MDS/Zombie Load mitigations causes CPU performance to drop by up to 16%

ZombieLoad vulnerability

Earlier researchers revealed the latest vulnerabilities in Intel processor, MDS/Zombieload or called zombie load. The Zombieload vulnerability is essentially the same as the previous Spectre and Meltdown series vulnerabilities and is caused by speculative execution techniques deployed by Intel on the processor. Speculative execution techniques are used to improve the overall performance of modern processors, but fatal flaws make this technology a key to dragging processor performance.

ZombieLoad vulnerability

The technology website Phoronix has released a 40-page test report that shows a 16% reduction in CPU performance after installing the microcode update. The site focuses on technical classes, so the main tests are software for Linux and data centers, and updates have different effects on different software.

The test average shows that after installing Spectre and Meltdown and this zombie load vulnerability patch, the performance of Intel processors drops about 8% to 10%. At the highest level, processor performance drops by about 16%, so the performance impact for vulnerabilities in servers and data centers is still large. Although subsequent Intel may continue to optimize microcode updates to minimize the impact, even this may lead to new speculative execution vulnerabilities.

Home users and corporate office users typically do not let the processor run at full capacity, so the impact of microcode updates is largely negligible. The test results on the Linux system are mainly likely to have an impact on the game frame rate, but the impact is relatively small. Therefore, for home and business office users, it is safe to install microcode updates, at least in terms of security.