Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Home Tech AMD Zen 2 Architecture Includes Specter V4 Hardware Protection

AMD Zen 2 Architecture Includes Specter V4 Hardware Protection

In May of this year, Microsoft and Google unveiled information about the fourth vulnerability class Meltdown-Specter – SBB (speculative store bypass, CVE-2018-3639 or Specter V4). Following this, AMD recognized the exposure of its chips to this type of attack and recommended installing patches at the operating system level.

Now, in the technical description of its new chips (the flagship 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X was introduced during E3 2019) AMD reported that the Specen V4 hardware protection was implemented in the Zen 2 microarchitecture (however, some fixes on the OS damage are still required). The microarchitectures of the current 14nm generation Zen and Zen + use patches exclusively at the OS level. Also, Zen 2 no longer requires protection from some Specter variants at the microcode level, having received hardware protection.

As a rule, hardware patches have less impact on performance than software patches at the OS or microcode level of the motherboard. In addition, just like Zen, the new Zen 2 microarchitecture, unlike the Intel CPU, is inherently immune to a variety of speculative channels like Meltdown, Foreshadow, Specter V3a, Lazy FPU, Spoiler and the recently discovered MDS vulnerability.

For comparison: the 9th generation Intel Core processors of Coffee Lake Refresh still require software patches or installation of a special microcode to combat Specter V4, Specter V3a, MDS and RIDL.

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