Meltdown and Spectre: Microsoft's bug fix reportedly crocking AMD PCs

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich speaks during an Intel press event for CES 2017

Customers that found their computers unable to boot following the update must now visit Microsoft's support site to restore their machine, while both Microsoft and AMD work to resume the availability of patch-equipped software updates.

The PC industry is still trying to come to grips with the fallout from the revelation of the Meltdown and Spectre chip vulnerabilities. Microsoft offers guidance for AMD/Windows users impacted by the situation in this post. In general, our experience is that Variant 1 and Variant 3 mitigations have minimal performance impact, while Variant 2 remediation, including OS and microcode, has a performance impact.

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.

Microsoft's VP of Cloud and Enterprise Scott Guthrie helped move Azure onto Intel
Microsoft's VP of Cloud and Enterprise Scott Guthrie helped move Azure onto Intel

Another step the company took involved "reducing the resolution of performance.now () in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer from 5 microseconds to 20 microseconds, with variable jitter of up to an additional 20 microseconds", wrote Hazen in a blog post. Myerson noted that Microsoft is now performing its own benchmark studies and plans to publish the results when done.

The basic gist here is this: the older your processor and the older your Windows version, the bigger the performance impact will be.

Microsoft said that it is still testing the speed impacts of updating systems, and it doesn't have concrete numbers yet. The other one called Specter affects not only Intel products, but also chips manufactured by AMD and ARM.

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"Based on our most recent PC benchmarking, we continue to expect that the performance impact should not be significant for average computer users", Intel said in a statement.

"This means the typical home and business PC user should not see significant slowdowns in common tasks such as reading email, writing a document or accessing digital photos", it said.

Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday that software patches released to guard against microchip security threats slowed down some personal computers and servers, with systems running on older Intel Corp processors seeing a noticeable decrease in performance. It said the number of chips affected by Meltdown was significantly less.

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Microsoft had issued updates for AMD devices, but has had to put the delivery of the patch on pause following a slew of complaints from customers on its customer support channels.

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