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posted by mrpg on Friday January 12, @07:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the that's-epyc dept.

Amid the ongoing Meltdown fiasco, Intel has only one way to go in the data center... down. Intel may be forced to offer discounts or rebates to prevent customers from eventually moving to AMD x86 chips (such as Epyc) or even ARM chips:

Intel chips back 98% of data center operations, according to industry consultancy IDC. [...] Microsoft said on Tuesday the patches necessary to secure the threats could have a significant performance impact on servers.

[...] For Gleb Budman's company, San Mateo-based online storage firm Backblaze, building with ARM chips would not be difficult. "If ARM provides enough computing power at lower cost or lower power than x86, it would be a strong incentive for us to switch," said Budman. "If the fix for x86 results in a dramatically decreased level of performance, that might increasingly push in favor of switching to ARM."

Infinitely Virtual, a Los Angeles-based cloud computing vendor, is counting on Intel to replace equipment or offer a rebate to make up for the loss in computing power, Chief Executive Adam Stern said in an interview. "If Intel doesn't step up and do something to make this right then we're going to have to punish them in the marketplace by not purchasing their products," said Stern, whose company relies exclusively on Intel processors.

[...] Both Qualcomm and Cavium are developing ARM chips aimed at data centers. Cavium said it aimed to rival the performance of Intel chips for applications like databases and the content-delivery networks that help speed things like how fast online videos load.

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @02:01PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @02:01PM (#621367)

    Intel's best hope is to put out a chip that works better than others.
    This may just take fixing this bug in their current part?
    Then price it so that if you are upset with them and buy somebody else's to punish them you also punish yourself.
    Given a short term gain, folks will forget that Intel is not long term nice, and take the gain.

    For this to be more that a speed bump, somebody else has to meet them in speed on the next chip.
    Is anybody ready to do that?

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  • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Friday January 12, @04:37PM (2 children)

    by hendrikboom (1125) on Friday January 12, @04:37PM (#621433) Homepage

    Is it at all fixable by rewriting the CPU's microcode? Which would presumably be carried out using the Management Engine? In which case, is everyone that has disabled their Management Engine out in the cold?

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Friday January 12, @08:24PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 12, @08:24PM (#621538)

      is everyone that has disabled their Management Engine out in the cold?

      Proposed Conspiracy Theory: Maybe that's the point. The vuln was intentionally baked into the chips such that either you give the NSA and god knows how many foreign govts and corps complete access to all your data via the mgmt engine OR you have a wide open flaw such that every skript kiddie on the planet has full access to all your data. Either way, "they" win. This is such a great and devious plan that even if its not implemented today, the plan should be remembered because someone will surely implement it sooner or later.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @11:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @11:43PM (#621612)

      Microcode can be loaded with dumb ME, as in home computer that probably has ME but doesn't really expose it. Maybe it's even missing or at least only local functions exist, saving the OEM some license money.

      Anyway, Intel is not offereing microcode updates for all the CPUs, only last ones, and they don't seem to be full fixes, all OSes still need to help with the workarounds.