Spectre and Meltdown may force long term changes in CPU design

But Microsoft placed the blame squarely on AMD, stating on its website that "some AMD chipsets do not conform to the documentation previously provided to Microsoft to develop the Windows operating system mitigations to protect against the chipset vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown". Now, Intel's released some hard numbers, and perhaps to the consternation of the "everything is 30% slower" doomsayers, the actual impact for client users on modern machines appears to be minimal. For example, Microsoft's security update ended up rendering useless some PCs equipped with AMD chips, forcing them into a perpetual blue screen of death.

To Nvidia's surprise, its good deed was met with harsh criticism from the media, with many publications falsely reporting that its standalone GPUs are at risk from Spectre, pulling the company into the firing line.

Microsoft gave a more pessimistic appraisal than Intel's initial assessments, particularly for servers that form the backbone of corporate networks. Meltdown appears to be exclusive to Intel CPUs, and allows attackers to read privileged memory from an unprivileged context, still using the speculative execution feature.

Intel shares were down about half a percent to $43.20 in after-hours trading after the announcement.

Earlier today, Intel announced it discovered some performance hits after implementing its own mitigation solutions at the chip level. All of this was possible through the unique way existing data was processed or as Krzanich puts it, "the unseen driving force of the next wave of technological revolution".

Watching the order in which the plates land lets observers infer the data, he told Reuters during an interview on Wednesday at the tech industry's CES conference in Las Vegas.

Microsoft took the rare step Tuesday of detailing exactly how its latest security fix would impact your computer's performance - down to the millisecond. The company also said that in bench-marking tests, there was "no measurable reduction in the performance" of the devices run by macOS or iOS. Cavium said it aimed to rival the performance of Intel chips for applications like databases and the content-delivery networks that help speed things like how fast online videos load.

CEO Brian Krzanich has promised more transparency from Intel in a seperate post, saying it would publicly disclose significant vulnerabilities and add funding for "academic and independent research into potential security threats", as well as consistent progress reports for all issued and forthcoming patches. They confirmed they were working closely with AMD, ARM Holdings and operating system vendors to resolve the issue.

Who is impacted by Meltdown & Spectre?

What is being done to prevent similar problems in the future? The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.