SiSoftware Sandra Titanium (2018) SP4/a Update: Retpoline and hardware support

We are pleased to release SP4/a (Service Pack 4/a – version 28.61) update for Sandra Titanium (2018) with the following updates:

Sandra Titanium (2018) Press Release

  • Reporting of Operating System (Windows) speculation control settings for the recently discovered vulnerabilities:
    • Kernel Retpoline mitigation status in recent Windows 10 / Server 2019 updates
    • Kernel Address Table Import Optimisation status (as above)
    • L1TF – L1 data terminal fault mitigation status
  • Hardware Support:
    • AMD Ryzen2 (Matisse), Stoney Ridge support
    • Intel CometLake (CML), CannonLake (CNL), IceLake (ICL) support (based on public information)
  • CPU Benchmarks:
    • Image Processing: SIMD code improvement (SSE2/SSE4/AVX/AVX2-FMA/AVX512)
  • Memory/Cache Benchmarks
    • Return memory controller firmware version to Ranker
  • GPGPU Benchmarks:
    • CUDA SDK 10.1
    • OpenCL: Processing (Fractals/Mandelbrot) variable vector width based on reported FP16/32/64 optimal SIMD width.
  • Ranker, Price & Information Engines
    • HTTPS (encryption) support for all engines as well as the main website

What is Retpoline?

It is a mitigation against ‘Spectre‘ 2 variant (BTI – Branch Target Injection) that affects just about all CPUs (not just Intel but AMD, ARM, etc.). While ‘Spectre’ does not have the same overall performance impact degradation as ‘Meltdown‘ (RDCL – Rogue Data Cache Load) it can have a sizeable impact on some processors and workloads. At this time no CPUs contain hardware mitigation for Spectre without performance impact.

Retpoline (Return Trampoline) is a faster way to mitigate against it without restricting branch speculation in kernel mode (using IBRS/IBPB) and has recently been added to Linux and now Windows version 1809 builds with KB4482887. Note that it still needs to be enabled in registry via the Mitigation Features Override flags as by default it is not enabled.

What CPUs can Retpoline be used on?

Unfortunately Retpoline is only safe to use on some CPUs: AMD CPUs (though does not engage on Ryzen, see below), Intel Broadwell or older (v5 and earlier) – thus not Skylake (v6 or later).

Windows speculation control settings reporting:

Intel Haswell (Core v4), Broadwell (v5) – Retpoline enabled, KATI enabled
Kernel Retpoline Speculation Control – Enabled

Kernel Address Table Import Optimisation – Enabled

(Note RDCL mitigations KVA, L1TF are also enabled as required)

Intel Skylake (Core v6), Kabylake (v7), Skylake/Kabylake-X (v6x) – no Retpoline, KATI can be enabled
Kernel Retpoline Speculation Control – no

Kernel Address Table Import Optimisation – no/yes (can be enabled)

(Note RDCL mitigations KVA, L1TF are enabled as required)

Intel Coffeelake-R (Core v8r), Whiskeylake/AmberLake (Core v8r), CometLake* – no Retpoline but KATI enabled
Kernel Retpoline Speculation Control – no

Kernel Address Table Import Optimisation – Enabled

(Note CPU does not require RDCL mitigation thus no KVA, L1TF required)

Intel Atom Braswell (Atom v5), GeminiLake/ApolloLake (Atom v6) – no Retpoline but KATI enabled
Kernel Retpoline Speculation Control – no

Kernel Address Table Import Optimisation – Enabled

(Note RDCL mitigations KVA, L1TF are enabled as required)

AMD Ryzen (Threadripper) 1, 2 – no Retpoline, no KATI
Kernel Retpoline Speculation Control – no (should be usable?)

