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All posts for the month April, 2018

All you know what happened with Intel security last months and I’ll be short with this post.

Thanks to Win-Raid Forum I obtained new CPU microcodes (unofficially released yet on Intel website, maybe not fully tested, but signed as PRODUCT, so they should be reliable) and new ME Firmware (with updater!) and made a new release of the R1170Y8 BIOS for VPCEB4C5E.

InSpectre Intel SA-00086

NB: To make sure protection works Windows MUST be updated to the latest availables security patches on Windows Update!
Of course if newer CPU microcodes and ME firmwares will be released I’ll update this post ASAP.

IMPORTANT: Before flash, check which BIOS version you have. To check this: shutdown your laptop, power it on and press immediately and repeatedly “F2” button on keyboard, you’ll enter in the BIOS menu. Read “BIOS Version” and check if it’s “R1170Y8”. If your BIOS IS NOT named as these DON’T GO FORWARD! DO NOT FLASH ANYTHING!!!
To prevent any problem close all programs, and also disable the antivirus. Some programs can interfere with the BIOS flash and in result you can BRICK your machine!
Note: You’ll hear the fan spinning to the maximum speed and in some operation (read or write) your mouse and keyboard will be temporarily disabled, this is normal.
Open AfuWin (select 32 or 64bit, depends on your OS), and first make a backup of your current ROM by clicking on the “Save” button. Write a name for your BIOS (eg. my_bios_ok.rom), if you want, and save in a known location to easily retrieve it if you need to. Be sure to make multiple copies of this backup (on external drive like USB pendrives, etc).
WARNING: This updates are EXPERIMENTAL! This means that you COULD BRICK. Make sure you have a way to recover your original full BIOS (ME+BIOS) with an SPI dump!

EXPERIMENTAL UPDATE
R1170Y8 Modded BIOS v0.5
R0300Y8 Modded BIOS v0.4 (Untested)

– Removed all engineering CPU microcodes (they’re pretty useless unless you have an engineering sample CPU…)
– Updated existent CPU microcodes to latest available version taken from Win-Raid.

Use AfuWin to update with the same parameters as in the screenshot below:

AFUWin Parameters

EXTREMELY EXPERIMENTAL UPDATE!
ME Firmware Update v6.2.50.1062
– Update to 6.2.50.1062, use the batch “update”, as admin, to start the updater, if not works use this command as admin “FWUpdLcl.exe 6.2.50.1062_1.5MB_PRD_UPD.bin -generic” (without quotes).

ME Firmware Update

Since there was some discussion about performance drops after microcodes patch I made some benchmark before and after the patch, and here are the results:
As you can see the performance drop is really low, and maybe they also depends on some Windows updates too.
The hardware used is the current:
VAIO VPCEB4C5E: Modded R1170Y8 BIOS v0.4-v0.5 / Intel Core i5 580M / ATI Radeon HD5650 1GB / 2x4GB Crucial RAM 1333MHz CL10 @ 1066MHz CL7 / 256GB Crucial M4 SSD / 1920x1080p internal display.
Software used: Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB 2016 / PassMark Performance Test 9.0.1023 (Trial) / 3DMark Basic Edition
Benchmarks

WARNING, I’LL NOT ASSUME ANY RESPONSIBILITY ABOUT THIS ARTICLE AND FILES/SOFTWARE LINKED, PUBLICIZED AND MENTIONED HERE! BIOS MODDING IS REALLY DANGEROUS AND COULD BRICK OR DAMAGE YOUR MACHINE! BE SURE TO KNOW WHAT ARE YOU DOING AND POSSIBLY HAVE AN SPI DUMP OF YOUR FULL BIOS!!!