Intel has released a BIOS patch for Windows machines running Core 2 and Xeon 3000/5000 chips that addresses potential unpredictable system behavior.
The update is recommended for users running an Intel Core2 Duo E4000 and E6000, Intel Core2 Quad Q6600, Intel Core2 Extreme X6800 and QX6700, Dual-COre Intel Xeon 5100 and Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5300.
HP lists the "microcode reliability update" as a critical fix that can "leave a workstation in an unstable condition, which could potentially result in system lockups or failures, or data corruption or loss." HP reports the issue was found in a synthetic test environment during quality control testing.
Symptoms include mouse and keyboard failure, Windows Blue Screen of Death, and Linux generating a kernel panic.
While news of the patch has circulated suggesting catastrophic importance, Intel spokesman Nick Knupffer said the probability of encountering an issue is low, and has not been reported in any commercial situations or real-world environments.
"I'll put it to you this way," Knupffer said. "I've got a core chip at home and I haven't updated."
Large problem or no, Intel and its OEMs recommend users download the patch as a precaution. Users can download the BIOS update from Microsoft's support site or from Intel OEM vendors.
Specification updates for the affected processors are available at http://developer.intel.com. ®