AMD is in the news again. With Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws in the scene now, it is quite clear that “there is a near zero risk to AMD processors”. However, this zero risk doesn’t mean zero impact. To quote Mark Papermaster, AMD’s chief technology officer, “We have defined additional steps through a combination of processor microcode updates and OS patches that we will make available to AMD customers and partners to further mitigate the threat”.
Now, AMD is making firmware updates available for Ryzen and EPYC owners. With this, the company is planning to update older processors “over the coming weeks.” Like Intel, these firmware updates would be also provided to PC makers, and it would be up to suppliers to ensure that the customers are being able to receive these. AMD is not confirming whether there would be any performance impacts from applying these firmware updates, nor whether servers using EPYC processors would be greatly impacted or not.
AMD has managed to stay out of focus regarding this Meltdown and Spectre, simply because the company’s processors aren’t vulnerable to Meltdown itself. So, with this, it is becoming increasingly clear that Spectre variant 2 is pushing vendors to ready firmware updates, though. Intel aims at covering 90 percent of its processors in the last five years by January 15th, and now AMD is issuing its own firmware updates. In such a situation, users are still waiting to hear from Apple whether the company needs to issue its own firmware updates for Macs and iOS devices. As for Android situation, it could be even more complex due to the wide range of handset makers and operating system versions.
Here, AMD has also confessed that its Radeon GPU architecture is not impacted by Meltdown or Spectre, simply because those GPUs “do not use speculative execution and thus are not susceptible to these threats.” AMD has also regarded that it plans to issue further statements as it continues to develop security updates for its processors.