Intel’s Meltdown and Spectre patches could wreak havoc on older CPUs

Intel’s latest maintenance update – designed to address the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities – could affect the performance of some of its older Broadwell and Haswell CPUs, according to the company.

“We have received reports from a few customers of higher system reboots after applying firmware updates,” said Intel. “These systems are running Intel Broadwell and Haswell CPUs for both client and data center,” it added.

The cause of the issue is currently unknown, but Intel has revealed it’s working around the clock to assemble and distribute a patch – though there’s no telling how long it will take to arrive.

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“If this requires a revised firmware update from Intel, we will distribute that update through the normal channels,” explained Navin Shenoy, General Manager of the Intel’s Data Center Group.

Meltdown, for those unaware, is the term coined to describe a flaw in modern Intel CPUs, which leaves a computer’s kernel memory – the encrypted part of a system used to store sensitive information, like passwords – susceptible to hackers.

But Intel isn’t the only chipmaker in hot water.

Meltdown’s even more insidious cousin, Spectre, is a underlying weakness in desktop and mobile chipset design that affects hardware manufactured by a number of leading suppliers, including ARM, AMD and, of course, Intel.

Our advice? If you have a laptop, smartphone, tablet, or PC that’s thought to be vulnerable to either flaw, install whatever updates are made available to you immediately.

Has Intel’s Meltdown and Spectre patch wreaked havoc on your PC? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.