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Intel releases Spectre/Meltdown firmware updates, publishes benchmark results for data centre systems

Intel’s fight against the Spectre and Meltdown bugs continues but with it, more issues are also beginning to arise. Last week, it was discovered that a recent firmware update was causing reboot issues with older Intel processors. Now Intel has confirmed that newer processors can also be affected, with Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Skylake and Kaby Lake systems all requiring more frequent reboots.

This is something that mainly affects data centres and servers, rather than your average DIY PC builder. The patch also comes with a performance impact, which is minimal in some situations but more significant in others.

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In a blog post penned by Intel VP Navin Shenoy, Intel confirmed that data centre tests simulating online transactions and stock exchange interaction experienced a 4% performance impact with the latest Spectre/Meltdown patch. Meanwhile different I/O storage bechmarks showed anywhere from a 2% decrease in throughput to an 18% decrease depending on the system configuration and test setup.

Finally, Storage Performance Development Kit tests saw as much as a 25 percent impact while using single-core. Using SPDK vHost, Intel observed no performance impact. So data centres and server providers will see some performance hits depending on different workloads.

We are still in early days for these patches so things will change over time. Intel will be taking a transparent approach and publishing more updates as more tests are conducted.

KitGuru Says: The Spectre/Meltdown story isn’t over just yet. Over time, more patches will be released and more tests will be conducted, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for future updates. 

 

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