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ASRock Outs Newer BIOS Updates to Correct Reboot Issues Post Security Patches

ASRock was just informed by Intel that they disclosed the reboot issue on the former microcode released earlier. To fix the security vulnerability (SA-00088), ASRock is still waiting for Intel's further support and we're committed to work closely with them to develop and update new BIOS for our 8/9/100/200/Z370/X99/X299 motherboard series. To mitigate this issue promptly and constructively, we will keep our customers posted on our official website, please refer to this page. For Intel's official announcement, please refer to this page.

ASRock is aware that the current Intel microcode version might be defected by security vulnerabilities. We recommend users update their systems by flashing the latest BIOS once the revision microcode is released from Intel. To mitigate this issue promptly and constructively, please refer to below links for more info and stayed tuned.
DOWNLOAD: Latest ASRock BIOS Updates

Intel's Patch for Meltdown, Spectre "Complete and Utter Garbage:" Linus Torvalds

Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, the most popular datacenter operating system, proclaimed Intel's patches for the recent Meltdown and Spectre CPU vulnerabilities "complete and utter garbage." Torvalds continues to work on the innermost code of Linux, and has been closely associated with kernel patches that are supposed to work in conjunction with updated CPU microcode to mitigate the two vulnerabilities that threaten to severely compromise security of data-centers and cloud-computing service providers.

Torvalds, in a heated public chain-mail with David Woodhouse, an Amazon engineer based out of the UK, called Intel's fix "insane" and questioned its intent behind making the patch "toggle-able" (any admin can disable the patch to a seemingly cataclysmic vulnerability, which can bring down a Fortune 500 company). Torvalds also takes issue with redundant fixes to vulnerabilities already patched by Google Project Zero "retpoline" technique. Later down in the thread, Woodhouse admits that there's no good reason for Intel's patches to be an "opt-in." Intel commented on this exchange with a vanilla-flavored potato: "We take the feedback of industry partners seriously. We are actively engaging with the Linux community, including Linus, as we seek to work together on solutions."

Intel Announces Root Cause of Meltdown, Spectre Patch Reboot Issue Identified

Intel has finally come around towards reporting on the state of the reboot issues that have been plaguing Intel systems ever since the company started rolling out patches to customers. These patches, which aimed to mitigate security vulnerabilities present in Intel's chips, ended up causing a whole slew of other problems for Intel CPU deployment managers. As a result of Intel's investigation, the company has ascertained that there were, in fact, problems with the patch implementation, and is now changing its guidelines: where before users were encouraged to apply any issued updates as soon as possible, the company now states that "OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors and end users stop deployment of current versions, as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior." A full transcription of the Intel press release follows.

Intel Releases CPU Benchmarks with Meltdown and Spectre Mitigations

It's safe to say that there's one thing that you don't mess around with, and that's performance. Enthusiasts don't spend hundreds of dollars on a processor to watch it underperform. Given the complicated nature of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, Microsoft's so-called mitigations were bound to have an impact on processor performance. The million dollar question was: Just how much? The initial estimate was somewhere around 30%, but Intel, being optimistic as usual, expected the performance impact to be insignificant for the average user. They recently provided some preliminary benchmark results that looked quite convincing too. Well, let's take a look at their findings, shall we?

Intel measured the mitgations' impact on CPU performance using their 6th, 7th, and 8th Generation Intel Core processors but, more specifically, the i7-6700K, i7-7920HQ, i7-8650U, and i7-8700K. The preferred operating system used in the majority of the benchmarks was Windows 10, however, Windows 7 also made a brief appearance. Intel chose four key benchmarks for their testing. SYSmark 2014 SE evaluated CPU performance on an enterprise level simulating office productivity, data and financial analysis, and media creation. PC Mark 10, on the other hand, tested performance in real-world usage employing different workloads like web browsing, video conferencing, application start-up time, spreadsheets, writing, and digital content creation. 3DMark Sky Diver assessed CPU performance in a DirectX 11 gaming scenario. Lastly, WebXPRT 2015 measured system performance using six HTML5- and JavaScript-based workloads which include photo enhancement, organize album, stock option pricing, local notes, sales graphs, and explore DNA sequencing.