Kernel Address Table Import Optimisation – no (should be usable)

(Note CPU does not require RDCL mitigation thus no KVA, L1TF required)

From our somewhat limited testing above it seems that:

  • Intel Haswell/Broadwell (Core v4/v5) and perhaps earlier (Ivy Bridge/Sandy Bridge Core v3/v2) users are in luck, Retpoline is enabled and should improve performance; unfortunately KVA (Meltdown mitigation) remains.
  • Intel Coffeelake-R (Core v8r refresh), Whiskylake ULV (v8r) users do benefit a bit more for their investment – while Retpoline is not enabled, KATI is enabled and should help. Not requiring KVA is the biggest gain of CFL-R.
  • Intel Skylake (Core v6), Kabylake (v7) and Coffeelake (v8) are not able to benefit from Retpoline but KATI can work on some systems (driver dependent). However, on our Skylake ULV, Skylake-X test systems KATI could not be enabled. We are investigating further.
  • Intel Atom (v4/v5+) users should be able to use Retpoline but it seems it cannot be enabled currently. KATI is enabled.
  • AMD Ryzen (Threadripper) 1, 2 users should also be able to use Retpoline but it seems it cannot be enabled currently. While KVA is not required, mitigations for Spectre v2 are required and should be enabled. We are investigating further.

Reviews using Sandra 2018 SP4/a

Update & Download

Commercial version customers can download the free updates from their software distributor; Lite users please download from your favourite download site.

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SiSoftware Sandra Titanium (2018) SP3a/b Update: Pushing the Limits

Note: This article originally announced SP3a (28.45); it has since been updated to SP3b (28.49).

We are pleased to announce SP3b (version 28.49 for Sandra Titanium (2018) with updated hardware and software support:

Sandra Titanium (2018) Press Release

Sandra has always pushed the limits of hardware, optimising the workload based on the capablities of the device (compute performance, memory/storage size, etc.) ensuring that both low-end devices and high-end devices are used to their best of their capability.

This new version pushes the workload even higher with better scaling across all GPGPU benchmarks allowing low-end devices to work (e.g. integrated graphics, emulation on CPU) and high-end professional GPGPU accelerators with very fast, very large memory.

GPGPU Benchmarks

  • All Benchmarks: increased workload size on all benchmarks to up to maximum device capacity.
  • FP16/half optimisations for AMD Vega and Radeon VII (vectorisation)*
  • FP16/half optimisations for nVidia Volta/Turing (half2) [CUDA 10]
  • Workgroup and workload optimisations for AMD Vega and Radeon VII*
  • Updated DirectX and OpenGL compute to match CUDA and OpenCL
  • Resolved “out of memory” issues on low-end hardware**
  • Resolved long running time of CPU test-paths (that the GPGPU test paths are checked against) by enabling SIMD implementation (FFT/GEMM)**

Note: At this time we have not personally tested Radeon VII to confirm improvements.

Note2: Applies to SP3b update.

Hardware Support

  • Intel Core v8/9 Mobile WhiskyLake (WHL), AmberLake (AML) support (based on public information)

Reviews using Sandra 2018 SP3a/b

Ranker Hardware Results

Note: FP64 rate on Radeon VII is 1/4 not 1/8 as stated in some places. FP16 rate is 2x with vectorisation, 1x with scalar.

Commercial version customers can download the free updates from their software distributor; Lite users please download from your favourite download site.

Download Sandra Lite

SiSoftware Sandra Titanium (2018) SP3 Update

We are pleased to announce SP3 (version 28.40 for Sandra Titanium (2018) with updated hardware and software support:

Sandra Titanium (2018) Press Release

GPGPU Benchmarks:

  • Enable FP16/half support in CUDA benchmarks*
  • Enable low-precision FP32 shader support in DirectX Compute benchmarks
  • Enable Tensor support for CUDA/GEMM/FP16

Note: FP16 is already supported by the OpenCL and DirectX compute benchmarks.

GPGPU Processing, Video Shader Benchmarks:

  • FP16/half-precision performance* (if supported) is included in the aggregate scores. This better reflects the performance of new GPGPUs that natively support FP16/half processing.
  • Tensors code-path used by default where applicable.

Note: FP16 is supported by all benchmarks: DirectX, OpenGL, OpenCL and now CUDA.

Reviews using Sandra 2018 SP3

Commercial version customers can download the free updates from their software distributor; Lite users please download from your favourite download site.

Download Sandra Lite

SiSoftware Sandra Titanium (2018) SP2c Update

We are pleased to announce SP2c (version 28.34 for Sandra Titanium (2018) with updated hardware and software support:

Sandra Titanium (2018) Press Release

  • Hardware Information
    • Ryzen 1/2 &  Threadripper: fix crash when Hyper-V / “Windows Core Isolation – Memory Integrity” (VBS) –  are enabled
    • Ryzen 2 &  Threadripper: enabled display of Core temperature, voltage, current, power usage

Reviews using Sandra 2018 SP2c

Commercial version customers can download the free updates from their software distributor; Lite users please download from your favourite download site.

