Security patches for Meltdown and Spectre are rolling out. Both Microsoft and Apple have been quick to with patches that somewhat fix the problem. These bugs are huge and while there’s a patch out for them, it comes at a price; processor speed. Microsoft has given a detailed explanation on the impact the patches will have. It seems that users who have either a Skylake or Kaby Lake processor will only see a performance drop in single digits. According to Microsoft, this is going to be a negligible difference of milliseconds. Older processors, such as Haswell processors will take a more substantial hit. This might leave you wondering what performance hit your processor will take.
Intel processors when sold as stand-alone hardware or bundled with laptops are not sold as Skylake, Kaby Lake, or Haswell. We know these processors by their common names such as Core i3, or Core i5, or Core i7. We know what generation a processor is but Skylake and Kaby Lake are not terms that normally come up.
Skylake and Kaby Lake, and Haswell for that matter, are all code names that Intel gives its processors when they’re in development. These code names are specific to a particular type of microarchitecture. When Intel develops a new architecture, it gives the chips built on it a new code name. What this means is that you may very well have a Haswell, or a Skylake or Kaby Lake processor without knowing it. Here’s how to check.
Skylake Or Kaby Lake Processor
The easiest way to find what code name your processor has is to download an app called CPU Z. It’s a free app that can list information about the hardware components in your system. Among its many features, it can identify the code name that belongs to your processor. Download, install, and run the app.
Go to the CPU tab and look at the value in the code name field.
Once you know what processor you have, you’ll know what to expect in terms of a performance drop. If you find you’re running a particularly old processor that will take a significant performance hit, there isn’t much you can do other than upgrade. We should warn you that, at present, getting the latest Intel processor will give you better performance but it will not patch the Spectre bug. For the Spectre bug to be truly patched, Intel will need to change the architecture of its chips. It’s denying the need for this at present but the patches will do little to guard against Spectre. Knowing this, choose wisely which processor you upgrade to.