Latest Need for Speed Payback Update Accelerates Progression System

Following the launch of Need for Speed Payback, we've been working on addressing feedback by making changes to the progression system and other aspects of the game. These range from decreasing the amount of time for parts to refresh within the tune-up shops to the way events, bait crates and roaming racers work. Players in Ranked Speedlists will also notice an increased amount of parts being paid out. Win the Speedlist and you're guaranteed a new part, while simply participating means you get more chances of receiving an item of your own. We've already pushed a number of these updates live and will continue to listen to our players to make Need for Speed Payback the best experience possible.

Soon players will see a client-side patch going live and will benefit from a range of updates including improved game performance, multiple fixes to improve stability and tune-up shops stocking a higher quality selection of parts.

AMD Community Update: BIOS Updates, Patches, Performance Improvements

Yesterday, we covered how Ryzen's performance has seen a needed lift-up through an upcoming update to Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation. Performance improvements of up to 30% do wonders in bringing up the 8-core, 16-thread Ryzen 7 1800X's performance up to speed with its svelter gaming enemy, the 4-core, 8-thread i/ 7700K. And through a community update, AMD has now shed some light on the ongoing crusade for adapting an entire ecosystem to its Ryzen line of processors architecture features. Case in point: BIOS updates and game patches,

AMD Sends Required Patches for Vega Support in Linux

AMD has recently sent out around a hundred patches, which amount to over 40 thousand lines of code, so as to allow developers to integrate support for its upcoming Vega GPU architecture under Linux. The new code is essential towards baking support for Vega under Linux, considering the many changes this architecture entails over AMD's current-generation Polaris 10 (soon to be rebranded, if sources are correct, to the new RX 500 series.) Also of note is the existence of seven different device IDs for Vega-based products, though this really can't be extrapolated to the amount of SKUs under the Vega banner. For now, that really is just a number.

Windows 10 Creators Update Might Force Updates Even on Metered Connections

A wording change in the latest build of the upcoming Creators Update for Windows 10 has users on metered connections worried. In previous Microsoft Insider's builds of the Creators Update, the section of the license agreement pertaining to automatic updates said "updates will be downloaded and installed automatically, except over metered connections (where charges may apply)."

In this latest build, the wording has been changed to a more worrisome version implying updating may still happen for important updates: "We'll automatically download and install updates, except on metered connections (where charges may apply). In that case, we'll automatically download only those updates required to keep Windows running smoothly."

AMD BIOS Signature Check re-enabled with ReLive, Locks out Polaris BIOS Modders

If you are using a modded BIOS on your AMD Polaris card, and try to install AMD's excellent Crimson ReLive drivers, you might be in for a surprise. This is because AMD re-enabled their BIOS signature enforcement with these latest drivers. Basically, if you modded your card's BIOS in search of higher overclocking, more voltage or customized fan settings, the hash in your BIOS is no longer recognized by AMD the driver, since it differs from the factory values.

On detecting such a modded BIOS with an invalid checksum, the Crimson ReLive driver won't load, meaning that the system will run with the VGA fallback driver only, without 3D acceleration and Radeon Settings will not start. However, you can force your modded BIOS to load on Crimson ReLive if you're willing to jump through some hoops.

App Claims to Blunt Intel's Compiler Edge on AMD Machines

A ominously named app claims to boost certain apps performance on AMD processors. Called "Intel Compiler Patcher," this app scans your machine for apps developed using Intel C++ compilers, and patches them to work better on non-Intel CPU platforms (namely AMD). The idea (suspicion rather), is that apps developed with Intel C++ compilers give modern AMD CPUs a performance disadvantage. The following is how the developer describes the app works:
The compiler or library can make multiple versions of a piece of code, each optimized for a certain processor and instruction set, for example SSE2, SSE3, etc. The system includes a function that detects which type of CPU it is running on and chooses the optimal code path for that CPU. This is called a CPU dispatcher. However, the Intel CPU dispatcher does not only check which instruction set is supported by the CPU, it also checks the vendor ID string. If the vendor string says "GenuineIntel" then it uses the optimal code path. If the CPU is not from Intel then, in most cases, it will run the slowest possible version of the code, even if the CPU is fully compatible with a better version.
We don't have an AMD machine at hand to put our benches ourselves, and so we invite AMD CPU users from our community to post their results by using this "patcher" at their own risk.

