You don’t have to wait until the fall to have an idea of what AMD’s Ryzen 7000 desktop CPUs will be like — the company has unintentionally provided clues of its own. Videocardz and Gizmodo note AMD’s resource page contained a since-removed list of early Ryzen 7000 processor models. The focus is primarily on higher-end chips, including two Ryzen 9 variants (the 7900X and 7950X), one Ryzen 7 (the 7700X) and a Ryzen 5 model (the 7600X). There’s no Ryzen 3 chips, although that last part isn’t shocking when AMD has historically focused on enthusiast parts in the early stages of CPU rollouts.
The list didn’t include technical details. In its Computex demo, however, AMD showed a 16-core CPU that reached a 5.5GHz clock speed. That might represent the Ryzen 9 7950X. All of the 7000 series will be based on a new Zen 4 architecture that delivers twice the Level 2 cache per core, maximum boost speeds above 5GHz, AI acceleration and support for technologies like DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0. You’ll need an AM5-compatible motherboard to make the leap, but AMD is promising a 15 percent or higher increase in single-threaded performance.
It’s still unclear when the Ryzen 7000 desktop line will ship, or how much it will cost. You’ll also have to wait longer if you’re hoping for high-end laptop CPUs, as AMD won’t deliver Dragon Range until 2023. Even so, the teaser gives you an idea of what to expect when Zen 4 finally reaches stores. AMD isn’t reinventing its product strategy, so you can plan your PC upgrade accordingly.
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An upcoming AMD Ryzen 7000 processor has just appeared in an early benchmark on Basemark. It’s most likely an engineering sample of the mid-range Ryzen 5 7600X, paired with a new Gigabyte X670E Aorus Master motherboard.
Although it’s still early days, the CPU did a great job in the benchmark, managing to outperform the current Zen 3 flagship — the Ryzen 9 5950X.
First spotted by frequent leaker TUM_APISAK on Twitter, the alleged Ryzen 5 7600X appears with six cores and 12 threads. The engineering sample, identified as “100-000000593-20_Y,” sports an impressive base clock speed of 4.4GHz. This means that the finished product will likely be able to break past the 5GHz barrier in boost mode, which is impressive for a middle-of-the-line CPU.
The processor sports an increase in the combined cache size compared to its predecessor, the Ryzen 5 5600X. The new Zen 4 CPU will have 32MB of L3 cache and 6MB of L2 cache, adding up to a total of 38MB. While the current-gen Ryzen 5 5600X also has 32MB of L3 cache, it has a smaller L2 cache. There’s also a difference in clock speeds between the two — the Ryzen 5 5600X has a base clock of 3.7GHz versus the 4.4GHz seen on this engineering sample.
This very well might be our first look at the AMD Ryzen 7 7600X. The benchmark results found on Basemark focus on the performance of the Nvidia RTX A4000 GPU that the processor was paired with. However, @Harukaze5719 on Twitter provided some performance metrics for the CPU, and the numbers are certainly promising.
The overall benchmark score indicates that the mid-range Zen 4 sample beats the high-end Ryzen 9 5950X by 9.5%, but in one of the tests, it wins by a whopping 11.13%. Of course, these benchmark results can’t quite be taken at face value — we’ll only know the real performance of Zen 4 when more of these tests begin to leak out closer to its release. In any case, this is certainly a good start.
As for the launch date for the new generation of CPUs, there still hasn’t been an official confirmation from AMD — but numerous sources point to September. AMD has a bit of a problem on its hands, all in the form of an oversupply of Zen 3 processors. While these are some of the best AMD CPUs to date, the demand for PC hardware has plummeted recently, leaving AMD with a large stock that no one seems to be buying.
There have been whispers that this situation might make AMD delay the launch of Zen 4 in order to give Zen 3 a chance at one last hurrah before most people move on to the next-gen CPUs. However, with Intel Raptor Lake breathing down its neck, AMD is unlikely to wait much longer to launch Ryzen 7000 — so undoubtedly, we will soon see more benchmarks of the upcoming CPUs.
The next few months are undoubtedly going to be an exciting time in the PC hardware arena. With three of the market’s biggest brands — Intel, AMD, and Nvidia — all set to release the next generations of graphics cards and processors, we’re about to witness a real battle of the titans.