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Black Friday 2018 Deal

SiSoftware Sandra Titanium (2018) SP2b Update

We are pleased to announce SP2b (version 28.31) for Sandra Titanium (2018) with updated hardware and software support:

Sandra Titanium (2018) Press Release

  • CPU Benchmarks:
    • Multi-Media, .Net Multi-Media, Java Multi-Media: optimised fractal picture size selection for better scaling. Crash fix upon loading large fractals.
    • Image Processing: optimised picture size selection for better scaling.
  • GPGPU Benchmarks:
    • Processing (CUDA, OpenCL, DirectX): optimised fractal picture size selection for better scaling. Crash fix upon loading large fractals.
    • Image Processing (CUDA, OpenCL, DirectX): optimised picture size selection for better scaling.
  • GPGPU: improved clock speed reporting (base/boost).

Reviews using Sandra 2018 SP2b

Commercial version customers can download the free updates from their software distributor; Lite users please download from your favourite download site.

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SiSoftware Sandra Titanium (2018) SP2 Update

We are pleased to announce SP2 (version 28.28) for Sandra Titanium (2018) with updated hardware and software support:

Sandra Titanium (2018) Press Release

  • GPGPU:
    • nVidia Series 2000 (Turing) GPGPU support (still on SDK 9.2 for broad compatibility)
    • Fixes workgroup sizes for Scientific benchmarks
  • CPU:
    • Support for Intel 9000-Series CPU
    • Crypto AES benchmark VAES 512-bit and 256-bit support

Product Reviews

Commercial version customers can download the free updates from their software distributor; Lite users please download from your favourite download site.

Download Sandra Lite

SiSoftware Sandra Titanium (2018) SP1b Update

We are pleased to announce SP1b (version 28.26) for Sandra Titanium (2018) with updated hardware and software support:

Sandra Titanium (2018) Press Release

  • GPGPU: Updated nVidia CUDA 9.2 SDK with FP16 support for all benchmarks
    • nVidia Volta arch GPGPU support
  • CPU: Support update for AMD ThreadRipper v2
  • CPU: Support update for Intel v9 CPUs

Product Reviews

Commercial version customers can download the free updates from their software distributor; Lite users please download from your favourite download site.

Download Sandra Lite

SiSoftware Sandra Titanium (2018) RTMa Update

We are pleased to release RTMa (RTM update A – version 28.18) update for Sandra Titanium (2018) with the following updates:

Sandra Titanium (2018) Press Release

  • CPU: Updated tools allowed for new AVX512 code-path (FFT)
  • Hardware support updates and fixes
  • Updates to the new Overall Benchmarks: CPU, GPGPU, Disk, Memory
  • Firmware logging and upload for all benchmarks including Ranker support
    • Microcode version for CPUs (to determine Spectre/Meltdown support)
    • Firmware version for Memory Controllers
    • Firmware version for Disk drives (HDD or SSD)
    • BIOS version for mainboards
    • BIOS version for Graphics Cards / GPGPUs

Note: Sandra will also display whether an updated version for microcode, firmware or BIOS is available for your device from the respective manufacturer / OEM. Community powered, this relies on users benchmarking and uploading their scores to the Ranker.

Commercial version customers can download the free updates from their software distributor; Lite users please download from your favourite download site.

Download Sandra Lite

Sandra Platinum (2017) SP4 – Updates for ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’

NB: SP4 has been refreshed to version 24.61 vs. the original 24.55 a day later.

We are pleased to release SP4 (Service Pack 4 – version 24.61) update for Sandra Platinum (2017) with the following updates:

Sandra Platinum (2017) Press Release

  • Reporting of Operating System (Windows) speculation control settings for the recently discovered vulnerabilities:
  • Reporting of latest CPU microcode update availability
    • Hardware mitigation for BTI/’Spectre’
  • Reporting of CPU features for branch control
    • Hardware enumeration and control for speculation and predictors
      • Indirect branch restricted speculation (IBRS) and Indirect branch predictor barrier (IBPB)
      • Single thread indirect branch predictors (STIBP)
      • Architecture Capabilities (affected by IB or not)
  • Reporting of CPU support for Context ID / Indirect CID
    • Hardware acceleration for context switching thus mitigating performance loss when KVA (Kernel’s Virtual Address) Shadowing is enabled.

