Got an Old PC ? Meltdown and Spectre issues will hit it hard on performance

2018 started with bad news for all CPU, just not Intel, because of the CPU architecture which has vulnerabilities that can allow websites to execute malicious JavaScript to get unauthorized access. What is even sad is that if you are still rocking an old PC, the performance issue will hit you even harder.

Microsoft has revealed the impact of the patches for these vulnerabilities in a series of benchmark reports which will be published in detail in coming weeks. Microsoft’s Terry Myerson detailed the finding officially in the blog post, and as expected it doesn’t look good. Windows PCs will be hit worst.

Here is the summary of what we have found so far:

  • With Windows 10 on newer silicon (2016-era PCs with Skylake, Kabylake or newer CPU), benchmarks show single-digit slowdowns, but we don’t expect most users to notice a change because these percentages are reflected in milliseconds.
  • With Windows 10 on older silicon (2015-era PCs with Haswell or older CPU), some benchmarks show more significant slowdowns, and we expect that some users will notice a decrease in system performance.
  • With Windows 8 and Windows 7 on older silicon (2015-era PCs with Haswell or older CPU), we expect most users to notice a decrease in system performance
  • 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. This is why you want to be careful to evaluate the risk of untrusted code for each Windows Server instance, and balance the security versus performance tradeoff for your environment.

Those running Windows 7, and Windows 8 should know that the OS has more user-kernel transitions because of the design e.g. even the Font rendering is on the kernel level. However, those PCs running Windows 10 on Skylake and beyond,  Intel has refined the instructions to counter the performance.

Microsoft has started releasing the patches, though they aren’t having really good time with those on AMD, eventually, it will be countered. I guess if you are running an older version of Windows on the Older version of PC, its time to move on.

Yogesh Mankani is a freelance content writer from last 6 years. His passion for blogging, giving words to his ideas and thoughts is what makes him fall more in love with his profession which he takes very personally.


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