The rumor mill has already been buzzing with speculation about the upcoming AMD Ryzen 7000, AMD RDNA 3, Intel Raptor Lake, and Nvidia RTX 40-series. Now, new leaks give us a bit of a clue as to the release dates and some of the prices of these products.
Raphael announce:8 launch:9 AD102 announce:9 launch:10 Raptor lake announce:9(official) launch:10
With little information to go by from the manufacturers themselves, the sources of today’s rumors are the usual suspects — well-known Twitter leakers Greymon55 and Kepler_L2. Greymon55 often speaks up about the release dates and specifications of upcoming hardware, and this time, the Twitter tipster had a lot to share, all in their typical, very concise manner shown above.
According to the rumor, next-gen AMD Ryzen 7000 “Raphael” processors will be announced in August and released in September. This is very much in line with various other predictions. Although recent leaks suggest that AMD might want to hold off on launching the next generation due to an oversupply of Zen 3 chips that still need to sell, even those pessimistic outlooks point to September as the release date for the Ryzen 7000 CPUs.
As we get closer to the launch, engineering samples and early benchmarks begin to crop up. Just today, a benchmark of the alleged AMD Ryzen 5 7600X leaked, showing surprisingly solid performance. The CPU managed to beat the flagship Ryzen 9 5950X by 11%. Depending on the pricing, the 7600X could turn out to be a real hit for the upcoming generation of CPUs.
Moving on to AMD’s greatest rival, Intel Raptor Lake is said to arrive shortly after, so our ranking of the best processors is bound to change very soon. Greymon55 speculates that Intel’s 13th-generation processors will be officially announced in September and then released in October. This may give AMD a considerable edge, but it does make sense for both manufacturers to avoid launching their products at the same time.
Greymon55 also had a bit to say about the next-gen graphics cards, namely the Nvidia “Ada Lovelace” RTX 4000 GPUs. Several sources have already predicted that the flagship AD102 GPU will be the first to arrive, meaning the high-end RTX 4090. The GPU is also said to be used inside a rumored RTX 4090 Ti and RTX 4080 Ti.
The leaker expects that we will see an official announcement of the AD102 GPU in September, followed by an October launch — which pretty much aligns with previous leaks. However, the mid-to-entry-level graphics cards may have to wait longer. Greymon55 added in another tweet that they expect to see AD103, AD104, and AD106 in 2023. Nvidia is allegedly only launching the RTX 4090 for the time being, and possibly the RTX 4090 Ti, “depending on AMD.”
AMD may be the first to launch new processors, but according to Greymon55, it’s Nvidia that will have the upper hand in terms of graphics cards. AMD’s upcoming RDNA 3 GPUs are said to be announced in October and then launched in November. Depending on the extent of the RDNA 3 release, AMD could beat Nvidia if it will be able to supply some more affordable graphics cards, assuming that Nvidia really does only release the RTX 4090 this year.
Greymon55’s juicy speculation is supplemented by Kepler_L2 who chimes in on the possible pricing of the upcoming graphics cards. According to the Twitter leaker, the mid-range GPUs from both manufacturers should be reasonably affordable. Kepler predicts a price of $400 or less for the AMD Radeon RX 7600 XT and $500 or less for the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070.
As always, treat this with a healthy dose of skepticism until the manufacturers themselves lift the veil of suspense and tell us what to expect. No matter the final outcome, the next few months are bound to be interesting with so much new hardware hitting the shelves.
According to a new report, Intel might be about to introduce a substantial pricing increase on the majority of its catalog. Unfortunately, this also includes consumer-level processors. The company cites an increase in production and material cost as the reason why it decided to up its prices.
For the customers, it all comes down to one thing — PC hardware and pre-built desktops and laptops might get a lot more expensive. The two key questions are: How much worse will the prices get, and how will Intel’s competitors respond to this decision?
The report comes from Nikkei Asia. According to the publication, Intel has already started informing its customers of the fact that it will raise the prices of the majority of its products. This change will affect microprocessors and peripheral chip devices, which boils down to consumer CPUs and enterprise-level products such as high-performance server chips. Intel also produces a wide range of other items, including various controllers and Wi-Fi chips.
