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Intel publishes findings on alleged Spectre / Meltdown patch performance hit

By Polycount · 11 replies
Jan 11, 2018
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  1. Meltdown and Spectre, two major CPU hardware flaws, have taken the Internet by storm lately. As we reported when the flaws were first disclosed, Meltdown and Spectre could allow hackers to gain access to sensitive personal information throughout your system - business documents, passwords stored in password managers and more.

    If that wasn't bad enough, the patches designed to address these issues were also having a negative impact on system performance. Though this is a trade-off many seem willing to make for the sake of increased security, it was still understandably concerning to many users.

    To get to the bottom of the issue, we ran our own benchmarks to test gaming performance and storage device speeds. While our findings are inconclusive without further confirmation from other outlets, the patches don't seem to have had any major discernible impact on our test system's gaming performance (SSD performance is another story).

    That said, Intel doesn't seem interested in leaving the benchmarking up to third-parties. Today, the company published a blog sharing their own findings which seem to suggest that no one system should see more than a 10 percent overall impact on performance.

    Customers who use heavier applications on a regular basis will see their performance impacted to a greater degree than those who stick to lighter applications and general browsing, Intel says.

    "Across a variety of workloads, including office productivity and media creation as represented in the SYSMark2014SE benchmark, the expected impact is less than 6 percent. In certain cases, some users may see a more noticeable impact. For instance, users who use web applications that involve complex JavaScript operations may see a somewhat higher impact (up to 10 percent based on our initial measurements). Workloads that are graphics-intensive like gaming or compute-intensive like financial analysis see minimal impact."

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2018
  2. NicktheWVAHick

    NicktheWVAHick TS Addict Posts: 136   +107

    And all of these flaws are supposed to concern me more than the Equifax breach which already compromised all of my personal information? There’s nothing left for the hackers to steal so who cares?
    Reehahs likes this.
  3. wiak

    wiak TS Enthusiast Posts: 51   +6

    O rly? did notice they only tested windows and only 3dmark not any real games
  4. Potato Judge

    Potato Judge TS Booster Posts: 148   +65

    No older gens tested though.
    Charles Olson likes this.
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,795   +4,603

    That's because they are not patching anything previous to the last 5 generations.
    Charles Olson and Reehahs like this.
  6. Potato Judge

    Potato Judge TS Booster Posts: 148   +65

    Charles Olson likes this.
  7. slamscaper

    slamscaper TS Addict Posts: 218   +44

    No Intel said they are going to patch 90%% of the CPU's made in the last five years by mid January. The next 10% by the end of January. From then on, they will work on older CPU's.

    This means Haswell and newer will get the patches first. I've already read about some of the servers running Haswell\Broadwell chips that have been patched. These updates generated a little buzz because apparently some of the Haswell\Broadwell CPU's are causing system reboots, so Intel is looking into that issue and it may further delay more updates for Haswell\Broadwell.

    What is bothering me is that I have to rely on Gigabyte to deliver my microcode update, since Intel is leaving it to the motherboard manufacturers and pre-built system OEM's to deliver the necessary BIOS updates. Just because Intel gives the vendor the microcode updates doesn't mean they will release a BIOS update for their older hardware. I know ASUS likely will because they typically stay on top of things.

    I have to hope that Gigabyte will release the UEFI BIOS update for my Z97X-UD5H. My 4790K launched in mid 2014 and fully supports INVPCID, so I will be very upset if it doesn't receive the necessary updates to mitigate these security flaws.

    I believe Intel will probably release some data showing performance impacts on Haswell at a later date, as they are obviously working on getting the newest hardware updated first.
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,795   +4,603

    I'm not gonna hold my breath. If I had money to wager, I'd wager they wouldn't.

    Which is why I mentioned earlier about possibly switching loyalties with vendors. I'm watching the outcome to this dilemma*.

    * Finally figured out how to spell this damn word.
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,929   +3,303

    Why didn't you just let spell check figure it out for you, and then try to remember the results?
  10. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,795   +4,603

    For some reason the way I was trying to spell "dilemma", it was never one of the options for correction. Nor would a search bring it up either.
  11. mark kram

    mark kram TS Enthusiast Posts: 32   +6

    I've got a sandybridge i5. I've had the updates and it slowed down as advertised until I upped virtual memory. now it's running normally. The minimum is 1024 * 1.5 * gb ram. The maximum is 1024 * 2 * gb ram.
  12. Potato Judge

    Potato Judge TS Booster Posts: 148   +65

    I just installed the windows update. Now I notice a 1 second delay when switching between tabs on a googlesheet that my wife and I are working on. My OS is win 7, hers is 10 and I have a faster i5 than hers, but no such noticeable delay on her end.

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