Intel promises to be more transparent about Spectre CPU performance impacts

From The Verge: Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has penned an open letter to the rest of the technology industry, addressing concerns over the two major CPU security flaws. Intel has been issuing cleverly-worded statements, and altering its guidance on performance issues related to security fixes, but the company now says it’s ready to be transparent. “As we roll out software and firmware patches, we are learning a great deal,” admits Krzanich. “We know that impact on performance varies widely, based on the specific workload, platform configuration and mitigation technique.”

Intel is committing to providing updates for at least 90 percent of CPUs produced in the last five years by January 15th, and the rest by the end of January. Whether end users will get those updates is another story, as most PC makers have poor update systems in place for firmware updates. While Microsoft chooses to distributes Surface firmware updates through Windows Update, most PC makers use their own separate software rather than Windows Update.

Intel is now planning to provide “frequent progress reports of patch progress, performance data, and other information” over at Intel’s dedicated Spectre and Meltdown site. Intel’s pledge of “transparent and timely communications” is exactly what is required right now, providing the company follows through. Intel has faced growing criticism since Microsoft revealed the extent of potential performance impacts after security patches are applied to protect against a variant of the Spectre flaw. Microsoft revealed the following:

- Windows 10 running on Skylake, Kaby Lake or newer CPU show benchmarks show “single-digit slowdowns”, but most users shouldn’t expect to see noticeable slowdowns
- Windows 10 running on Haswell or older CPUs “show more significant slowdowns” and “some users will notice a decrease in system performance”
- Windows 7 or Windows 8 running on Haswell or older CPUs means “most users will notice a decrease in system performance”

View: Article @ Source Site