It’s unclear as to how much higher the prices are going to be if this change comes into effect, and there’s no catch-all to refer to — the percentages will be different depending on the product. However, Nikkei Asia says that we can expect to see a fairly wide range, from single-digit bumps to as much as a 20% higher price.
Assuming that the price of some of Intel’s best processors will go up, this change will echo throughout more than just the PC hardware market. Intel’s processors are also found in all kinds of PCs, including pre-built desktops and laptops. Once the manufacturers of these devices are made to pay more to use an Intel CPU, they might have to, in turn, raise the prices of the end product. They might also turn their eyes to AMD Ryzen as a viable alternative.
Intel’s choice will likely ripple throughout the market. During the pandemic, the market was thriving in the manufacturer’s favor, although it was plagued by a chip shortage. There weren’t enough PCs and laptops to go around, but now, the situation has seemingly reversed. Nikkei Asia cites Acer chairman Jason Chen, who told reporters that the company no longer suffers from the chip shortage, saying: “Some of the chip suppliers’ CEOs even called me recently to buy more chips from them. The situation has changed.”
With inflation on a constant rise, the demand for electronics has been steadily dropping, which makes Intel’s move a risky one — but it’s not alone in its decision. TSMC has also allegedly told clients that it will be raising its prices by a single-digit percentage, beginning in 2023. Various other chipmakers and suppliers of chip materials are also cited as being about to increase their prices.
On the other end of the spectrum, Nvidia has seemingly finally chosen to cut down the MSRP of some of its best graphics cards, all due to an oversupply. There’s more than enough hardware and not enough people who want to buy it. It will certainly be interesting to see whether Intel’s main rival in the best CPU arena, AMD, will respond by raising its prices, or if it will stay around the same level and entice the customers who don’t want to pay Intel’s premium.
Nikkei Asia states that Intel itself had informed it about the upcoming changes, but until Intel itself confirms this, steer clear of treating this as a fact. While Intel might be planning to increase the prices on some — or all — of its products, we won’t know the true extent of it until everything is made official by the manufacturer. The next earnings call for Intel is set to take place on July 28, so it won’t be long before we hear directly from the source.
A new report shows that Nvidia, AMD, and Apple may all be trying to lower their chip orders from TSMC. This is a direct response to the lower demand for electronics we’ve been experiencing over the past few months (and the fall in GPU prices with crypto’s demise). Nvidia, in particular, is in a tough spot as it may not be able to reduce its orders.
If this proves to be true, it brings up a lot of things to consider. With AMD and Nvidia soon set to release the next generation of GPUs, will the lowered consumer interest result in a drop in prices, or will the potentially smaller supply simply mean there will be fewer next-gen graphics cards to buy?
The information comes from DigiTimes which cites its own anonymous industry sources. The report (translated by Twitter user RetiredEngineer) claims that AMD, Nvidia, and Apple, which are all TSMC clients, have tried to change their chip orders — but not all three have been successful.
Apple managed to cut down the initial shipment of iPhone 14 chips by around 10%. AMD, on the other hand, revised its orders for 7nm and 6nm wafers, reportedly lowering the amounts by around 20,000. This applies to shipments in the fourth quarter of 2022 and in the first quarter of 2023. However, AMD hasn’t changed its order for 5nm wafers intended for PCs and servers.
Nvidia seems to be in a sticky spot compared to the other two tech giants. It made prepayments to TSMC to secure their 5nm wafers for the upcoming RTX 4000-series of graphics cards. Now, facing a drastic drop in consumer demand, Nvidia tried to alter its order — but according to DigiTimes, TSMC wouldn’t budge. The companies came to an agreement where the first shipments will be delayed by one quarter, but Nvidia is now supposed to find replacement customers for TSMC’s vacated production capacity. A year ago, that would have been easy, but now, it might be nearly impossible.
After many long months of the GPU shortage, graphics card prices are now falling rapidly, and retailers and manufacturers alike are left with a surplus of GPUs that no one wants to buy. The second-hand market is flooded with used GPUs that did their time mining crypto and are no longer profitable to keep running due to the crash in the cryptocurrency market.
