Intel's Haswell processors hit by TSX bug

Intel Pentium Pro and Intel Xeon
Intel Pentium Pro and Intel Xeon

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

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.