CPU Drift Issues


I have seen a few cases where administrators have been concerned with CPU Drift and think that the SQL Server ERRORLOG reporting the following message is a serious cause for concern:

Error message 1
The time stamp counter of CPU on scheduler id 2 is not synchronized with other CPUs.
Error message 2

CPU time stamp frequency has changed from 191469 to 1794177 ticks per millisecond. The new frequency will be used

The SQL Server ERRORLOG reports a variety of informational, error and warning messages and not all messages are problems. This message is just telling you that CPU frequency between one or more processors is not synchronized. And how does this affect you??
Quoting from one of the below articles:

"Generally the Microsoft SQL Server support team considers drift less than several seconds, noise."

If you are concerned that the drift values are actually affecting your test results, then it would be a good idea to have the Speed Step, Power Now etc. features turned off during your testing phase. This would require changes at the BIOS level. Also, it would be a good idea to have consulted your H/W manufacturer and find out if there are any updates that require to be installed. Once again, I reiterate unless the drift values are constantly reporting several seconds for prolonged periods, only then do we have a Beginning of a problem, otherwise these warnings are mostly noise.
Additionally, trace flag (–T8033) can be used to suppress the drift warnings. However, please do not enable this trace flag on an instance of SQL Server 2005 unless and until, you fully understand the ramifications of ignoring the drift warnings.

Related Links
SQL Server timing values may be incorrect when you use utilities or technologies that change CPU frequencies
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/931279/en-us
SQL Server 2005 SP2 will introduce new messages to the error log related to timing activities
http://blogs.msdn.com/psssql/archive/2006/11/27/sql-server-2005-sp2-will-introduce-new-messages-to-the-error-log-related-to-timing-activities.aspx
SQL Server 2005 – RDTSC Truths and Myths Discussed
http://blogs.msdn.com/psssql/archive/2007/08/19/sql-server-2005-rdtsc-truths-and-myths-discussed.aspx

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