AMD unexpectedly releases microcode updates for all Zen family processors. The actual content is unknown.
The entire Ryzen family receives microcode updates.
Microcode updates allow CPU manufacturers to change the way their processors work through BIOS updates to respond to security issues or bugs. For example, the effects of the Specter or Meltdown vulnerabilities could be significantly mitigated. Such updates are not uncommon. However, manufacturer AMD has now unexpectedly released corresponding microcode updates for its processors with Zen, Zen+, Zen 2 and Zen 3. Since there is no changelog, one can only speculate about the content of the updates at the moment.
Even old CPUs get an update
Corresponding updates are usually only published for the current CPU families. AMD also has an eye on the chips that have been available for a long time. The processors of the Zen, Zen+ and Zen2 families were last provided with new microcode updates in December 2019.
Relatively big changes
What exactly AMD is reacting to with the updates remains unclear. However, it is interesting that the updates are relatively large. For example, the microcode of the 17h family (Zen, Zen+, Zen2) grows from 6,476 bytes to 9,700 bytes. The size for the 19h family (Zen3), on the other hand, remains the same.
It can be assumed that AMD has combined minor improvements into one update with the update. Security leaks could also be a reason why AMD itself wants to provide its old CPUs with the appropriate updates. Microcode updates can be installed either directly via the BIOS or as part of a Windows update. If both methods are selected, only the most recent version is taken into account.
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