Intel Volleys New Sandy Bridge CPU Microcode
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 21 May 2020 at 06:52 AM EDT. 18 Comments
INTEL --
For reasons currently unknown, Intel released new CPU microcode on Wednesday for their Sandy Bridge processors.

Intel released the 20200520 CPU Microcode Update and it only consists of Sandy Bridge family updates. This is a bit strange with Sandy Bridge being nine years old and other Intel CPU families not seeing similar microcode updates this week.

In fact, it's been since last November with the JCC Erratum situation when Intel last released a large CPU microcode update affecting their supported generations of processors. Since then there was just the Intel Icelake CPU microcode update a few weeks ago with unexplained changes but did bring some minor performance hits. Aside from that Ice Lake drop and this new Sandy Bridge update, there hasn't been any other new drops for Linux users this year.


These limited Linux CPU microcode updates come while in recent months more security vulnerabilities have come to light that are contingent upon updated CPU microcode for mitigation, such as January's "CacheOut" disclosure.

So for now there is microcode-20200520 for those with an affected Sandy Bridge CPU while we wait to hear why now the Sandy Bridge microcode is being updated. This weekend I'll be looking at the microcode update on such a system in looking for any performance changes.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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