Intel Disables TSX for More CPUs via Microcode Updates

Intel users will soon trade performance for security once again. Phoronix reported that recent microcode updates would disable Intel Transactional Synchronization Extension (TSX) by default on the company’s 6th, 7th, and 8th Gen processors. Disabling the feature is supposed to make those CPUs more secure, but it’s also expected to result in worse performance in tasks that benefited from using TSX.

Phoronix said these updates were prompted by a memory ordering issue in TSX. A whitepaper (PDF) suggests Intel has been aware of the issue since June 2018, and the company released microcode updates to address the flaw in October 2018. Still, it’s taken almost three years to release updates that disable TSX by default. Those updates were included with Intel Platform Update 2021.1 when it debuted on June 8.