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We assume you’re fully aware of Meltdown and Spectre, the two new, and rather scary, CPU exploits, by now. If not, then read our overview of Meltdown and Spectre before continuing. Done? Good. Now it’s time to find out exactly how the Windows updates Microsoft has released will affect your PC.
We have written a whole article answering the question, “Is your Windows PC affected by Meltdown and Spectre?” And now, thanks to Microsoft, we know how the firmware updates designed to fix these CPU exploits will affect your computer. And it’s fair to say there’s some good news and bad news.
Microsoft Reveals Potential Performance Impacts
In a blog post titled, “Understanding the performance impact of Spectre and Meltdown mitigations on Windows Systems,” Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of the Windows and Devices Group, shares what Microsoft has learned so far about the impact its updates will have on performance.
Essentially, if you’re using an older computer (2015 or earlier) running Windows 7 or Windows 8 then you may notice the change in performance. However, if you’re using a newer computer (2016 and later) running Windows 10 then you probably won’t notice the miniscule change in performance.
Diving deeper, Windows 10 PCs with Skylake, Kaby Lake, or newer processors show “single-digit slowdowns […] reflected in milliseconds.” Older Windows 10 PCs with Haswell or older processors may be affected more, but older PCs running Windows 7 or Windows 8 will be the worst hit.
Microsoft is also warning that Windows Server “shows a more significant performance impact.” So any IT admins reading this should be careful to “evaluate the risk of untrusted code for each Windows Server instance, and balance the security versus performance tradeoff for your environment.”
Have Spectre and Meltdown Been Vanquished?
Microsoft has released this information as part of its commitment to “being as transparent and factual as possible to help our customers make the best possible decisions for their devices.” Which is to the company’s credit. Let’s just hope Spectre and Meltdown have been vanquished.
Have you updated your Windows PC to safeguard against Meltdown and Spectre? If so, have you noticed any effect on the performance of your computer? Are you worried about Meltdown and Spectre? Or do you consider the issue fixed? Please let us know in the comments below!