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HOW TO How To: Find a

HOW TO How To: Find a Spectre fix for your motherboard Such a crucial patch should be easier to find, writes BRAD CHACOS Operating system patches alone can protect against the nasty Meltdown flaw affecting Intel processors, but fixing Spectre – Meltdown’s nasty sibling, which affects all CPUs – requires firmware updates for your hardware. Those firmware fixes are finally starting to appear after Intel’s first round of Spectre patches were yanked for causing system instability and potential data loss. Stable patches for 98 TECH ADVISOR • MAY 2018

HOW TO 6th-gen Intel Skylake CPUs are now available, and both Intel and AMD are working on CPU microcode updates for other chips. Installing Spectre fixes aren’t so easy, though, especially if you’re using a computer you’ve built yourself, or one from a boutique PC builder that uses off-the-shelf parts. You can’t download CPU firmware patches directly from Intel or AMD; instead, you need to download them from your motherboard’s provider, such as Asus, Gigabyte, or ASRock. You’ll need to know your motherboard’s model number to find the correct firmware for your device, too, and Windows doesn’t make that easy to find. It’s a mess – but we can help you find and install Spectre CPU firmware fixes for your DIY PC. Find a motherboard’s Spectre firmware fix First things first: before you can download your DIY PC’s firmware update, you need to know what motherboard you’re using. If you don’t know that information off-hand (or don’t have your motherboard’s packaging stashed away somewhere) then download HWInfo (, free software beloved by DIY enthusiasts for revealing nitty-gritty aspects of your computer’s hardware. After installing and running HWInfo, close the system summary window that provides an overview of your key system specs. In the main HWInfo interface, click Motherboard in the left-hand navigation pane. Details about the hardware then appear in the main pane. You’re looking for the ‘Computer brand name’ entry, which lists your motherboard’s model. MAY 2018 • TECH ADVISOR 99

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