Ack! Your smokin' fast Core 2 Quad processor and other Intel chips may suffer from what security experts call "CPU cache poisoning." Sounds nasty, and according to Joanna Rutkowska who discovered the security flaw, it is.
"In this paper we have described practical exploitation of the CPU cache poisoning," Joanna Rutkowska and Rafal Wojtczuk wrote in an abstract paper (PDF). "This is the third attack on SMM (system management mode) memory our team has found within the last 10 months, affecting Intel-based systems. It seems that the current state of firmware security, even in case of such reputable vendors as Intel, is quite unsatisfying."
Rutkowska and Wojtczuk go one to discuss proof of concept codes for arbitrary SMM code execution, which could (theoretically) lead to abuses of the super-privileged SMM mode and embedding SMM rookits. Doing so would (again theoretically) give hackers control over the affected PC. Worse yet, according to Jamey Heary, a consulting systems engineer for Cisco Systems, the hack would be "virtually undetectable."
So what does Intel have to say? "We are working with these researchers. We take this research and all reports seriously. Currently as far as we know, there are no known exploits in the wild," Intel spokesman George Alfs said in a written statement.
Get the full scoop here, then hit the jump and tell us what you think.
While Intel’s line of Z5xx Atom processors have already impressed the masses with their clock speeds ranging from 1.1GHz to 1.86GHz (all on 2.2 watts of power or less!), Intel feels like they’ve got more to prove.
The newest additions to the Atom family are the Z550 which clocks in at 2GHz while drawing only 2.4 watts and the Z515, with a dynamic clock speed ranging from 800MHz to 1.33GHz (depending on what you’re doing).
It’s expected that these chips will mostly see their way into mobile phones and MIDs, but the Z550 seems well within the realm of netbooks.
According to DigiTimes, Intel is looking to release two new processor models, which would most likely drop the prices on their current releases by up to 20 percent.
The two new rumored chips are slated to release on April 19th, and both will clock in at 2.66GHz. The first chip, the Q8400 (95W) will cost $183, while its sibling, the Q8400S (65W), will run $245. The report continued to state that in late May further Celeron and Pentium Dual-Core processors would see their way to the market.
For a full list of all the rumored price cuts and releases, be sure to check out a full report here.
Intel has made quite the splash in both the nettop and netbook markets with its low-power Atom processors, but it will be another month before the chip maker dives into the mobile internet device (MID) end of the electronics pool, says DigiTimes.
Citing un-named "sources at MID makers," the news and rumor site reports Intel has postponed the launch of its Atom Z550 and Z515 Atom CPUs to mid-April, both of which are intended for MIDs. When it launches, the Atom Z550 will run at 2.0GHz, making it the fastest clockspeed Atom to date. It will offer the same 2.4W rated TDP, 512KB of L2 cache, and 533MHz frontside bus. The Z515 will run a tick slower at 1.2GHz. Both chips sport an average power consumption of just .22W.
The Z550 will boast support for Intel's US15W chipset, while the Atom Z515 will support both the US15W and low-power UL11L chipsets. In addition, the Z515 will also feature Intel's new Burst Performance Technology (BPT), which will adjust the core clockspeed based on performance requirements.
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, Intel doesn't have much in the way of upcoming Core i7 processor price cuts, but if you're looking to piece together a Core 2 machine, look for some pretty significant reductions in the near future.
Citing un-named motherboard makers, the site claims Intel will drop pricing on several quad-core processors on April 12. These include:
Core 2 Quad Q9300 - $266 down to $213 (19.92%)
Core 2 Quad Q9550S - $369 down to $320 (13.28%)
Core 2 Quad Q9400S - $320 down to $277 (13.44%)
Core 2 Quad Q8200S - $245 down to $213 (13.06%)
On May 31, DigiTimes says Intel will introduce a handful of new processors, among them the Core i7 975 (3.33GHz) for $999 and Core i7 950 (3.06GHz) for $562.
Hit the jump to see what other new processors Intel has in store for May, along with what other price cuts to expect this summer.
The dispute between Intel and Nvidia over disagreements pertaining to Intel's Nehalem chipset license almost seems like old news now that Intel and AMD are going at each other. Intel claims AMD doesn't have the legal wherewithal to "unilaterally extend Intel's licensing rights to a third party," which in this case would be Globalfoundries, and has threatened to pull its 2001 agreement within 60 days if AMD doesn't address Intel's concerns. AMD, on the other hand, says it isn't doing anything wrong.
