Author Topic: Intel CPUs, Spectre and Meltdown  (Read 51 times)

Abowman

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Intel CPUs, Spectre and Meltdown
« on: November 13, 2018, 08:12:29 AM »
Hey Ari!

Question for you: earlier this year when Spectre and Meltdown became public knowledge, Intel announced they would add protection against these threats. But I distinctly remember reading that adding protection would compromise performance of CPUs because of how the fix worked. Now that Intel is shipping CPUs that are protected against Spectre and Meltdown, I can't find any data on if there actually has been a hit to performance of not.

Is there any way to test and see how much fixing these two hardware level flaws affects end user's performance?

Ari Altman

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Re: Intel CPUs, Spectre and Meltdown
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2018, 12:32:42 PM »
Hey Ari!

Question for you: earlier this year when Spectre and Meltdown became public knowledge, Intel announced they would add protection against these threats. But I distinctly remember reading that adding protection would compromise performance of CPUs because of how the fix worked. Now that Intel is shipping CPUs that are protected against Spectre and Meltdown, I can't find any data on if there actually has been a hit to performance of not.

Is there any way to test and see how much fixing these two hardware level flaws affects end user's performance?

Actually, when Intel hard-codes the threat protections into the silicon, the performance impacts are avoided. It's when chips need to be protected via software (as all previous CPUs required) that there's some overhead. While it would be hard to pick up the performance difference in tests not designed specifically to identify it, you can assume that when all else is equal (core count, clock speed, etc.), the new 9th-gen Core CPUs actually perform better than 8th-gen and earlier CPUs that rely on software fixes.

Abowman

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Re: Intel CPUs, Spectre and Meltdown
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2018, 01:48:32 PM »
Thanks for the info!