Intel’s 8th gen CPUs bring a new hardware design to block Spectre & Meltdown

Madeleine Dean By: Madeleine Dean
2 minute read
intel 8th gen cpu

The Spectre and Meltdown security vulnerabilities affected many computers worldwide. Microsoft and Intel already rolled out a series of patches to fix the problem.

However, these security updates only treat the symptoms, not the cause. As a result, some of them caused more harm than good, and Intel even advised users to refrain from installing them.

Intel’s making some hardware design changes

Intel quickly realized that it needs to do more that rolling out some updates if it really wants to mitigate these threats for good. For this reason, the company redesigned certain CPU elements in order to increase protection against all the Spectre and Meltdown variants.

While Variant 1 will continue to be addressed via software mitigations, we are making changes to our hardware design to further address the other two. We have redesigned parts of the processor to introduce new levels of protection through partitioning that will protect against both Variants 2 and 3. Think of this partitioning as additional “protective walls” between applications and user privilege levels to create an obstacle for bad actors.

Intel will deliver the new CPU design starting with the Xeon Scalable CPUs (Cascade Lake) and its 8th-gen processors in the second half of 2018.

For the time being, there is no information available as to whether the new design affects CPU performance or not. As a quick reminder, certain Spectre and Meltdown updates did cause performance issues on particular CPU models.

For more information about the upcoming Intel CPU design changes, you can also watch the video below:

The good news is that particular computer models running Windows 10 are not vulnerable to Spectre and Meltdown. You can download Ashampoo’s Spectre Meltdown CPU Checker to verify if your machine is vulnerable to these threats.

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