Intel Intros Newest Xeon Processors With Built-In Spectre And Meltdown Patches


Intel has lifted the curtain on its newest Xeon processor, the Xeon D-2100, designed for edge applications and other data center use cases that are constrained by space and power.

The chip company said that the Xeon processor would be supported by system software updates that protect customers from the Spectre and Meltdown security flaws.

"The Intel Xeon D-2100 processor allows service providers and enterprises to deliver the maximum amount of compute intelligence at the edge or web tier while expending the least power," said Sandra Rivera, senior vice president and general manager of the Network Platforms Group at Intel, in a statement.

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Intel said its Xeon D-2100 processors pack increased performance and hardware-enhanced security in the network edge. This processor addresses the growing number of workloads that need more compute, analytics and data protection closer to endpoint devices.

"To seize 5G and new cloud and network opportunities, service providers need to optimize their data center and edge infrastructures to meet the growing demands of bandwidth-hungry end users and their smart and connected devices," said Rivera in the statement.

The Xeon D-2100 processor, which was manufactured using 14nm process technology, including up to 18 "Skylake-server" generation Intel Xeon processor cores and 36 threads.

Intel said its processor has up to a 2.9 times greater network performance improvement and 1.6 times greater compute performance improvement over the previous generation.

The new launch comes as Intel grapples with fallout from the Spectre and Meltdown exploits, which were revealed at the beginning of January and affect chips from multiple vendors, including AMD and ARM.

The flaws, which account for three variants of a side-channel analysis security issue in server and PC processors, potentially could enable hackers to access protected data.

While Intel said its new Xeon chips would be supported by system software updates addressing Spectre and Meltdown, the company also said its performance tests and benchmarks could be subject to change as a result of any future Spectre and Meltdown patches.

The chip company said that "benchmark results were obtained prior to implementation of recent software patches and firmware updates intended to address exploits referred to as 'Spectre' and 'Meltdown.' Implementation of these updates may make these results inapplicable to your device and system."

Andrew Piland, chief operating officer at San Diego-based Datel Systems, said that despite the buzz around Spectre and Meltdown, he hadn't heard any concerns from customers.

"I’m not really sure how things will change now that the patches are built in. I have seen a few comments that some resellers are expecting a big uptick in sales, but I don’t really have any sort of reason to believe that to be the case," he said.