DOWNLOAD: Intel Compiler Patcher

Microsoft to Release Nine Security Updates Next Week

With only a few more days until this month's Patch Tuesday Micrsosoft took to the web to announce that it plans to roll out no less than nine updates - two rated 'Critical' and seven rated 'Important'. The upcoming patches address vulnerabilities found in Windows, Office, Microsoft Server Software, SQL Server, .NET, and Internet Explorer.

The August updates are scheduled to be made available this Tuesday, August 12, at 10 AM PDT. For more info check out the advance notification published here.

Microsoft To Roll Out Six Security Updates Next Week

Microsoft Corp. has just announced its plans for this month's Patch Tuesday and they include the release of six updates - two rated 'Critical', three rated 'Important' and one rated 'Moderate'. The upcoming updates target vulnerabilities found in Windows operating systems, in Internet Explorer and in Microsoft Server Software.

The six patches will be made available this coming Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at about 10:00 am PDT. The bulletin advance notification for this month's releases can be found here.

Microsoft To Roll Out Seven Security Updates Next Week

The first Patch Tuesday of Summer '14 is coming up and it will see Microsoft release seven updates - two bearing a 'Critical' rating and five rated 'Important'. The incoming patches target vulnerabilities found in Windows (Vista, 7, 8/8.1, Server 2003, Server 2008 and Server 2012), Internet Explorer (6 to 11), Office (2007, 2010) and Lync (2010, 2013).

Microsoft's software updates will be made available Tuesday, June 10th at about 10:00 AM PDT. The Advance Notification for this month's patches can be found here.

Microsoft Readies Eight Patches For Next Week

May's Patch Tuesday is coming up and Microsoft is ready for it with eight new updates, two of which are rated 'Critical' while the rest are rated 'Important'. The patches will address vulnerabilities found in Windows (Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, RT, Server 2003, Server 2008 and Server 2012), Office (2007, 2010, 2013), .NET Framework and Internet Explorer.

The eight patches are set to be released next Tuesday, May 13th, at about 10:00 AM PDT, For a bit more info check out the Advance Notification published here.

Four Microsoft Security Updates Coming Next Week

This month's Patch Tuesday (the last one for Windows XP and Office 2003) will see Microsoft roll out four fresh security updates, two rated Critical and two rated Important, targeting remote code execution vulnerabilities found in Windows, Office and Internet Explorer. One of the updates is set to resolve a Word bug that was made public last week (on March 24th) and is known to have been exploited in 'limited, targeted attacks directed at Microsoft Word 2010'.

The April patches will be made available next week on April 8th, at about 10:00 a.m. PDT. For a bit more info check out the Advance Notification published here.

Microsoft Readies Five Patches for Next Week

This coming Tuesday Redmond-based Microsoft Corp. is planning to make available five fresh security updates - two with a 'Critical' rating and three tagged 'Important'. The incoming parches are set to address bugs found in Windows, Internet Explorer and Silverlight.

One of the Critical updates will fix an Internet Explorer issue that has already been acknowledged and was exploited in a 'limited number of attacks'. Additional information about Tuesday's releases can be found in the Security Bulletin Advance Notification published here.

Microsoft Releasing 11 Patches Next Week

The last Patch Tuesday of 2013 is closing in fast and, as revealed today, it will see Microsoft deliver no less than eleven updates - five rated 'Critical' and six rated 'Important'. The upcoming patches target vulnerabilities found in Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, SharePoint Server, Exchange, Lync, and Developer Tools. One of the critical updates addresses the Microsoft Graphics Component bug acknowledged last month.

The December 2013 MS patches will be rolled out on December 10, at about 10:00 a.m. PST. For a bit more info check out the Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification available here.

Microsoft Releasing Eight Patches Next Week

November's Patch Tuesday is coming up and it will see Microsoft deliver eight fresh software updates - three rated 'Critical' and five rated 'Important'. These patches will address vulnerabilities found in Windows, Office and Internet Explorer. The updates are set to be released this Tuesday, November 12, at about 10:00 a.m. PST.

