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Initial benchmarks for Linux's performance impacting security update have been released

Gaming workloads are seemingly unaffected in initial Linux benchmarks

Initial benchmarks for Linux's performance impacting security update have been released

Initial benchmarks for Linux's performance impacting security update have been released

Yesterday we reported on an emerging story regarding an embargoed security bug that affected Intel CPUs, one so severe that both the Windows and Linux kernels have required extensive redesigns to secure affected systems. 

This issue is said to primarily affect Intel CPUs, though in the latest Linux Kernel, where a software fix is now active, all x86 CPUs are treated as insecure. While AMD has stated that their products are not affected by this security flaw, it seems like the developers of the Linux Kernel are being cautious with the initial release of this Kernel, though future versions could remove this feature for AMD users if it is found to be unnecessary.  


 
    Update -
 An AMD patch for the Linux Kernel is now available here. Another workaround to prevent PTI from applying to AMD CPUs is to boot the kernel with the nopti command line parameter. We are currently hearing conflicting reports regarding this patch's merger with the mainline Linux Kernel.  

Right now Windows does not have a kernel patch to address this particular issue though we have the next best thing, Linux benchmarks (courtesy of Phoronix). These results deliver a quick look at I/O performance, Compile performance, encoding performance and even gaming. Thankfully not all of these workloads are affected by this new kernel patch. 

Initial benchmarks for Linux's performance impacting security update have been released  

 

In some of Phoronix's I/O based benchmarks we can see that system performance is impacted on both their i7 6800K and i7 8700K based systems. It must be noted that the 6800K-based system is using a SATA SSD while the 8700K-based system is using a Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD, explaining why its performance is hit hardest.  

The performance degradation here is astounding, showcasing exactly how much these changes can affect the performance of certain applications. Given the fact that these are synthetic benchmarks, the real-world performance impact of this kernel patch is expected to be lower for consumers, though it does highlight how bad the problem can be. 


Initial benchmarks for Linux's performance impacting security update have been released  

 

One nice thing to see is that there are workloads that are seemingly unaffected by the updates to the Linux kernel, which means that there will be a portion of PC users that will be mostly unaffected by these changes. Unaffected apps will not require much kernel access, which is where the slowdown will occur. 


Initial benchmarks for Linux's performance impacting security update have been released

 

In gaming, it looks like performance is unaffected by this patch, though it must be remembered that this is not using the Windows Patch and that these games are likely to be GPU bound on an AMD RX Vega 64. We plan to conduct some more detailed benchmarking when the security fixing patch lands on Windows. 

  
Initial benchmarks for Linux's performance impacting security update have been released

 
Looking at these benchmarks it seems clear that this issue will affect I/O heavy workloads the hardest, making this update catastrophic for data centre users. Given the apparent gravity of this  design flaw this performance hit will likely be a price that users are willing to pay in the name of security.

What we will be showing here is just a small portion of the benchmarks available from Phoronix, so we recommend that you have a look over on their website to see their benchmark results in full detail.   

Update - Intel, AMD and ARM have all released statements about these recently discovered security issues


You can join the discussion about these initial benchmarks on Linux's new security fixing kernel on the OC3D Forums

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Most Recent Comments

03-01-2018, 05:44:32

AlienALX
Quote:
Originally Posted by WYP View Post
Both Intel and AMD x86 products are affected at the time of writing.
AMD are on it Quote

03-01-2018, 06:07:52

TheF34RChannel
Ah, so AMD wasn't uncorking champagne then...Quote

03-01-2018, 06:18:08

AlienALX
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheF34RChannel View Post
Ah, so AMD wasn't uncorking champagne then...
They will be as soon as their "unpatch the indiscriminate patch" goes live Quote

03-01-2018, 06:51:00

wozza365
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheF34RChannel View Post
Ah, so AMD wasn't uncorking champagne then...
The patch is only going to affect AMD temporarily, it's going to affect pretty much all Intel CPUs permanently until they release new hardware.Quote

03-01-2018, 07:31:55

Gothmoth
Quote:
it is most likely that developers are taking the "better safe than sorry" approach to security. AMD should be able to demonstrate that their products are unaffected by the bug and should be able to get the kernel patched with exceptions in the near future, leaving this mess solely at Intel's feet.
they (at least microsoft) work on this patch since october.

they should be able to confirm if AMD is affected or not... Quote
Reply
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