Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How fast is AES-NI on a Mac?

Previously I looked at the then new Apple Mac laptops with Core i CPUs and their AES-NI hardware extensions. Since then I've learnt that the openssl shipping with Mac OSX Lion has not been compiled with AES-NI support.

Here's an easy way to tell. From the command line run "openssl engine"

$ openssl engine
(aesni) Intel AES-NI engine
(dynamic) Dynamic engine loading support(dynamic) Dynamic engine loading support

See the line "(aesni) Intel AES-NI engine"? if its not there, then its not happening.

And thats how I know openssl on Mac OSX Lion 10.7.4 doesn't have it.

So how to benchmark? Turns out that Truecrypt has a benchmarking engine.

1.  Launch Truecrypt and click "Create Volume"

2.  Then click "create an encrypted file container"

3.  Give it a name, doesn't matter what and where, we'll never save it

4.  Then Benchmark

5.  When this screen loads, select a buffer size and press Benchmark. Try not to have any other processes eg browsers running since this will skew the results.

Here's an example - this is a Core 2 Duo at 2.26GHz

and Core i5 at 1.6 GHz with AES-NI

As you'd expect, huge difference!

Some more here

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