Intel warns Meltdown and Spectre patches could cause slowdowns

With all the press related to the Spectre and Meltdown CPU flaws right now, Intel must be feeling the pressure.

While Intel has been the overwhelming focus during the fallout surrounding the Meltdown and Spectre processor exploits revealed last week, AMD has managed to, for the most part, fly below the radar.

Intel said that systems equipped with its latest 8th generation (including the Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake chips) will be see the smallest effect, with the expected impact being less than six per cent. "This is why you want to be careful to evaluate the risk of untrusted code for each Windows Server instance, and balance the security versus performance tradeoff for your environment", he wrote.

Navin Shenoy, general manager of Intel's data centre group said the company had received information about the issue from customers and was discussing the problem directly with data centre customers. We know that impact on performance varies widely, based on the specific workload, platform configuration and mitigation technique.

After rolling out a patch to combat the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerability, Intel is apparently quietly telling some of its big customers to "delay" installing the fix. The performance loss would be up to 10% level. Until Microsoft resolves the issue, they have put a temporary halt to the security patch on affected AMD systems.

Security researchers have recently uncovered security issues known by two names, Meltdown and Spectre.

Intel share price has been dropping all week, though this is unlikely to bother CEO Brian Krzanich after he conveniently offloaded before the news broke, as the company continues to struggle to deal with the vulnerabilities.

This will be done first by making optional microcode updates for Ryzen and EPYC processors starting this week. However, yesterday the chip maker admitted these updates were causing certain computers to unexpectedly reboot. The Windows patch is already rolling out to the majority of AMD users, but there was a bug that caused some systems powered by older AMD CPUs to not boot.

Microsoft said earlier this week that people running computers on 2015-era Intel Haswell or earlier processors would see the biggest performance slowdown, particularly if they weren't using Windows 10.

The real change in AMD's position is with GPZ Variant 2 (Branch Target Injection or Spectre). The performance of Old Microsoft devices are hampered however some of the devices which runs on new hardware are also affected. And finally, devices should have recommended updates to firmware and security patches as recommended by technology vendors.

  • Buena Jesus