It’s not just graphics cards that have suddenly become far less sought after. According to a forecast by Gartner, worldwide PC shipments are on track to decline by 9.5% in 2022. The personal computer market is experiencing the steepest decline of all other device segments that Gartner analyzes, but mobile devices (tablets and phones) are also seeing a drop in shipments. Consumer PC demand is suffering bigger losses than business PC demand, amounting to 13.1% and 7.2% in 2022 respectively.
Will this affect the pricing of next-gen graphics cards?
Something many aspiring PC builders are wondering about is whether the current market situation will affect the pricing of Nvidia’s RTX 4000 graphics cards. Given that the company is currently experiencing a drop in demand and seems to predict that this downward trend is going to continue, it makes sense that it might also change the pricing of next-gen GPUs.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to say with any certainty what Nvidia might do in this situation. A year ago, we were in the midst of a market where the demand was much higher than the supply. That is no longer the case, and unless the crypto market miraculously recovers, we won’t be coming back to that for quite a while. With the world economy in a shaky place and inflation on the rise, lowering the pricing might be the only thing that would kickstart GPU sales again.
One thing is for certain — we’re finally in a buyer’s market. Whether you buy a new GPU or hold off for a little while to see the next generation hit the shelves, it’s refreshing to no longer see graphics cards hitting 300% of MSRP and selling out in seconds.
According to a report by Joseph Moore of Morgan Stanley, AMD is expected to see a large drop in revenue this year in its PC segment. Team Red’s revenue is expected to decline by 26% in 2022.
This highlights just how important it is for AMD to get its next-generation Ryzen 7000 processors out there soon, and even more so, how crucial it is for Zen 4 to arrive before Intel Raptor Lake.
It seems that the presence of Intel Alder Lake and its domination of the processor market has finally caught up to AMD in full. According to an analysis published by Morgan Stanley (and shared by Seeking Alpha), AMD’s PC market revenue is set to take a huge hit this year, and finding the culprit is not difficult. While Intel managed to release Alder Lake in 2021 to great success, with several CPUs quickly climbing the ranks of the best processors of the year, AMD did not follow that with a new generation of CPUs of its own.
Intel Alder Lake brought with it a host of improvements, including a hybrid architecture made up of performance and efficiency cores. It also adds DDR5 RAM and PCIe Gen 5.0 support, both of which AMD still doesn’t offer to this day. More importantly, it’s the latest generation of processors, so any people looking to buy or build a high-end gaming PC will likely turn their heads toward Intel, and this has been the case for all too many months.
The heated competition created by Intel was left unattended by AMD for quite a while. This year, AMD got to strike back by releasing a true gaming beast, the 3D V-Cache-based Ryzen 7 5800X3D. It also released some new Ryzen 5000 processors earlier in 2022, including the beefy Ryzen 9 5950X. However, as we found in our comparison, the Ryzen 9 5950X still buckles underneath the power of the Intel Core i9-12900K, Intel’s flagship for this generation. All of that adds up to a CPU market that’s largely dominated by Intel for the time being.
In a way, this should come as no surprise — the PC market as a whole is on a downward trend. Another report, which also surfaced today, says that Nvidia, AMD, and Apple all tried to lower their upcoming TSMC shipments of chips due to a drop in demand. This news comes alongside a different market forecast that predicts an up to 13% drop in consumer PC shipments globally. Motherboard manufacturers are also expecting this to be a pretty bad year, with Asus expecting to see a 24% drop in sales, and Gigabyte — 27%, according to DigiTimes.
While this report sounds bleak for AMD, all of this can still even out, and in all likelihood, AMD will bounce back soon enough. Morgan Stanley expects AMD to see a decline of just 2% in 2022 followed by a period of stability after that. However, the drop in revenue in 2022 should certainly prompt AMD to release the next-gen Zen 4 processors sooner rather than later.
A recent report suggests that AMD may be purposefully delaying the launch of Ryzen 7000 just to give Ryzen 5000 a little bit more time to shine. With a surplus of current-gen processors, the company is allegedly trying to get some of those units sold before most users move on to the next generation of CPUs. Unfortunately, with Intel Raptor Lake looming ever closer, AMD might be better off just moving on to Zen 4 and snatching up the customers who are still undecided. We’ve got a real CPU battle coming right up, and the timing is definitely going to play a part.
