August 14, 2018

Most PCs will get slower because of the chip flaw fix

13 January 2018, 02:07 | Casey Mitchell

Most PCs will get slower because of the chip flaw fix

Most PCs will get slower because of the chip flaw fix

Meltdown and Spectre represent two of the largest, most fundamental flaws in computer processor designs in the past 20 years. Systems equipped with 8th generation (Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake) chips and SSDs will be the least affected, with the expected impact being less than 6 percent.

The open letter also comes after Krzanich was criticised for selling stock before the vulnerabilities were made public. An Intel spokesperson was not immediately available to comment for this story.

The flaw could allow a nonprivileged user to access passwords or secret keys on a computer or a multitenant cloud server, explained Stratechery analyst Ben Thompson in a post Myerson referenced.

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G Suite and Google Cloud platforms have been updated to protect against known attacks, the company said, though it acknowledged concerns that a variant of Spectre is considered more hard to defend against.

Security researchers disclosed the flaws that affected almost every modern computing device containing chips from Intel, AMD and ARM Holdings, owned by Japan's SoftBank Group. Almost every Intel (INTC) computer processor made starting in 1995 is vulnerable to both Meltdown and Spectre - a situation Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said, during a CES 2018 keynote, would be addressed within the next week or so.

Graphics specialist Nvidia was the latest chipmaker to say its equipment was vulnerable to the Spectre security threat, broadening the scope of concern for millions of computers beyond their central processors.

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The aftermath of the publicising of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities has seen many report slower machines as protective patch updates are installed. Earlier in the week, Microsoft had to pause updates for devices with AMD chips following customer complaints of machines freezing at start-up.

While Intel has been the overwhelming focus during the fallout surrounding the Meltdown and Spectre processor exploits revealed last week, AMD has managed to, for the most part, fly below the radar.

Microsoft has stopped all updates from being blasted onto AMD-powered PCs, so that they won't be bricked. In each case, AMD will supply to OEMs who will then need to make sure they are passed on to the user. It also insisted that it has yet to receive any information that the Spectre/Meltdown flaw has been used to obtain customer data, but it's probably for the best to install the fix when you get it anyway.

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David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey.

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