For a bit more info on the patches check out the Advance Notification found here.

Microsoft to Deliver 14 Patches Next Week

With this month's Patch Tuesday approaching fast, Microsoft has provided an advanced notification to let the world know what to expect. According to that notification, the Redmond-based company will roll out 14 updates - four rated 'Critical' and ten rated 'Important' - to tackle vulnerabilities found in Windows, Office and Internet Explorer.

The 14 patches are set for release this Tuesday, September 10. For a bit more info check out the security bulletin found here.

Microsoft Readies Seven Patches for Next Week

This coming Tuesday, on the first day of CES 2013, Microsoft it set to make available a new batch of bug-busting updates. The Redmond-based company will be rolling out seven patches - two rated 'Critical' and five 'Important' - that will address a total of 12 vulnerabilities. These updates target issues found in Windows, Office, .NET Framework, Developer Tools and Server software.

For a bit more info on the upcoming patches see the Advance Notification published here.

Microsoft Readies Seven Patches for Next Week

This month's Patch Tuesday will see Microsoft roll out seven fresh updates - five rated 'Critical' and two 'Important' - which are set to address 11 vulnerabilities. These upcoming patches target bugs found in Office suites (2003, 2007 and 2010) and Office Web Apps, in Microsoft Exchange Server, and in Windows operating systems (Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, RT, Server 2003, Server 2008 and Server 2012).

A bit more info about the updates can be found in the advanced notification published here.

NVIDIA Releases PCI-Express Gen 3.0 Enabling Patch for Sandy Bridge-E HEDT Platform

Although pre-launch drivers of the GeForce GTX 680 let the GPU run in PCI-Express Gen 3.0 mode on Intel's Sandy Bridge-E HEDT (X79) platforms, the release drivers limited the GPU to PCI-Express Gen 2.0 on the platform. The issue carried on with GeForce GTX 670, and other graphics cards with "Kepler" family of GPUs. NVIDIA cited reasons such as the platform not being PCI-Expres Gen 3.0 "certified" although it supports the 8 GT/s mode. The company assured users that it was working on getting its hardware to work on the Sandy Bridge-E HEDT platform in Gen 3.0 mode, and until it's absolutely certain about reliability, it is forcing PCI-Express Gen 2.0 mode.

NVIDIA released a patch that enables PCI-Express Gen 3.0 mode on Intel Sandy Bridge-E HEDT (X79) platforms, which lets graphics cards based on GeForce Kepler GPUs, such as GeForce GTX 680, GTX 670, etc., take advantage of 8 GT/s per lane system interface bandwidth. The mode could come particularly handy for graphics cards that are installed on electrical PCI-Express 3.0 x8 slots, as they could end up with bandwidth comparable to that of PCI-Express 2.0 x16. The patch should be installed along with the latest stable drivers. To enable the patch, run the executable and reboot the system. To undo the patch later, run the same executable with "-revert" argument in Command Prompt. Use only if stability is not absolutely paramount, or if the hardware is not operating in a mission-critical environment.

DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce Kepler PCIe 3.0 mode-enabling patch for Sandy Bridge-E systems

Microsoft to Release 7 Patches Next Week

Microsoft has today announced its plans for this month's security bulletin release and they include seven fresh updates (three rated 'Critical' and four 'Important') which are set to resolve no less than 23 vulnerabilities which could lead to remote code execution and information disclosure.

The seven patches will be releases this coming Tuesday, May 8th, at 10 a.m. PDT (5 p.m. GMT).

Microsoft to Deliver Six Patches Next Week

Microsoft has today announced that next week, on this month's 'Patch Tuesday' it will be releasing 6 security bulletins - four rated 'Critical' and two 'Important' - that will tackle 11 vulnerabilities. The issues set to be resolved affect Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, Forefront UAG, and .NET Framework, and could lead to remote code execution and information disclosure.

The six patches are scheduled to go live on April 10 at 10 a.m. PDT (5 p.m. GMT). As always, Microsoft recommends that users update as quickly as possible.
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