Yesterday we learned that a vulnerability has been discovered that affects the Intel CPUs since 2008, and the first question we ask ourselves is how the preventive measures that Intel will have to apply to its processors will affect performance. According to the company, not much, and in fact it has published an article in which it shows selected comparatives to prove it. Recall that Intel refers to these vulnerabilities as MDS attacks, or Microarchitecture Data Sampling, so we will follow this custom. What is still not clear, as we saw yesterday, is the real seriousness of these security failures.
The first point on which the company affects its comparisons is that the measures will have to “Limited impact on performance for most PC users.” According to the last bar of the graph that you have here below the performance in games should remain intact after applying the solutions:
As you can see, in the framework of the test bench 3DMark Skydiver the result is the same. Tests with a Core i9-9900K show that performance remains the same, as does the use of hyperthreading. The rest of the tests show a drop in performance of only 3%, and even in one case the performance increases by one point. However, as one of the scenarios considered to be the correct security failures to disable hyperthreading, in the following comparison we have seen another class of performance drops.
Apparently, Intel recognizes that disabling this technology may be appropriate if users consider it necessary. However, it does not recommend it. As you can see, the yield in some cases drops by almost 10%. Where you will notice the effect of prevention measures will be in the field of work stations and data centers. In a separate chart, Intel shows a drop of 19% in the performance of “Java by the server” after disabling hyperthreading in a processor Xeon Platinum 8180. Of course, the section in which the worst results are seen in the storage performance, as was already the case with Meltdown:
In that section you can see downloads of 6 or 14%, even with hyperthreading activated. Remember that these comparisons seem to have been selected to keep up appearances, so in a real scenario the results could be worse. If we look at the good side of things, Intel says that these vulnerabilities correspond to the “specific processes of the 8th and 9th generation”. That does not mean that the rest are not affected, but for now the measures will focus on them. Remember that you can see if your processor is affected with the tool of the MDS Attacks page.
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