Also, microcode makes a big difference in optane performance. And some difference in gaming performance. I did some testing on this a while back when I was using a Z97 Classified, that I have since given to my son in a build, and here's some screenshots from that.
The first shot is microcode FO3 with no spectre or meltdown protections, the second is ucode 17 without S,M protections, the third is ucode 1D without meltdown protections, and the fourth is ucode 1D with spectre protections disabled.
The difference in I/O performance is obvious, and I can see it in the smoothness of some games like the newer Tomb Raiders in particular.
I've found 3 basic groups of mirocodes in terms of performance: the FO1 and FO3 group, everything else before 1B group, and the 1B,1D and 1E group. Within these groups the microcodes' effects on performance is basically the same.
Compared to the big middle group, the FO1, FO3 group is a little smoother and faster in some games, and obviously I/O performance, but ram is about 5% lower bandwidth and the cpu performs measurably less compute. This may actually hurt performance in some games, I didn't test them all.
The 1B,1D and 1E group have same ram performance as middle, worse compute than the middle group, but better compute than the FO1, FO3 group. They are also more stutter prone in gaming. This is easily mostly mitigated by disabling spectre protections with inspectre.
I didn't see a big dropoff in smoothness with meltdown protections enabled and meltdown seems exploitable in real life, unlike spectre variants.
Switching microcodes is a pain though. Windows 10 version 1709 is the last version that will let me run FO3 without changing it on os start. W10 1803 will change my microcode from what the motherboard has to ucode 17. Which is fine since it is + or - the best one. W10 1809 and 1903 change the ucode to 1D or 1E depending on your updates.
Inserting the desired microcode into your mobos bios is much easier than maintaining your windows version. I used UEFI Bios Updater and Asus boards that do that usb bios flashback will instal the modified bios if you use the button push method. EVGA boards will install anything, they just don't care. But EVGA boards are inferior when it comes to Broadwell-c controls.
This spectre mitigation loss of performance seems inevitable to current intel chips and hits stuff like fast hard drives the worst.
Maximus VII Hero
Aorus 1080ti Waterforce
16 Gb Gskill Trident @ 2400,cas10,1.575v
1Tb Team sata+1TB Team sata+1TB 42mm msata
seagate barracuda 3T
Optane 900p 480G OS
EVGA Supernova 1300 G2
Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 120 (cpu)
2 140mm case fans, 2 120mm
Fractal Design C (no window)
W10 64 pro
Focal Elear, Nova 40, 598se, M1060, DT990pro, Fidelio2
SoundbasterX AE-5, onboard
Asus Z87 Deluxe
8Gb klevv urbane 2133
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Deepcool Lucifer V2
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Last edited by rluker5; 09-11-2019 at 09:31 AM.