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Intel taps GPU power for next-gen virus scanning

(Image credit: Image Credit: StockStudio / Shutterstock)

In an effort to improve system performance and battery life, Intel will soon allow virus scanning software to utilise its integrated graphics chipsets to scan for malicious attacks. 

Vice President of Intel's platform security division, Rick Echevarria explained the move would free up other system resources, saying: 

“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. Earl benchmarking on Intel test systems shows CPU utilization dropped from 20 percent to as little as 2 percent.” 

Intel's new Threat Detection Technology will be available on 6th, 7th and 8th generation Intel processors which will allow a number of systems to use their GPU to handle some virus scanning. Currently virus scanning software utilises a system's CPU to detect against memory-based attacks which results in a drop in performance. By moving these processes to the GPU instead of the CPU, Intel hopes to improve performance as well as power consumption. 

The chipmaker is working closely with Microsoft to support this change and it will be coming to Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) this month.  Intel is also collaborating closely with antivirus vendors so that they can implement this change in their own software. 

The company's decision to handle virus scanning using the GPUs built into its chips makes a great deal of sense after its own Spectre and Meltdown patches led to a drop in performance for many systems.  Hopefully though, this shouldn't be the case in Intel's future processors and moving virus scanning off of the CPU is a great start. 

Image Credit: StockStudio / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.