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What is microcode for? Do you use it?
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ChojinDSL
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:36 pm    Post subject: What is microcode for? Do you use it? Reply with quote

I just recently came across a gentoo related website with some tips and tricks regarding gentoo and there was some mention of microcode. I researched a bit more. Basically its like a firmware for the cpu or something like that. But I was wondering if there was any specific reason to use or not to use it.

I have a Intel Core 2 Quad Q660 Quad Core CPU. Would I benefit from having an updated microcode? Ist ist just for fixing bugs or does it improve speed? Does everyone use it and is simply quiet about it, or is it a rarely needed feature?
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Nerevar
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A long time ago I updated a CD-ROM drives microcode to fix a bug with reading a certain type of media. You can look at it like a BIOS update. It can add support for new features or fix bugs. The big downside is that typically if anything goes wrong during the update, you've just lost that device.
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timeBandit
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the most part, CPU microcode updates allow the manufacturer to correct esoteric (or even egregious) bugs without the expense of a recall. See this post for a good explanation with links to more resources and read the rest of the thread for Gentoo-specific information.

DarrenSmith wrote:
The big downside is that typically if anything goes wrong during the update, you've just lost that device.
There's no risk of this with an Intel CPU microcode update. The update cannot be written back to the CPU ROM, it is stored in volatile memory and must be re-applied at every boot.

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