They have a more specific methodology — infiltrate a specific corporate network in order to extract any data it can obtain, after which a ransom demand is made if the victim doesn’t want it leaked or sold to others.
By providing updates over the past week via Telegram, RansomHouse stated it would soon make available for purchase tranches of data for a business that has three letters in its name, with the first letter being A.
As expected, on Monday, AMD was added to its website. It claims to be in possession of 450GB of data, but the exact details pertaining to what that contains remain unconfirmed.
Tom’s Hardware highlights how Restore Privacy reviewed the data published by the group — it found that it seemingly includes “network files, system information, as well as AMD passwords.” The website points out a caveat, though — whether the source of information has actually been extracted from AMD or one of its subcontractors is another question entirely.
In any case, RansomHouse said that AMD relied on extremely straightforward passwords such as, well, “password,” which is one of the ways it managed to gain access to its networks.
The semiconductor and GPU company’s network was compromised on January 5, 2022, according to the group’s statement.
However, RansomHouse told Bleeping Computer that its “partners” breached and gained access to AMD’s network around a year ago. January 5, 2022, is when the hackers ultimately lost that access.
AMD was not contacted by the group as it prefers to sell the data due to the perceived high value. It says that among the 450GB of stolen data is research and financial information. Such data is currently being analyzed so they can calculate an exact monetary value.
“No, we haven’t reached out to AMD as our partners consider it to be a waste of time: it will be more worth it to sell the data rather than wait for AMD representatives to react with a lot of bureaucracy involved,” a RansomHouse representative told Bleeping Computer.
Although ransomware was reportedly not involved in the breach, a leaked CSV shows a list of over 70,000 devices that are seemingly connected to AMD’s internal network, in addition to a purported list of AMD corporate credentials. As well as ‘password’, other weak passwords that were reportedly used by AMD employees also included “P@ssw0rd,” “amd!23,” and “Welcome1.”
Nvidia, Microsoft, Facebook, and other large corporations were all infiltrated throughout 2022 by the hacking group LAPSUS$, who also claimed to have breached all these firms predominantly via weak passwords.
A new leak gives us more insight into the specifications of the upcoming AMD Dragon Range and AMD Phoenix CPUs. Both of these lineups are the next-generation Zen 4 processors made for laptops, although each will have its own niche.
With the specifications of Dragon Range and Phoenix now coming into play, it seems that AMD will be well-positioned to compete against its rivals, Intel and Nvidia, in future gaming laptops.
Red Gaming Tech (RGT) on YouTube talked about the capabilities and specifications of some of the Ryzen 7000 processors for the mobile sector. AMD Dragon Range and Phoenix will each power laptops for gamers, but while Dragon Range will focus on delivering the best possible CPU performance, Phoenix will be competitive thanks to its built-in RDNA 3 iGPU.
Let’s start with Dragon Range. According to Red Gaming Tech, AMD is approaching the lineup much the same way Intel did with Alder Lake-HX. This means that the manufacturer is downsizing its desktop Raphael CPUs to fit inside laptops without needing to compromise on the specifications too much. As a result, the top processor of the four leaked today will have the most cores of any AMD mobile CPU so far.
As per the rumor, the Ryzen 9 7980HX will come with 16 cores, followed by the Ryzen 9 7900HX with 12 cores. There’s also a Ryzen 7 entry, the Ryzen 7 7800HX with eight cores, as well as the Ryzen 5 7600HX with just six cores. Clock speeds will vary and may reach as high as 5GHz and above in boost mode while ranging between 3.6GHz to 4GHz+ at base frequencies.
AMD Dragon Range will be powerful in terms of CPU performance, but it will fall behind when it comes to the integrated graphics card. The idea here is that AMD wants to offer these CPUs in enthusiast gaming laptops, which will typically have one of the best GPUs installed anyway. As such, Dragon Range will only come with two RDNA 2 compute units, which won’t be enough to power any serious gaming. However, it doesn’t really need to — CPUs of this caliber are going to be paired with a discrete graphics card.
Moving on to AMD Phoenix (also known as Phoenix Point), the CPU clearly takes a much different approach. While it’s still a Zen 4 processor, the focus here has shifted to providing a good gaming experience even with thin and light laptops. Seeing as it was made to power lightweight notebooks, Phoenix will run on 35 to 45 watts, keeping power requirements low and battery life higher. This oftentimes translates to poor gaming performance — but AMD has an ace up its sleeve in the form of RDNA 3 graphics.
