The biggest sales problem CPU manufacturers have had over the past 20 years is that their products have been too good to throw away, often performing adequately for many years: Some of our decade-only notebooks are still chugging along with nothing more than a replacement battery and memory upgrade. Adequacy of the previous thing is the greatest enemy of the “new thing”. But security bugs can change all that.
Intel’s latest BIOS Code Advisory lists the still-popular 7th-gen Core series among things that require a BIOS update:
- Intel® Xeon® Processor E Family
- Intel® Xeon® Processor E3 v6 Family
- Intel® Xeon® Processor W Family
- 3rd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors
- 11th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors
- 10th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors
- 7th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors
- Intel® Core™ X-series Processors
- Intel® Celeron® Processor N Series
- Intel® Pentium® Silver Processor Series
As popular as these products may still be, many of them are mounted to motherboards that no longer receive firmware updates. The choice of whether to upgrade firmware or hardware will often depend on how well a motherboard manufacturer still supports its out-of-warranty products.
And now that we’ve thrown out the hair-raising parts, we’d like to note that this bug, which allows a privileged user to raise their level of access, requires local access. So this is mostly a problem for system administrators. We’ll excuse you for not making that distinction when attempting to justify your new Alder Lake build to family members.