Intel recently reported their fourth-quarter financial performance. The briefing was predicted to be overshadowed by the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, but that surely didn’t happen. The company posted records results, and in a somewhat surprise move, CEO Brian Krzanich said there will still be new 14nm CPUs coming out this year, with in-silicon fixes for the vulnerabilities.
Intel Next-Gen 14nm CPUs planned for late 2018, Feature Silicon-Based Patches for Meltdown, Spectre
When the Meltdown and Spectre bugs first surfaced, experts unanimously agreed that it would take years to get processors on the market that are no longer vulnerable to such attacks. After all, CPUs are designed years in advance and subsequent changes would be expensive and need a lot of work.
Intel released CPU microcode updates to patch the vulnerabilities, which caused as high as up to 30% performance hit in some cases. The fix also induced random reboots on a number of systems, mainly Haswell and Broadwell based.
Now, Intel’s CEO has confirmed that they are working on hardware level changes to address the Meltdown and Spectre flaws. Not only that, but he also promised to release new, secure processors in late 2018. Here’s what Krzanich had to say during the earnings call:
“Security is a top priority for Intel, foundational to our products and it’s critical to the success of our data-centric strategy. Our near term focus is on delivering high quality mitigations to protect our customers infrastructure from these exploits. We’re working to incorporate in-silicon changes to future products that will directly address the Spectre and Meltdown threats in hardware. And those products will begin appearing later this year.”
Further, Intel expects to continue developing its 14nm products in 2018, so we can see those changes hitting refreshed 14nm CPUs, including Coffee Lake and Cascade Lake-X HEDT chips.
On the 10nm front, the company will kick the next-gen processors into mass production in the second half of the year, but there is no word on Ice Lake 10nm chips this year.
The upcoming products will be of significant importance here as they will fix one of the worst CPU flaws in the Intel history. Some analysts believe the secure chips could even lead to more sales for the company if customers update their systems for security reasons and don’t resort to AMD, obviously.