Friday, September 19, 2014

Intel CPU list of bugs

Intel has a long history related to microprocessor bugs.

It started long time ago with the infamous Pentium FDiv bug. Intel quickly released Pentium MMX and said that this is the biggest invention in computing ever but the truth was that increase of performance brought by MMX o plain zero! Why? Because software was not designed to use the MMX feature. Even today only few programs are MMX optimized. But then why Intel released and advertised the Pentium MMX? To convince customers that purchased the flawed processor to upgrade to a less flawed processor.
The problem cost Intel close to 0.5 billion to put right, largely through replacing affected silicon, although it paid a higher price via lost credibility among its user base.

Interesting fact: ever wondered why Intel stopped using the logic numeration (286, 386, 486, etc) and used Pentium instead of 586? Because Intel wanted to put a trademark on their CPU to kill the competition. But they ware not allowed to trademark a name made up of numbers only (reference).

Pentium F00F bug

Intel SandyBridge bug - A serious bug that affected any mainboard with SandyBridge chipset and some i5 and i7 processors purchased after 9 January 2011. This bug cost Intel $700 million to fix this problem.

Security vulnerability in all x86-64 Intel processors

Intel TSX bug - This is a recent discovered bug