Recently discovered Intel CPUs processor design flaw

Games are generally tight loops of code with not much i/o going on (once all textures are loaded) - a DAW is running hundreds of separate programs as well as streaming possibly hundreds of channels of i/o - all which will require fresh calls to the OS kernel - I would expect DAWs to be one of the (single user) worse case scenarios for the performance hit by isolating kernel memory from tasks.

This is a concern for me too. How much of a hit will the fix cause, 5%? 50%? And will that hit cause knock-on bottlenecks to real-time processing?

You could keep your studio PC offline - ie: don’t accept the update.

It is easy to block windows update with a firewall like tinywall. It is a front end to windows firewall and it uses no cpu cycles at all.

Well I have just bit the bullet and patched my main DAW.

I ran passmark before and after the patch and there was virtually no difference in the results for all categories, CPU, 2D GFX, 3D GFX, memory or Disk. In fact the disk result was 5% faster after the patch.

I then fired up a couple of Cubase 9.5Pro stress test projects which I made a while ago to exercise the machine and check for weaknesses. One has multiple large VSTi samplers, including 17 instances of Ivory with the largest sample sets all playing concurrently, the other with many, many VST fx. All still play perfectly after the patch, and I could not detect any difference in CPU performance since before the patch.

So from these initial tests, it appears there is nothing to fear from these patches. Considering these will be the initial rushed emergency patch, it is likely that they will if anything get even better when the vendors have had more time to analyse the situation fully.

I was fearful about these patches as only 2 weeks ago I got brand new kick butt hardware especially to run Cubase, and would not have been amused if my considerable investment had been somewhat curtailed. But it seems not to be the case, and I can detect no operational differences after the patch.

It seems that the worst affected people are servers and server farms, so hopefully Cubase users will continue to be OK.

I patched my machine and did a test. My test project with a bazillion plugins hovering at 98% average asio utilization stayed the same and played with no glitches. The project has probably 60 insert plugins and more than a dozen VSTi including 3 Kontakt instances loading instruments from a NAS. Although the project played fine, Samsung Magician reported my SSD IOPS dropped 30%, I haven’t done the exact math but write IOPS went from 51K to 33K. I can believe this, as my project took forever to load. I suspect my network performance has been substantially impacted also, but I haven’t tested that. l I have a dual Xeon system with ancient processors. Old CPUs (with no CPID support) were expected to be impacted more severely than a newer processor would be. In any case, as long as the test projects behaves as before, which it did, I’m OK.

-E

@SledDriver @eli_lilly
thank you for report guys.

I have just updated as well. Compared performance of one of the recent projects. It has one Kontakt instance, one Superior drummer 3 and several audio tracks with lots of plugins. Before patch WIndows CPU meter showed 34-35%useage after patch it’s something around 35-36% not big deal after all.
Will be testing more and report back if something significant comes up.

No change in Cubase performance here after patch

Hippo

I’ve disabled windows update for now. I’ve heard mixed replies from people who’ve had the patch. A common complaint seems to be SSD read performance being hit to a noticeable degree for some. The other thing was a slight increase in asio load and CPU usage (1-2%). Not heard many people experiencing other problems so far.

Well, let’s all hope the performance impact has been over-egged, in theory lots of i/o and lots of threads means a lot of context switches - as I said before, DAWs are all about context switches which is why I was pessimistic about performance, but if in the big scheme of things this only adds a couple of percent of CPU load, most of us probably won’t notice. (fingers crossed!)

Similarly, I updated with the patch earlier today on a Win 7 Pro machine. There was no perceivable performance degradation, in my case with Nuendo version 8.1.

Anyone know what’s the name of the windows update/patch?

Ditto. And is there a way to limit the patch update on my W10 Pro system to security patches only - excluding MS from slipping in things like Fall Creators Edition?

I’m still looking for definite recommendations, but as far as I currently understand it I’m not sure that a simple OS patch solves the vulnerability. A firmware/microcode update may be necessary via a BIOS update or whatever, and that could make additional performance losses happen.

Also discussed on GerarSlutz, if anyone cares.
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/1195758-intel-cpus-have-major-security-flaw-fixing-causes-huge-performance-hit.html

For Win 10, It’s called KB4056892. For Win 7 it’s called KB4056897.

Thanks!

However I don’t know the result of installing the Win 10 update manually from the Microsoft Catalog page. My Cumulative Win 10 KB4056892 was installed automatically on my Win 10 Creators Edition with automatic updates. If you’ve turned off updates completely, you’d probably want the Delta edition from the Microsoft Catalog page but I’m not really sure, maybe someone else does.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4056892/windows-10-update-kb4056892

If you’re not using automatic updates in Win 10, there are different update/patch versions for earlier versions of Win 10:

(from https://www.reddit.com/r/buildapcsales/comments/7o5pzk/meta_microsoft_is_rolling_out_an_emergency_patch/) :

Microsoft is rolling out updates automatically (you will automatically receive the update soon via Windows Update)

but you can manually download the update now if you want to:

1709: https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4056892
1703: https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=kb4056891
1607: https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4056890
1511: https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4056888
1507: https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4056893

Update any anti-virus software you are using before installing the security patches from Microsoft

In Win10, to see which version you are running, type winver in a command prompt

The OS patch will only protect against Meltdown. You will need a BIOS update to protect against Spectre.