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Computing

Fixing Chipmageddon Will Slow Down Older Computers

January 9, 2018

Microsoft has come out and said it: cures for the pervasive chip flaws Meltdown and Spectre are likely to dent the performance of your PC if it’s a few years old.

Slowdown lowdown:  In a blog post, Microsoft’s head of Windows says older machines, particularly ones running Windows 7 or 8 on Intel’s Haswell chips, will see performance fall after updates to protect against Spectre. Computers running Windows 10 on the same chips will also see some decrease in performance. Newer chips will be largely unaffected.

AMD users wait: The Verge says Microsoft has hit pause on issuing security updates for AMD chips after reports that fixes prevented computers from booting. Microsoft blamed AMD’s documentation for the issue.

More to come: Microsoft’s announcement may force other companies, like Apple and Google, to be more forthcoming about how security updates affect performance of Macs, iPhones, and Android devices.

Deep Dive

Computing

Linux hack concept
Linux hack concept

The US military wants to understand the most important software on Earth

Open-source code runs on every computer on the planet—and keeps America’s critical infrastructure going. DARPA is worried about how well it can be trusted

Close up of worker inspecting chip in a clean room
Close up of worker inspecting chip in a clean room

Corruption is sending shock waves through China’s chipmaking industry

The arrests of several top semiconductor fund executives could force the government to rethink how it invests in the sector.

inflection point post-NSO concept
inflection point post-NSO concept

The hacking industry faces the end of an era

But even if NSO Group is no more, there are plenty of rivals who will rush in to take its place. And the same old problems haven’t gone away.

The Western Union Building, 60 Hudson Street, c. 1931.
The Western Union Building, 60 Hudson Street, c. 1931.

Energy-hungry data centers are quietly moving into cities

Companies are pushing more server farms into the hearts of population centers.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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