Intel Cascade Lake Processors To Get Hardware Protections Against Spectre

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Intel has announced it is releasing the first series of Xeon processors under the name cascade lake in the second half of this year. The new processors will be hardware protected against the second variant of the Spectre vulnerability, or at least better protected.

Cascade Lake will be a 14nm refresh of Skylake-E/X. In addition to that, Core processors of the 8th generation that will be released in the second half of 2018 will be protected against Spectre variant 2 and Meltdown. precisely which processors that entail is not explained. For the first variant of Spectre, protection remains to be a software-based solution, for the time being. Intel did not publish any details on the hardware protection. 

Intel - While Variant 1 will continue to be addressed via software mitigations, we are making changes to our hardware design to further address the other two. We have redesigned parts of the processor to introduce new levels of protection through partitioning that will protect against both Variants 2 and 3. Think of this partitioning as additional “protective walls” between applications and user privilege levels to create an obstacle for bad actors. These changes will begin with our next-generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors (code-named Cascade Lake) as well as 8th Generation Intel® Core™ processors expected to ship in the second half of 2018. As we bring these new products to market, ensuring that they deliver the performance improvements people expect from us is critical. Our goal is to offer not only the best performance, but also the best secure performance.

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