A non-vulnerable CPU ?

a brown shield on a white wall

Following yesterday's blog post, I was wondering if I could find a CPU that would have a BIOS old enough so it's microcode would not be patched agains any vulnerability.

Enter the Intel Atom 330

I decided to bring out of retirement my good old Shuttle X27D, a 2008 computer running the low-power Intel Atom 330 processor, with only 2G of RAM.

The Intel Atom 330 is wonderful CPU : with two cores and four threads, running at 1.6Ghz, it is a lightweight CPU. But it is for lightweight usage. Forget about virtualization, this processor and it's maximum supported memory cannot handle that kind of task : the virtualization instructions are nowhere to be found, and you are limited to 2G of RAM.

More resilient than modern processors ?

So I gave it go. Installed Fedora 37 (server edition), and ran the check script mentionned in my previous post. It gives for each CVE a status of OK or KO. And everything is OK. Weird. Almost each time, the CPU is not vulnerable. But each time, there a little added sentence :

(your CPU vendor reported your CPU model as not affected)

My take on this is that the Intel Atom 330 is so old it does not even features the vulnerable instructions. I think I'll still try to benchmark it, it may be funny.

Even /proc/cpuinfo does not display anything in the "bugs" section !

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Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash.