While Intel has been the overwhelming focus during the fallout surrounding the Meltdown and Spectre processor exploits revealed last week, AMD has managed to, for the most part, fly below the radar. That's largely because, as the chipmaker explained an initial statement, there is a "near zero risk" to its processors. Still, AMD is impacted to some extent by the two exploits under the Spectre banner, and the company has now posted an update to its website detailing its approach to mitigating each variant.
All told, AMD is approaching the problem with a mix of OS patches and microcode updates. In the post, Mark Papermaster, AMD's Chief Technology Officer, explains that Spectre variant 1 (Bounds Check Bypass or Spectre) applies to AMD processors, but it can be mitigated with an OS patch.
Spectre variant 2 (Branch Target Injection or Spectre), on the other hand, will require a combination of OS patches and microcode updates to address. That said, Papermaster cautions that variant 2 is difficult to exploit due to AMD's processor architecture.
Papermaster maintains that AMD processors are not vulnerable to the exploit variant, dubbed Meltdown. And if you have an AMD Radeon GPU, there's also no need to worry. "AMD Radeon GPU architectures do not use speculative execution and thus are not susceptible to these threats," Papermaster explains.
This comes after Intel released a progress report of its own, giving an early look at the potential performance impacts patches will have on its CPUs. Intel expects to have "at least 90 percent of Intel CPUs introduced in the past five years" patched by January 15.
As for AMD, Papermaster says the company will provide further updates on its progress "as needed."
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