MICROSOFT WARNED on Tuesday that software fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities could "significantly" impact the performance of some systems.
In a blog post, Microsoft's Terry Myerson said that, while the firm has yet to carry out extensive benchmarks, it has already found that the patches will bring with them a performance impact.
For those using Windows 10 on a newer 2016-era PC with Skylake, Kabylake or newer, Microsoft's early benchmarks show single-digit slowdowns, which means users are unlikely to notice much of a difference. Those running the OS on older silicon, however, such as 2015-era PCs with Haswell or older, can expect to see more "significant slowdowns", which means most likely will notice a decrease in system performance.
For the majority of Microsoft customers - those running Windows 7 or Windows 8 - the firm "expects most users to notice a decrease in system performance."
It's even worse news for Windows Server customers, so much so that Microsoft is advising that users "evaluate the risk of untrusted code for each Windows Server instance, and balance the security versus performance tradeoff for your environment."
Myerson adds: "Windows Server on any silicon, especially in any IO-intensive application, shows a more significant performance impact when you enable the mitigations to isolate untrusted code within a Windows Server instance."
Microsoft's statement suggests that slowdowns could be more substantial than Intel previously indicated.
Last week, the chipmaker said that these patches would not create any issues with computer slowdown. However, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich backtracked during his CES keynote on Monday, claiming that the impact will be "workload dependent".
"We believe the performance impact of these updates is highly workload dependent," Krzanich said.
"We expect some may have a larger impact than others, so we'll continue working with the industry to minimize the impact on those workloads over time.
Intel has said that it will patch "90 per cent" of affected processors made in the past five years by the end of this week, with the remaining 10 per cent to see fixes by the end of the month. µ
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