Spectre Patch Causes 'Significant Slowdown' On Older OS, Chips

It said it had no reason to believe the drivers were troubled by the second flaw dubbed Meltdown

Microsoft has scaled back its rollout of a Windows patch against the Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws after reports the update was crashing computers with AMD processors. "I understand that making the machine unbootable is the best protection from remote exploitation, but I would rather have the OS working", AMD PC user Jaroslav Škarvada said in a forum posting.

Microsoft has reports of customers with some AMD devices getting into an unbootable state after installing recent Windows operating system security updates. There's no way to fix the flaw in the processor itself, and the update can be problematic for certain antivirus software and stop computers from starting up. Many Intel chips and at least some chips built by ARM also have Meltdown and Spectre flaws.

Intel continued to downplay the performance hits of these OS and firmware updates, stating that "based on our tests on SYSmark 2014 SE, a leading benchmark of PC performance, 8th Generation Core platforms with solid state storage will see a performance impact of 6 percent or less". If you do happen to install the update, then Microsoft's support page has a fix that should help. In order to eliminate the potential risk, software vendors, including Microsoft, had to release updates to their products.

Because Windows clients interact with untrusted code in many ways, including browsing webpages with advertisements and downloading apps, our recommendation is to protect all systems with Windows Updates and silicon microcode updates.

Intel's shares sank in the two days after the chip vulnerabilities were disclosed last week, while AMD shares are up more than 15% since January 2, the day before news of the security flaws was widely disclosed. The Meltdown and Spectre patches add security checks in-between those transitions, which explains why the performance degradation is larger on these operating systems.


Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, a Westborough, Mass. -based cloud solution provider, hasn't come across any AMD-related performance issues among his company's customers.

We knew Windows systems would be affected when a data scientist reported last week that Python now takes more to process the same data on a patched Windows 7 PC.

On Tuesday, Microsoft released its regularly scheduled monthly batch of Windows patches.

Meltdown and Spectre fiasco is affecting nearly all Windows PCs and Phones and with processors manufactured by Intel, AMD, and ARM.

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the issue in a statement provided to The Verge.

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