Microsoft has released a statement on the ongoing security issues that affect most modern desktop and mobile processors from both AMD and Intel and it has some users concerned. Although Intel has claimed that it won't have a noticeable impact on system performance, Microsoft says otherwise, stating that older PCs could run noticeably slower with the patch in place.
The two vulnerabilities in question, Spectre and Meltdown, come in several variants but effectively allow surprisingly deep access to a system for bugs that went undiscovered for many years. Now that they are known about though, a fix is incredibly important and we now have those patches rolling out. Even with the potential for performance impacts, it's still paramount that they are installed.
But how significant are these slowdowns expected to be? "In a blog post, Microsoft's executive VP of Windows and Devices Group, Terry Myerson said that 2016-era PCs with Skylake, Kabylake or newer CPUs will expect to see single-digit slowdowns in certain settings. The more worrisome issue is with older PCs from the 2015-era and earlier. Those chips could see more significant slowdowns, which are likely to be noticeable to the average user.
Although Windows 10 users are also affected, the effect will be most obvious on Windows 7 and 8 systems -- giving everyone another reason to upgrade if they haven't already.
One avenue that could help mitigate these problems a little is a BIOS update. Manufacturers like MSI have already released a number of flashable BIOS updates for its motherboard ranges, so users are encouraged to use them if applicable. Check your manufacturer's website for the latest drivers and BIOS patches.
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