Compared to Dragon Range, Phoenix is said to serve up to six times more GPU cores, which means up to 12 compute units. As noted by RGT, this means up to 1536 shaders and an iGPU clock frequency of up to 3GHz. AMD may be hoping to rival the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 mobile with the top variant of Phoenix.
In this lineup, RGT also expects four different processors, the AMD Ryzen 9 7980HS, the Ryzen 9 7900HS, the Ryzen 7 7800HS, and, lastly, the Ryzen 5 7600HS. These processors would provide better graphics at the cost of significantly lowered core counts, ranging from eight to six cores.
If the rumors prove to be true, next-gen gaming laptops based on AMD CPUs and APUs will have a lot to offer. However, before they ever hit the market, we have the Ryzen 7000 for desktops and the Intel Raptor Lake launch to look forward to later this year.
The streak of good news for gamers in need of a new gaming PC continues as the prices of graphics cards keep on falling. The latest report about GPU pricing shows large drops for both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
This is the first time that some of the best graphics cards from the latest generations can be found not just at MSRP, but under it, marking a shift in the market that we haven’t seen in a really long time.
Most of us have gotten so used to the GPU shortage that news like this certainly feels like a dream come true — the graphics card prices continue falling. According to 3DCenter, which publishes regular reports on GPU pricing in Germany, both AMD and Nvidia GPUs are consistently dropping in price. This month, the report marks a first since the release of the latest AMD Radeon RX and Nvidia GeForce GPUs because the cards are near or even below their intended MSRP.
The latest analysis indicates that the average price of an AMD graphics card noted a drop of 8% below MSRP. Nvidia is still not quite there yet, but the prices have also dropped considerably. As it stands now, the average Nvidia GPU is around 2% more expensive than MSRP. However, there is a lot of variation across the board, and some of the more affordable GPUs are still seeing the worst price inflation while the high-end models are near MSRP.
Nvidia’s budget RTX 3060 and RTX 3060 Ti are now 11% and 17% more expensive than their intended prices. Interestingly enough, this doesn’t seem to translate to similar inflation for AMD, as the comparable GPUs from Team Red (RX 6600 and RX 6600 XT) are well below MSRP — 20% and 7%, respectively.
Looking at high-end graphics cards shows a slightly different story. Nvidia’s top GPU, the RTX 3090 Ti, is now 16% under MSRP, followed by the RTX 3090 at 8% below and RTX 3080 Ti at 13%. For AMD, the two top cards, the RX 6950 XT and the RX 6900 XT, are 4% and 16% below MSRP, respectively. However, the RX 6800 XT stays strong at 6% over MSRP. It’s worth noting that these cards were all cheaper to begin with, seeing as the RX 6950 XT has an MSRP of $1,099 compared to the $1,499 of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 and the $1,999 of the RTX 3090 Ti.
It’s not just graphics card prices that are improving — the same can be said about DDR5 and DDR4 DRAM. According to TrendForce, a Taiwanese research firm, the prices of DRAM should drop by up to 8% due to inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These factors contribute to a lowered demand, and as a result, a decline in pricing.
While 3DCenter only reports on the European market, the downward trend is indicative of a price drop that’s seen globally. Prices may vary between markets, and exchange rates also play a part, but in general, things are certainly improving — and what a massive improvement it has been.
The pricing for some of Nvidia’s best GPUs peaked at around 300% of MSRP in May of 2021. AMD graphics cards always kept the prices a little more conservative, but even then, the prices reached as high as 216% around April and May in 2021. After dropping from the very top, the pricing evened out slightly, with both manufacturers hovering around 150-180% of the MSRP for months on end. It’s only in the last few months that the prices started to normalize.
What contributed to such a large drop in pricing? After all, going from over 300% to MSRP is certainly a massive difference. There are a few factors that play into it. For one, the cryptocurrency market is currently in shambles, and that makes GPUs much less desirable for crypto mining. We’re also finally starting to see the results of various supply chain improvements both Nvidia and AMD have made over the past couple of years to combat the increased demand for graphics cards. Not too long ago, finding a GPU in stock used to be next to impossible, but now, you can reasonably find all kinds of GPUs for sale. A larger supply combined with a lower demand both add up to a considerable price drop.
