Intel's Haswell processors hit by TSX bug

Intel has quietly started to disable TSX instructions in Haswell and early Broadwell processors, something the company candidly revealed to a group of US-based technology journalists during a meeting last week.

The set of Transactional Synchronisation Extensions allows developers to decide how the CPU resources are allocated to multi-threaded applications, and it seems that the errata was unearthed by a third party and subsequently confirmed by Intel.

But rather than recall the parts, Intel decide to disable the TSX instructions via a microcode delivered straight to the manufacturer's motherboard.

TechReport suggests that software developers that work with TSX instructions will be left with two choices: either not updating their systems and risk potential TSX-related issues or go ahead with the firmware and look for alternatives.

End-users are unlikely to be directly affected by the issue given that Broadwell and Haswell products ship mostly in consumer products and TSX-based applications are found mostly in businesses and enterprises.

Intel told TechReport that the launch of the Haswell-EP processor range won't be delayed and that by the time, the Haswell-EX appears on the market, the TSX erratum will have been solved.

Processors are so complex that it is almost impossible - and financially not viable - to keep the silicon die error free. Any given processor has dozens - if not hundreds - of those errors that have variable impact on performance and stability.

Via TechReport