Items tagged with Skylake

When it comes to impactful processor vulnerabilities, the two most well-known attacks announced the year are Spectre and Meltdown. The hardware and software industry scrambled to push out fixes to prevent these, and Microsoft is still working to minimize the performance impact of its mitigations. Today, however, we're learning of yet another side-channel vulnerability, which is being dubbed PortSmash. In layman's terms, a side-channel vulnerability uses complex methods to sniff out encrypted data within a CPU or system memory in an effort to gain escalated privileges and access "protected"... Read more...
Intel continues to plug along with microcode updates for its vast stable of processors. Two weeks ago, the company released revised microcode updates with Spectre mitigations that were limited to mainstream Skylake mobile and desktop platforms. This week, the company has expanded the microcode updates to cover Skylake-X and Skylake-SP processors architectures including Core-X, Xeon Scalable and Xeon D. In addition, the new microcode release covers Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake processors that were previously left out. Intel was forced to pull its original microcode updates after it was found that some... Read more...
Intel has had a rough time patching the Meltdown and Spectre chip exploits that were first publicized in early January. The company issued microcode updates that helped to mitigate the exploits on processor architectures dating back to Broadwell. However, Intel quickly found out that not all was well, with customers reporting problems with random system rebooting. After pulling the updates and conferring with its OEM partners, Intel is now an issuing a second "production" microcode update for "several" Skylake-platforms. At this time, Intel is distributing the new microcode updates to system OEMs... Read more...
The PC industry is still trying to come to grips with the fallout from the revelation of the Meltdown and Spectre chip vulnerabilities. Meltdown only affects Intel processors, while Spectre -- the more serious exploit -- affects processors from Intel, AMD, and ARM. Hardware OEMs and OS manufactures have banded together to release patches to help mitigate the effects of any attacks based on Meltdown or Spectre, although some of those patches have been disastrous. For its part, Microsoft is addressing some of the performance ramifications for installing patches to mitigate the Meltdown and Spectre... Read more...
About a month ago we talked about a critical HyperThreading flaw that had been found in Intel Skylake and Kaby Lake processors. As we noted at that time, the flaw is very hard to trigger and is limited in scope. In fact, many people running processors affected by the flaw probably never noticed any stability issues with their machines as a result. With that said, no PC enthusiast wants a system that has any critical flaws lurking about, so Intel has fixed the issue with a new update. The first indication that the flaw has been fixed comes from the Debian Linux user lists, the group that... Read more...
Update: 6/26/2017, 8:59PM EST - Our contacts at Intel have responded to our requests for further detail on this issue with the following statement: "We have already identified this issue and addressed it with a fix that started rolling out in April 2017. As always, we recommend checking to make sure your BIOS is up to date, but the chance of encountering this issue is low, as it requires a complex number of concurrent micro-architectural conditions to reproduce."And so it's clear that Intel feels this issue is limited in scope and very hard to trigger. Further, the fix was documented... Read more...
A pair of researchers from Positive Technologies claim that Intel's newest generation processors are susceptible to a USB port debugging vulnerability that could allow an attacker to take over full control of a system. Starting with Skylake (and presumably Kaby Lake, though the researchers do not specifically mention Intel's 7th generation Core CPUs), Intel  U-series chips have a debugging interface that is accessible via USB 3.0 ports, and that is where the potential problem lies. The researchers say that attackers could exploit the debugging interface to bypass any security measures in place... Read more...
‘Tis the season to stomp on your enemies with the help of new gaming hardware, so we jumped at the chance to fire up a couple of Lenovo’s top gaming machines, a burly 17-inch gaming laptop and a gaming desktop PC designed in conjunction with Razer. Just a small side note: we're actually giving away these machines in the days ahead to a couple of lucky individuals participating in our Lenovo HOT Holiday Giveaway. We thought it might be interesting to preview these to beasts before we gave them away, though.  Regardless, the maker of the ThinkPad line has been fighting its way into the... Read more...
Intel's first generation Compute Stick turned quite a few heads, including ours, as it was a remarkable thing to consider that a fully functioning PC could be crammed onto a device roughly the size of a bloated USB flash drive. It wasn't especially powerful—Intel pairing an Atom processor based on its Bay Trail-T platform with just 2GB of single-channel RAM and 32GB of onboard storage—but for $149 with Windows pre-installed (or $99 with Ubuntu) it was an intriguing device that could turn any HDMI-equipped display into a full-fledged PC. Knowing that it was on to something, Intel updated its Compute... Read more...
Today we are going to take a look at Gigabyte’s Z170X-Designare motherboard, one of the company's more recent Socket 1151-based boards for Intel's 6th Generation Skylake-based processors. At first glance this is an unassuming board, at least in terms of its appearance. It features a dark and subdued black PCB with chrome highlights and nothing overly dramatic or gaudy. Yet for the sub-$250 price tag, this motherboard is loaded up with a strong array of cutting edge technologies. Among them is support for Intel Thunderbolt 3 across the board’s USB Type-c connection on the back I/O. This... Read more...
Asus is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand this year. The manufacturer launched its ROG line in 2006 and has since developed a wide range of gaming products under the brand, including some monstrous gaming notebooks like the one we'll be showing you here. With the arrival of NVIDIA’s Pascal architecture this summer, the hulking systems are getting a shot in the arm, so we brought Asus’ flagship mobile gaming machine, the ROG G752VS XB78K, in house to see what you get when you go big. The efficiency of the Pascal architecture has made for mobile GPUs that are... Read more...
We have another premium Z170-based motherboard on the test bench today, by way of MSI. The MSI Z170A Gaming M9 ACK motherboard is the company’s top end gaming board for use with Intel 6th Generation Skylake-based Core series processors. The MSI Z170A Gaming M9 is packed with a host of premium features aimed at improving and enhancing your experience. Like most gaming enthusiast boards, this one also commands top dollar, but still manages to ring in $100 shy of the wallet-busting ASUS Z170 ROG Maximus VIII we previously reviewed. Some of the more notable features on this motherboard include a built-in... Read more...
A good rule of thumb when purchasing a gaming laptop is to buy one with the fastest GPU you can afford. Unlike desktop PCs, you usually can't rip out the graphics adapter and upgrade to something faster (not in most cases, anyway), so when that once shiny and fast laptop starts feeling a little sluggish, you're looking at dialing down in-game settings until you've saved enough scratch to buy a new laptop. That's an expensive proposition (it's called throwing the baby out with the bath water), but if gaming on the go is what you're after, you don't have much choice in the matter.That's still the... Read more...
As longtime enthusiasts, we tend to get most excited for the latest, big, bad, benchmark-busting specimens of PC hardware to hit the lab. However, there’s something about ultra-small form factor devices that’s intriguing as well. The focus on power efficiency and performance-per-watt from virtually all semi-conductor manufacturers over the last few years has enabled some pretty impressive hardware in fairly tiny form factors, and it’s now possible to have a fully-functional – and rather quick – desktop PC that literally fits in the palm of your hand.Take the Gigabyte Brix S (model number BSi5HT-6200)... Read more...
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