News Posts matching #Hyper-Threading

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Next-Gen Intel Core i3 to Sport Hyper Threading?

TUM_APISAK has done of his well-regarded snoopings again, and this one could have relevant information for the democratization of threads in next-gen Intel products. Intel has been slowly (as they can) increasing the amount of cores and threads in their respective product lines across i3, i5, and i7 CPUs after AMD's Ryzen onslaught. Luckily, from two core, four-thread Core i3 of a few years ago, we now seem to be entering a new era for entry-level computing, with a new SiSoftware benchmark seemingly showing an Intel next-gen "Comet Lake" Core i3 CPU sporting 4 physical threads with Hyper Threading enabled (so, basically, the equivalent of Skylake Core i7's from just three years ago).

The benchmark submission lists what appears to be a four-core, eight-thread Core i3-10100. It sports a 3.6 GHz base clock, which likely isn't final, so take that frequency with a grain of salt. This shuffle in the low-end definitely means an upscale in Intel's more powerful lineups, with HyperThreading likely being active for all of their product stack across Comet Lake - 4C, 8T Core i3; 6C, 12T Core i5; 8C, 16T Core i7; and a likely 10C, 20T Core i9 10900K that straddles the line between consumer and HEDT platforms. Of course, remember these are still built upon the 14 nm process, give or take a few "+" symbols, so don't expect too much in terms of energy efficiency gains.

Apple: Protecting Macs from MDS Vulnerabilities May Reduce Performance by up to 40%

Apple has advised users that they should disable Intel's Hyper-Threading feature on the company's computers due to the recently exposed MDS vulnerabilities. Citing internal testing, Apple said that users can expect an up to 40% performance loss in such a scenario (depending on system and workload, naturally) in various benchmarks and multithreaded workloads. The performance loss is understandable - you're essentially halving the number of threads available for your CPU to process data.

Like Intel said, it becomes an issue of how much users value their performance compared to the security risks involved: a classic risk/benefit scenario, which shouldn't ever be in the equation, after all. If users buy a system with a CPU that has known performance levels, they will obviously expect those to be valid for the longevity of the product, unless otherwise stated and considering operational variances that fall within a margin of error/product obsolescence. Halving your performance because of a design flaw that resulted from an effort to achieve higher and higher IPC increases doesn't strike as a way to inspire confidence in your products.

Yet Another Speculative Malfunction: Intel Reveals New Side-Channel Attack, Advises Disabling Hyper-Threading Below 8th, 9th Gen CPUs

Ouch doesn't even begin to describe how much that headline hurt. As far as speculative execution goes, it's been well covered by now, but here's a refresher. Speculative execution essentially means that your CPU tries to think ahead of time on what data may or may not be needed, and processes it before it knows it's needed. The objective is to take advantage of concurrency in the CPU design, keeping processing units that would otherwise be left idle to process and deliver results on the off-chance that they are indeed required by the system: and when they are called for, the CPU saves time by not having to process them on the fly and already having them available.

The flaws have been announced by Intel in coordination with Austrian university TU Graz, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the University of Michigan, the University of Adelaide, KU Leuven in Belgium, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Saarland University in Germany and security firms Cyberus, BitDefender, Qihoo360 and Oracle. While some of the parties involved have named the four identified flaws with names such as "ZombieLoad", "Fallout", and RIDL, or "Rogue In-Flight Data Load", Intel is using the PEGI-13 "Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS)" name.

Intel Officially Launches 9th Generation Processors Including the 8-Core / 16-Thread Core i9-9900K

Anand Srivatsa, Vice President of Intel, officially announced their all-new 9th generation of core processors in today's live stream. While the Coffee Lake refresh has certainly been no secret, a few facts were confirmed today. The Core i9-9900k will be Intel's first broad volume 5 GHz processor and is their first mainstream 8 core, 16 thread offering. In order to facilitate better overclocking results for enthusiasts, the company also confirmed that they will use solder TIM for the whole range of products, which should result in not only better overclocking potential but much lower thermals as well.

OpenBSD Turns Off Hyper-Threading to Combat Intel CPU Security Issues

Lead developer for OpenBSD Mark Kettenis has announced that OpenBSD will no longer enable Hyper-Threading on Intel processors by default. This move is intended to mitigate security exploits from the Spectre ecosystem as well as TLB and cache timing attacks, because important processor resources are no longer shared between threads. Their suspicion is that some of the unreleased (or yet unknown) attacks can be stopped using this approach.

This move is supported by the fact that most newer motherboards no longer provide an option to disable Hyper-Threading via BIOS. OpenBSD users who still want to use Hyper-Threading can manually enable support for it using the sysctl hw.smt. The developers are also looking into expanding this feature to other CPUs from other vendors, should they be affected, too.
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