Aspects of Meltdown and Spectre that Could Actually Effect You
Many of you have already heard of the major security vulnerabilities Spectre and Meltdown which effect nearly all CPUs on the planet (Meltdown being specific to Intel), and a lot of you probably know about the rumored slowdowns that could come from patching these issues. But as many media sites have posted clients likely won’t notice these slowdowns much if at all, and the only thing benchmarked to be slowed down desktop wise seems to be 4k random reads on drives, but only by a super minor amount.
However, many have noted the enterprise market, servers and the like, might experience major issues due to the patches. We now have some new information on just how it might effect stuff. Epic Games has issued a blog post related to Fortnite (their recent new battle royale game that is IMO quite good), and things aren’t looking great in terms of the issues they are experience post patch. Specifically they state in the blog post these issues are caused by patching Meltdown, which shows they are running mostly Intel hardware (which makes sense considering Intel’s continued dominance in the server market). Epic Games’ servers CPUs are experiencing in some cases over double the CPU usage after the patch is being applied, this is a big issue when you plan your hardware around a specific expected load of users and suddenly you need double the power to handle the same user base.
Epic Games has since said Fortnite may experience some issues with logging in and playing due to the patches. Although not many users seem to be having issues with this, but it’s something to keep in mind if you play the game. Epic Games has also stated they are of course working on mitigating this issue, so things likely won’t be problematic for more than a week.
This evidence likely means other servers which are patched will have increased CPU usage in some circumstances. Meaning other servers out there may have issues, so if you have issues related to a cloud based server of any sort I’d cut some slack to the companies knowing they could be faced with some massive CPU usage issues in the coming weeks as things get patched. Ironically enough this likely means a lot of services will be buying more CPUs to compensate, which means Intel likely will actually make money off this issue.