A couple of weeks ago the CPU market was turned upside down as security researchers at Google Project Zero, the Technical University of Graz and Cerberus Security revealed to the world their findings of Spectre and Meltdown, vulnerabilities which are in almost all the processors around the world.
The exploits were created by using the architecture used by most modern CPUs against them. Most modern operating systems use a kernel in order to mediate between the operating system and the rest of the computer. Most chips use clever engineering in order to speed up communication between the kernel and the OS. A more in-depth description of the exploits can be found here.
Google Project Zero stated there was no proof that anyone had ever used the exploits, but there really is no way to be sure. Panic was at an all-time high when Apple, Microsoft, and the Linux Community pushed out patches in order to address the issue. Reportedly, the cure came at a cost.
The patches seemed to slow down processors by as much as 30 percent. This news panicked some PC gamers, as 30 percent slower will not work when gaming.
[We] continue to believe that the performance impact of these updates is highly workload dependent and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time.
Problems related to the patch are more likely to affect server-side enterprise solutions such as cloud computing and database applications. Epic Games backed this idea up by claiming that they saw the patch effect server stability for their game Fortnite.
Paul Acorn, a contributing editor at Tom's Hardware said it best
Everyone needs to relax.
Everyday users should not see the drastic effects of the patches. Computer usage should go by normally for everyone and no one needs to worry about any effects towards their CPU, particularly any that will result in a slowdown.
Were you worried when you first heard about Spectre and Meltdown? Let us know in the comments.