Intel nightmare

I am completely freaked out by this:

I mean, a ~30% performance penalty across the board, coming to every Intel-based system? If Apple deploys the same kind of fix that Microsoft and Linux are already working on, it would probably render my iMac incapable of supporting the music production I am currently doing on it. I can only hope Apple (and Microsoft, too, although the latter seems unlikely) will make it an optional patch - I'd much rather run a slightly elevated risk of having my systems compromised than to basically render them useless for the sake of being slightly more secure.

Pier Bover

Active Member
I doubt the patch will be optional as this is a very serious security threat.

I also doubt that regular users will notice a performance difference as most CPUs sit idling. Cloud servers providers will be the biggest companies hit by this.

As for audio I really have no idea how it will impact real time performance. Maybe it will be time to move to a PC with AMD (I’m a mac user too).
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"The downside to this separation is that it is relatively expensive, time wise, to keep switching between two separate address spaces for every system call and for every interrupt from the hardware."

This is potentially very serious for DAW users. This could kill any hope of decent low-latency audio performance in any but the most modern/fastest processors (and maybe even those). We'll have to see when the patch is released and forced upon us in the usual Windows Update fashion...

Suddenly Ryzen/AMD begins to look more appealing... assuming Microsoft don't apply the patch across all processor types!
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n trepreneur
"Cloud migration, consumer device saturation and the defeat of Moore's law prompt big tech to slow down all systems by 25% to shorten the hardware replacement cycle" it says here;)

Celestial Aeon

Active Member
Has anyone tried if these kinds of hacks might allow you to turn Windows 10 autoupdates off from studio machines?


I followed these guidelines and disabled the auto updates for the time being. I'm going to leave my Windows 10 Cubase 9 environment as it is and just connect it to internet behind firewall only for possible Native Instruments updates or such if needed and then upgrade the Windows 10 only after I purchase a new CPU.
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Active Member
This is a significant event. Reports are showing at least a 5% performance hit and up to 30% with the current patches. This very well may not change as the problem is specific and unavoidable, outside of purchasing a new chip once chips with a fix are manufactured. The administrative headaches and costs incurred for this vulnerability will cause for companies is going to be enormous. If you think about it, virtualized systems are going to get hit hard. I/O intensive workloads like databases, machine learning, etc. may be the worst hit. For us DAW using consumers we will also be hit performance wise, at least from the I/O interrupt side. Of course, we won't know until some testing is done, but I cannot imagine that having every single interrupt call being delayed will not have an impact on performance.

At this point we have three main choices:
1. Do nothing.
2. Take your DAW offline and use another box to handle all on line activity.
3. Use the patch and take the performance hit.

Financially and administratively we will take a hit because the real solution to the problem will be to upgrade to a newer chip that doesn't have the vulnerability. (And possibly a new motherboard if their current MB doesn't support the new chip.) That's not cheap. Mac Users won't have the option of just swapping out chips, they will have to upgrade their entire system. We will then have to deal with everything that goes with hardware changes. Windows and any software that uses hardware authentication will have to be reinstalled or re-authorized. Ugh.

While nothing is set in stone yet, the current fix is bad. It's kind of like if you break your leg in the woods and have to walk out on a splint. You might be able to do it, but it's going to be slow. I consider this patch to be a quick fix; really, it had to be. Hackers will descend on this vulnerability like vultures on a fresh corpse. Companies (and consumers) need to board up the hole in the wall first and foremost and then look at a more elegant solution. So we will have to wait and see. In a true sense of irony, AMD was happy to announce the vulnerability did not apply to AMD chips. However, the Linux fix currently does not differentiate between AMD and Intel and thus AMD users who install the patch will also get the performance hit. Microsoft hasn't released a patch yet and apparently won't until the next Patch Tuesday (an eternity if you ask me) and so we won't know if they differentiate between brands or not. Fortunately, the details of the vulnerability are not being published, so any hackers working on this are working somewhat in the dark.

How this turns out will be very interesting. I can't think of a vulnerability that comes close to the potential cost this one could cause. If you think about it, all Intel 64 chips are affected! That is *huge* and different from a software vulnerability. The hardware fix has to be done via a software patch. This means highly inefficient and thus performance hits. For businesses, SLAs will be impacted and some quite significantly. This will mean hardware will have to be upgraded and that will drive administrative work and probably drive higher software costs. It's a domino effect. At least with software patches you patch the software and move on as performance hits of any significance are rare. As consumers, we are now vulnerable. We just don't know to *what* and if it will amount to anything. We can be certain hackers are looking at any way possible to exploit not only immediately, but in ways to set up future exploitation when we think the issue is resolved. So, we will have to watch how this develops closely and see what happens. For me, I'll keep my work computer on line, but my DAW is going off line, at least until this whole thing shakes out.
This is a significant event ... For me, I'll keep my work computer on line, but my DAW is going off line, at least until this whole thing shakes out.
That's where my head is as well. Even though I am right in the middle of a project right now, I am risking installing the currently available updates to Logic and my sample libraries today, so that I am as up to date on that stuff as possible in case I decide that I need to suddenly pull the Ethernet plug on the DAW for the foreseeable future, which is looking more and more likely. (The biggest question for me at the moment is what Apple plans to do about this, and when, and whether it will be an optional or mandatory patch.)
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Apple doesn’t force updates in the same way Microsoft does with Windows updates.

It’s made the BBC news page now!


Senior Member
Wow. 30%!? Thats quite a lot. Hopefully it wont turn out to be as bad as it sounds. Kindo of gald i went AMD after reading this!

Rasmus Hartvig

Active Member
This sounds pretty bad. If the impact really turns out to be that massive, I would expect some kind of damage control from Intel - or a class action suit.


Active Member
I'm hoping this is being blown out of proportion but I plan on backing up my system drive more often.
Apple released the "fix" with 10.13.2 about a month ago:

High Sierra only, then? I'm still running Sierra. If so, looks like yet another reason not to upgrade, potentially, although I'd have expected to have heard more of an outcry from High Sierra users afterwards. Maybe Mac OS X isn't hit as hard as Windows by this? (That would make me a little bit happier, although I also have a Windows gaming system upon which I am dreading the effects of this "fix".)


KSP Wizard
Yes it is hit as hard as Windows by this. It's a CPU issue, not an OS issue. Depends what you ask the CPU to do, the impact by the fix is different. Both operating systems can ask the CPU to do the same things, since they're using the same CPUs with the same instruction set, soooo...


Active Member
The real question for us DAW users is what will the hardware interrupt performance hit be. I/O execution for things like reading and writing to disk, audio interface communication, communication to slave systems if you have them, etc.
Yes it is hit as hard as Windows by this. It's a CPU issue, not an OS issue. Depends what you ask the CPU to do, the impact by the fix is different. Both operating systems can ask the CPU to do the same things, since they're using the same CPUs with the same instruction set, soooo...
Elsewhere I read that OS X doesn't make as many kernel calls as Windows does, and hence it may be less affected by the hardware issue. If that's the case, then I can imagine that one OS might be more adversely affected than the other.


KSP Wizard
It all depends on which operations it does do kernel calls. If it's I/O and hardware interrupts (and it most likely is), you're definitely fckd.