Microsoft halts some AMD chip Meltdown patches after PCs freeze

REUTERS  Choi Dae-woong  File

Microsoft halts some AMD chip Meltdown patches after PCs freeze

Microsoft's report, issued Tuesday morning, triggered an immediate dip in Intel shares, which had already fallen 4.5 percent since word of the security problems leaked out last week.

If you have run into this issue and can get back into the OS, a little RegEdit wizardry can help you out so that you can move forward and get those security updates.

From the earliest rumors, the performance decrease from Meltdown and Spectre ranged from negligible (2% or less) to significant (20% or more), on both Linux servers and Windows machines.

Microsoft explained that the reason why Windows 7 and 8 are more impacted than Windows 10 is because the two use older kernels which perform more transitions between the kernel-mode and the user-mode. Presumably, it would take too much work to fix operating systems that are supposed to be discontinued in a few years anyway.

Windows Server on any [process], especially in any [input/output]-intensive application, shows a more significant performance impact when you enable the mitigations to isolate untrusted code within a Windows Server instance. "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". In an environment where multiple servers are sharing capabilities (such as exists in some cloud services configurations), these vulnerabilities could mean it is possible for someone to access information in one virtual machine from another.

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Intel was down about 0.6% before the blog post, and is trading about 1.65% lower after.

Intel continued to downplay the performance hits of these OS and firmware updates, stating that "based on our tests on SYSmark 2014 SE, a leading benchmark of PC performance, 8th Generation Core platforms with solid state storage will see a performance impact of 6 percent or less". 2015-era Windows 10 PCs with Haswell or older CPU might experience significant slowdowns. It said the number of chips affected by Meltdown was significantly less.

Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday that software patches released to guard against microchip security threats slowed down some personal computers and servers, with systems running on older Intel Corp processors seeing a noticeable decrease in performance.

Specifically, Windows 10 computers with 2016 Intel Skylake, Kabylake or newer processors showed "single-digit slowdowns", which Microsoft didn't expect most users to notice a change because these percentages are reflected in milliseconds.

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