Both AMD and Nvidia are soon set to release the next generations of graphics cards. With AMD’s RDNA 3 and Nvidia’s RTX 4000 set to release this year, we might continue to see the pricing of RDNA 2 and RTX 3000 drop.
Researchers just outlined a new vulnerability that affects processor chips — and it’s called Hertzbleed. If used to conduct a cybersecurity attack, this vulnerability can help the attacker steal secret cryptographic keys.
The scale of the vulnerability is somewhat staggering: According to the researchers, most Intel and AMD CPUs might be impacted. Should we be worried about Hertzbleed?
The new vulnerability was first discovered and described by a team of researchers from Intel as part of its internal investigations. Later on, independent researchers from UIUC, UW, and UT Austin also contacted Intel with similar findings. According to their findings, Hertzbleed might affect most CPUs. The two processor giants, Intel and AMD, have both acknowledged the vulnerability, with Intel confirming that it affects all of its CPUs.
Intel has issued a security advisory that provides guidance to cryptographic developers on how to strengthen their software and libraries against Hertzbleed. So far, AMD hasn’t released anything similar.
What exactly is Hertzbleed and what does it do?
Hertzbleed is a chip vulnerability that allows for side-channel attacks. These attacks can then be used to steal data from your computer. This is done through the tracking of the processor’s power and boost mechanisms and observing the power signature of a cryptographic workload, such as cryptographic keys. The term “cryptographic keys” refers to a piece of information, securely stored in a file, which can only be encoded and decoded through a cryptographic algorithm.
In short, Hertzbleed is capable of stealing secure data that normally remains encrypted. Through observing the power information generated by your CPU, the attacker can convert that information to timing data, which opens the door for them to steal crypto keys. What’s perhaps more worrying is that Hertzbleed doesn’t require physical access — it can be exploited remotely.
It’s quite likely that modern processors from other vendors are also exposed to this vulnerability, because as outlined by the researchers, Hertzbleed tracks the power algorithms behind the Dynamic Voltage Frequency Scaling (DVFS) technique. DVFS is used in most modern processors, and thus, other manufacturers such as ARM are likely affected. Although the research team notified them of Hertzbleed, they are yet to confirm whether their chips are exposed.
Putting all of the above together certainly paints a worrying picture, because Hertzbleed affects such a large number of users and so far, there is no quick fix to be safe from it. However, Intel is here to put your mind at ease on this account — it’s highly unlikely that you will be the victim of Hertzbleed, even though you are likely exposed to it.
According to Intel, it takes anywhere between several hours to several days to steal a cryptographic key. If someone would still want to try, they might not even be able to, because it requires advanced high-resolution power monitoring capabilities that are difficult to replicate outside of a lab environment. Most hackers wouldn’t bother with Hertzbleed when plenty of other vulnerabilities are discovered so frequently.
How to make sure Hertzbleed won’t affect you?
As mentioned above, you are probably secure even without doing anything in particular. If Hertzbleed gets exploited, it’s unlikely that regular users will be affected. However, if you want to play it extra safe, there are a couple of steps you can take — but they come at a severe performance price.
Intel has detailed a number of mitigation methods to be used against Hertzbleed. The company doesn’t seem to be planning to deploy any firmware updates, and the same can be said about AMD. As per Intel’s guidelines, two ways exist to be fully protected from Hertzbleed, and one of them is super easy to do — you just have to disable Turbo Boost on Intel processors and Precision Boost on AMD CPUs. In both cases, this will require a trip to the BIOS and disabling boost mode. Unfortunately, this is really bad for your processor’s performance.
The other methods listed by Intel will either only result in partial protection or are very difficult, if not impossible, for regular users to apply. If you don’t want to tweak the BIOS for this and sacrifice your CPU’s performance, you most likely don’t have to. However, keep your eyes open and stay sharp — cybersecurity attacks take place all the time, so it’s always good to be extra careful. If you’re tech-savvy, check out the full paper on Hertzbleed, first spotted by Tom’s Hardware.