Microsoft says older PCs will run noticeably slower when patched

Intel has been hit by both Spectre and Meltdown and shares in all three chipmakers have been pushed around by the issues.

If existing systems slow, customers may need to purchase more servers just to get back to where they were before patches were applied, an extra cost that is likely to further arouse the ire of Intel customers. Then there was the question of the performance impacts from the security patches that were hurriedly being prepared. At the same time Intel supplied substantiative quotes from the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google.

Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President, Windows and Devices Group, wrote a piece on this very topic yesterday.

Hot on the heels of Intel's keynote at CES 2018, where CEO Brian Krzanich promised security fixes for Meltdown and Spectre, there are now reports that the fixes themselves are causing a decay in performance, slowing down personal computers and servers. Myerson went on to talk-up Microsoft's efforts in mitigating the vulnerabilities; he said out of the now supported 45 versions of Windows, 41 had already been updated, with the rest due to be patched soon.

For Skylake, Kaby Lake and newer running Windows 10, apparently single-digit slowdowns will be evident but with minimal impact.

Internet and networking equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc said in a security advisory updated on Tuesday that it has identified 18 vulnerable products, including some of its blade servers, rack servers and routers, and expects to have patches for servers in about five weeks, on February 18. Machines running Windows 7 and Windows 8 from 2015 or earlier will be the most affected with users noticing a decrease in system performance, Microsoft said. "After investigating, Microsoft has determined that some AMD chipsets do not conform to the documentation previously provided to Microsoft to develop the Windows operating system mitigations to protect against the chipset vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown", Microsoft said in a statement. These flaws affect almost every modern processor and impact a wide range of devices which use these chips, such as computers, smartphones, tablets and servers.

Releases to date from chipmakers have concerned central processing units (CPU) rather than graphics processors.

The security patches unveiled by Nvidia relate to software drivers that let its chips work with operating systems like Windows.

In news related to the above, MSI has pushed out BIOS updates for its range of Z370-series motherboards.

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