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Intel plans to offload CPU malware scanning to iGPUs in new Spectre / Meltdown fix

Intel will eventually bake security fixes into its next-generation of silicon. (Source: Intel)
Intel will eventually bake security fixes into its next-generation of silicon. (Source: Intel)
Intel has responded to concerns that its software-based fixes for Spectre and Meltdown are hampering CPU performance. A future patch coming through Microsoft's servers will offload memory scanning to the iGPU

Intel has copped some flak for its Spectre and Meltdown patches which were necessary to patch flaws in its chip designs. While its chips are now protected, the software-based fixes have impacted CPU performance. Intel has now come up with a more elegant solution that offloads the processing required to scan for malware to its little used iGPUs.

Its new Accelerated Memory Scanning technology engages the integrated GPU that often sits largely idle in many desktop computers. Even notebooks that are utilized largely for Office-based tasks without a discrete GPU still have plenty of headroom in their iGPU for these processes. According to Intel, early benchmarking shows CPU utilization dropping from 20 percent to as low as 2 percent. When it rolls out as a new patch from Microsoft, the new tech will only work with Intel’s 6th, 7th and 8th generation chips.

Intel has made it clear that it will be redesigning the architecture of its future chips so that they are protected from attacks similar to Spectre and Meltdown moving forward. It will include a new suite of technologies that Intel is calling Security Essentials, which includes secure boot and hardware protections that will be baked into the silicon to stop software from being compromised via silicon-based attacks. This should eliminate the need for any software-based solutions from chewing up either CPU or GPU cycles.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 04 > Intel plans to offload CPU malware scanning to iGPUs in new Spectre / Meltdown fix
Sanjiv Sathiah, 2018-04-17 (Update: 2018-04-17)
Sanjiv Sathiah
Sanjiv Sathiah - News Editor
I have been tech-obsessed from the time my father introduced me to my first computer, an Apple ][. Since then, I have grown to enjoy exploring and experimenting with any computing platform that I can get my hands on – I am the definitive early adopter! I have always been interested in how we can use technology to shape and improve our lives, most recently using it to record, mix and master my debut record, Acuity – Nature | Nurture out now on Spotify.