. as rumoured. This will again be 14nm... but '14nm++' because it can do two roundhouse kicks... but also because the 14nm process has been further "refined" and along with the architecture (Kaby Lake being '14nm+').


In addition to this we have the just announced "Ice Lake" architecture... the 9th Core generation. This will be 10nm+ almost a double jump from Coffee Lake. Cannon Lake to be the first step to 10nm to iron out the bugs before Ice Lake. This is slated to be launched in 2018! Yes... 2018. It's apparently already taped out according to sources from Intel. In contrast... AMD has sent Zen for 7nm taping, though there is some conjecture over correct node naming.. check out the Icy Lake link.


So Intel seem to be throwing everything they have at AMD. Time will tell if they drown them in releases again.


Now we can post.. talk... postulate, and generally just bulldust about what is on the horizon for PC tech.



Continually updated article about Coffee Lake and everything 8th Gen

AMD RX Vega announcement.

31 July 2017 - 02:28 PM

August 14 Release. Pricing and Specs confirmed (but we already knew specs. :P)




AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid:

  • Stream Processors 4096(64 CUs) 
  • Texture Units 256
  • ROPs 64
  • Base Clock 1406MHz
  • Boost Clock 1677MHz
  • Memory Clock 1.89Gbps
  • Memory Bus Width 2048-bit
  • VRAM 8GB
  • Board Power 345W
  • Price $699* USD


AMD Radeon RX Vega 64:

  • Stream Processors 4096(64 CUs) 
  • Texture Units 256
  • ROPs 64
  • Base Clock 1247MHz
  • Boost Clock 1546MHz
  • Memory Clock 1.89Gbps
  • Memory Bus Width 2048-bit
  • VRAM 8GB
  • Board Power 295W
  • Price $499/599* USD


AMD Radeon RX Vega 56

  • Stream Processors 3585 (56 CUs)
  • Texture Units 224
  • ROPs 64
  • Base Clock 1156MHz
  • Boost Clock 1471MHz
  • Memory Clock HBM2 1.6Gbps
  • VRAM 8GB
  • Memory Bus Width 2048-bit
  • Board Power 210W
  • Price $399/499* USD


RX Vega 64 is expected to do battle with the GTX1080, while Vega 56 the GTX1070. Hopefully this is so.. and AMD are finally back in high end graphics.


No telling if the liquid cooled can match the 1080 Ti... but it's very unlikely.