So who's in the right? To help determine that, Intel has offered to make the terms of the x86 cross-licensing deal public, for which AMD has agreed, but not without a stipulation. AMD wants Intel to lift the secrecy demand on all antiturst evidence submitted by AMD in the 2006 antitrust case.
"We will make the entire cross-license agreement public if they drop their insistence on secrecy on the evidence in the U.S. antitrust case," said Patrick Moorehead, AMD VP of marketing.
Intel does't appear willing to do so, and as far as the No. 1 chipmaker is concerned, AMD might just as well have rejected the offer outright.
"Intel is willing to make the entire [x86 cross-license] agreement public," said Chuck Mulloy, Intel spokesman. "We've told AMD we would be fine with making the entire agreement public. AMD has declined to do so."
Intel's crazy-popular Atom processor already dominates the netbook and nettop segments, but that might turn out to be only a glimpse of things to come. By the end of the year, look for Atom CPUs to have found a home in more than half of all entry-level desktops. What the Caesar?
Citing un-named industry sources in Taiwan, DigiTimes says Intel has had to adjust its target shipment ratio of single-core Atom 230 and dual-core Atom 330 processors as a percentage of total CPU shipments with nettops and entry-level desktops. And what an increase Intel puportely projects. According to the report, Intel expects Atom growth to increase from 4 percent (nettops) and 6 percent (desktops) in the first quarter to 10 percent and 52 percent, respectively, by the fourth quarter of 2009.
As a result, DigiTimes says Intel's 65nm dual-core Celeron E1000-series and 45nm single-core Celeron 200-series CPUs will account for less than a fifth of th shipment makeup by the end of the year.
If the projections hold true, both entry-level and mid-range desktop pricing is likely to go down.
Intel's Atom platform has become so popular that even companies you've never heard of are using it. Such is the case with Japan-based Mouse Computer, who has put together a new nettop PC, the EGPA33DR32XP.
Specs include an Intel Atom 230 (1.6GHz, 512KB) or 330 (1.6GHz, 1MB) processor, up to 2GB of DDR2-SODIMM PC2-5300, Intel GMA 950 graphics, 160GB or 320GB hard drive, DVD burner, 6 USB 2.0 ports, 4-in-1 media card reader, and Windows XP Home.
You're not likely to ever see this one state-side, but it is available now in Japan starting at around $400.
Recently Via announced their VX855 Media System Processor that allows their Nano, C7 and Eden processors to support 1080p video. This entertains the possibility that Via will provide a more attractive option an Intel and Nvidia when it comes to platforms to base a netbook off of.
The VX855 is designed for mobile PCs and comes with an HD video processor that gives smooth, hardware accelerated playback of high definition videos encoded in H.264, MPEG2/4, DivX and WMV9.
“For the first time, system developers have an ultra low power media system processor that delivers high bit-rate HD video to small form factor and mobile devices,” said Via’s VP of Marketing, Richard Brown. “The VIA VX855 opens up exciting opportunities for several PC segments, particularly the mini-notebook category that will now be able to offer true 1080p HD video playback.”
No solid information as to when we can expect to see this powerful little chip make its way into netbooks and nettops alike, but if its as good as they say, we should see it making a splash relatively soon.
Back in October 2008, Intel expressed concerns over AMD's announcement it would split into separate design and manufacturing firms, saying such a move would might run afoul of the Patent Cross License Agreement the two signed in 2001. The Agreement, which expires in 2010, has restrictions related to the transfer of licenses and patents, and according to Intel, "AMD cannot unilaterally extend Intel's licensing rights to a third party without the Intel's consent."
Now that the spin-off is complete, AMD said today that Intel plans to pull its 2001 agreement within the next 60 days, that is unless AMD addresses concerns surrounding AMD's joint-chip foundry, Globalfoundries. AMD meanwhile says it "strongly believes that the company has not breached the terms of the cross-license and Intel has no right to terminate the company's rights and licenses under the cross license."
AMD said the parties are trying to resolve the issue through mediation, however both AMD and Intel contend that the other has breached the 2001 agreement.