Intel speeds up chips by offloading virus scans

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Intel will task GPUs with antivirus scanning.
Photo: Intel

Intel plans to offload virus scanning to improve the performance of its processors.

It will allow antivirus programs to use its integrated graphics chipsets when scanning for attacks, which will reduce processor and power consumption on some machines. It could mean that you’ll get more use out of your MacBook in between charges.

Everyone knows that antivirus programs can eat up CPU resources when scanning for malicious applications. This can dramatically slow down your computer if you’re already in the middle of an intensive task and your antivirus program decides it’s time to perform a scan.

Pushing your processor to the limit like that also means that it requires more power. Intel hopes to fix this problem by bringing integrated GPUs in to help.

Intel uses GPUs for virus scanning

Instead of putting a greater load on your CPU when an antivirus scan is carried out, Intel is going to start offloading that task to the integrated GPU, which is found on the same chipset.

“With Accelerated Memory Scanning, the scanning is handled by Intel’s integrated graphics processor, enabling more scanning, while reducing the impact on performance and power consumption,” explains Rick Echevarria, Intel’s platform security division VP.

This reduces CPU consumption so that any other tasks you’re carrying out can continue to take full advantage of the processing power available. And given that your computer rarely requires all the power of the GPU, it makes sense that tasks like this are offloaded.

“Early benchmarking on Intel test systems show CPU utilization dropped from 20 percent to as little as 2 percent,” adds Echevarria.

Intel is working with antivirus vendors

Accelerated Memory Scanning will be available on Intel’s sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-generation processors. If you have a relatively recent laptop or desktop machine, you should see some improvement in performance once the changes have been rolled out.

Intel is first working with Microsoft to allow Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to take advantage of its GPUs. It will then work with third-party antivirus vendors to ensure that their programs can do the same.

If you use an antivirus program on your Mac, then, your machine should benefit from Accelerated Memory Scanning later on.

Via: The Verge