Performance Dip on Old Windows Versions Due Meltdown & Spectre Fixes


Microsoft has temporarily stopped distributing patches to computers and devices running AMD processors after acknowledging that its Windows security updates for the vulnerabilities known as Meltdown and Spectre left some computers in an "unbootable state". Of the three variants, only the second requires a complementary microcode update on the host machine.

After Microsoft recently confirmed that it is mitigating the Meltdown vulnerability with automatic updates, reports have fallen in that Microsoft's fix for the bug, may be crocking AMD-powered PCs.

Microsoft said on Tuesday the patches released to guard against the Meltdown and Spectre security threats slowed down some personal computers and servers, with systems running on older Intel processors seeing a noticeable decrease in performance. Spectre, on the other hand, is only an issue inside web browsers, but it's also a problem for some AMD and ARM processors, as well as Intel.

No matter which version of Windows, machines that use 2015-era Haswell CPUs or older will experience "significant slowdowns", according to Microsoft. It's worth noting that the Windows Server is also affected and Microsoft recommends the IT admins to think twice before patching Meltdown and Spectre.

You can read exactly what Microsoft has to say about this over on it support pages. "That's why we've chosen to provide more context and information today and why we released updates and remediations as quickly as we could on January 3".

Last week, Intel called reports of the flaw's severity "wildly inaccurate" and said most people wouldn't notice any slowdown in performance after installing security fixes.

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In our own tests, we saw that the Meltdown update didn't have too much of an impact on storage performance, but it looks like Spectre is the patch that can slow down systems to a larger degree, especially if they are older.

Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, a Westborough, Mass. -based cloud solution provider, hasn't come across any AMD-related performance issues among his company's customers.

Microsoft has released a patch that will be delivered in your normal update cycle for your laptop.

More precisely, this is how Meltdown and Spectre patches are going to affect Microsoft's products, as detailed today by Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of the Windows and Devices Group.

The Verge points out that Microsoft has issued a statement on its blog addressing the problem.