Microsoft has warned users that its resolution for the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities may cause some performance issues, particularly for those on pre-2016 Intel processors.
According to Microsoft’s security advisory, the performance reduction is related to the second variant of the Spectre vulnerability; classified as CVE 2017-5715. The developers have had to rewrite the CPU instructions to prevent attackers from abusing the predictive tasks arrangement.
For the most part, computers running on Intel’s Skylake and later processors will only see single digit percentage drops in performance. It’s unlikely to be noticeable for the majority of users, where processor loads are rarely pushed to their limits for long periods of time.
On the other hand, Haswell and older processors will see double digit performance drops. Microsoft claims that those on older versions of Windows will be affected more than those on Windows 10; but it looks like everyone across the board will experience slower computers.
It may be tempting for some to skip installing the security update to avoid the performance hit, but that only invites more danger. Especially since these two vulnerabilities are understood to be rather critical and could result in becoming the victim of all sorts of cybercriminals.
AMD users are not entirely spared either. Microsoft has halted updates for these systems while it figures out why the patch prevents some machines from booting up.