Windows speculation control settings reporting:

Recommended Settings (Windows and CPU updated)
Operating System Mitigation: Enabled (Windows updated)

BTI Mitigation: Enabled, CPU indirect branch-control enumeration support (microcode updated)

RDCL Mitigation: KVA Shadowing enabled, Windows/CPU context-ID support

OK Settings (Windows updated, but CPU not updated)
Operating System Mitigation: Enabled (Windows updated)

BTI Mitigation: Not enabled, no CPU support (e.g. firmware not updated – check for BIOS update)

RDCL Mitigation: KVA Shadowing enabled, Windows/CPU context-ID support

OK Settings (Windows updated, but CPU not updated, no CID)
Operating System Mitigation: Enabled (Windows updated)

BTI Mitigation: Not enabled, no CPU support (e.g. firmware not updated – check for BIOS update)

RDCL Mitigation: KVA Shadowing not enabled, no context-ID support (either CPU or Windows obsolete)

Not Recommended (Windows not updated)
Operating System Mitigation: Not enabled, Windows has not been updated – install the OS update)

Processor features and microcode updates:

CPU microcode not latest
CPU has not been updated with the latest microcode update: check for an updated BIOS/firmware from the OEM/computer manufacturer.
CPU microcode w/speculation support
CPU supports IBRS/PB (indirect branch restricted speculation/predictor barrier) ennumeration as well as STIBP (single thread indirect branch predictors).
CPU supports CID or InvPCID
CPU supports either CID (Context ID) or InvPCID (Process Context ID) for faster context switch – thus mitigating performance loss.

 

Microcode Updates for Intel processors (non-exhaustive list):

 

 

Generation Old Microcode Updated Microcode
IvyBridge 3rd Gen (IVB C0) 28 2a
Haswell 4th Gen (HSW-U/Y Cx/Dx) 20 21
Haswell-X 4th Gen (HSX C0) 3a 3b
Haswell-EX 4th Gen (HSW-EX E0) 0f 10
Broadwell 5th Gen (BDW-U/Y E/F) 25 28
Crystalwell 5th Gen (CRW CX) 17 18
Broadwell 5th Gen (BDW-H E/G) 17 1b
Broadwell 5th Gen (BDX-DE V0/V1) 0f 14
Broadwell 5th Gen (BDX-DE V2) 0d 11
SkyLake 6th Gen (SKL-U/Y D0/R0) ba c2
SkyLake-X 6th Gen (SKX H0) 35 3c
KabyLake 7th Gen (KBL-U/Y H0) 62 80
KabyLake 7th Gen (KBL Y0 / CFL D0) 70 80
KabyLake 7th Gen (KBL-H/S B0) 5e 80
CofeeLake 8th Gen (CFL U0/B0) 70 80

 

Note: Due to some unexplained crashes, resume from sleep issues, etc. the current (January 2018) microcode updates have been suspended by Intel. They are scheduled to be resumed in March 2018.

In preliminary benchmarking, we have observed no or very minor performance impact to CPU, GPGPU and memory scores; disk performance for small transfers is impacted when KVA shadowing is enabled.

Commercial version customers can download the free updates from their software distributor; Lite users please download from your favourite download site.

Download Sandra Lite

Sandra Platinum (2017) SP3 – Updates and Fixes

We are pleased to release SP3 (Service Pack 3 – version 24.50) update for Sandra Platinum (2017) with the following updates:

Sandra Platinum (2017) Press Release

  • Fix start-up crash with non-AVX older systems (both x86 and x64)
  • Tools update allowing further optimisations to AVX512 benchmarks
  • Other hardware information fixes depending on APIC ID configuration
    • AMD Ryzen 5 – L3 cache detection 4x not 2x
    • AMD Ryzen 3 – detected as SMP

Commercial version customers can download the free updates from their software distributor; Lite users please download from your favourite download site.

Download Sandra Lite