Meltdown and Spectre and thoughts on buying a new computer

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Meltdown and Spectre and thoughts on buying a new computer

Bill Stanley
Hi,

It is about time to think about buying a new computer but I am concerned
about Meltdown and Spectre.  I understand that Intel and AMD are still
working to remove the bug from their firmware.  I don't want to buy any
new computer with a chip that must immediately be patched.  Is there any
estimates when the fixed chips will be released by Intel or AMD?  Also,
how would I be sure that any new computer would not have the defective
chip, even if the manufacturer says it is OK?    I plan to dual boot and
about 90% of the time I use Linux so the Windows vulnerability is a concern.

Bill Stanley


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Re: Meltdown and Spectre and thoughts on buying a new computer

Ralf Mardorf-5
On Fri, 2 Mar 2018 20:59:31 -0500, Bill wrote:
>It is about time to think about buying a new computer but I am
>concerned about Meltdown and Spectre.

Hi,

consider if Meltdown and Spectre have got substantial impact on
security for your kind of computer usage. I'm waitig for a
heavy drop in prices and then will replace my 6.60.3 Intel Celeron
G1840 by a multi-core Pentium.

I've got the impression that the performance of the OS I'm running in a
qcow VM from a SSD heavily slowes down with page-table isolation
enabled, but the reason for this might be another issue, I didn't make
valid tests. Apart from this, I never run a real-time audio session
with Meltdown and Spectre mitigations.

My computer is a digital audio workstation mainly aimed for real-time
audio sessions, so I don't have that much concerns regarding security.

My bootloader provides entries to boot with page-table isolation
disabled:

[rocketmouse@archlinux ~]$ grep nopti /boot/syslinux/syslinux.cfg | grep AP
    APPEND root=LABEL=archlinux ro threadirqs nopti
    APPEND root=LABEL=archlinux ro nopti
[rocketmouse@archlinux ~]$ grep nokaiser /boot/syslinux/syslinux.cfg | grep AP
    APPEND root=LABEL=moonstudio ro nokaiser

"nopti" is for the newer Arch Linux kernels and "nokaiser" for an Ubuntu
kernel, but as already pointed out, I still didn't make valid
comparisons.

The long and the short of it, I'm willing to disable Meltdown
mitigation, if the VM and especially if the DSP load for real-time audio
usage would benefit from less good Internet security.

For Internet server usage, better go with an AMD, since those CPUs are
not that much affected as Intel CPUs are. For real-time audio sessions
my experiences with Intel are better than with AMD, so I don't care too
much about Meltdown and Spectre.

Regards,
Ralf


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Re: Meltdown and Spectre and thoughts on buying a new computer

Ralf Mardorf-5
In reply to this post by Bill Stanley
On Fri, 2 Mar 2018 20:59:31 -0500, Bill wrote:
>Is there any estimates when the fixed chips will be released by Intel
>or AMD?

Those new Intel CPUs much likely will suffer from more important risks,
than hacker attacks. The opinion of my crystal ball is, that the
redesign of Intel CPUs, by keeping all the advantages over AMD
CPUs, most likely will lead to serious issues caused by the new design,
even without a hacker attack. My pendulum is still working on its
prophecy. I can't tell you what I know after read tea leaves at full
moon, without killing you after telling you the tea leaves secrets.


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Re: Meltdown and Spectre and thoughts on buying a new computer

Ralf Mardorf-5
On Sat, 3 Mar 2018 08:22:08 +0100, Ralf Mardorf wrote:

>On Fri, 2 Mar 2018 20:59:31 -0500, Bill wrote:
>>Is there any estimates when the fixed chips will be released by Intel
>>or AMD?  
>
>Those new Intel CPUs much likely will suffer from more important risks,
>than hacker attacks. The opinion of my crystal ball is, that the
>redesign of Intel CPUs, by keeping all the advantages over AMD
>CPUs, most likely will lead to serious issues caused by the new design,
>even without a hacker attack. My pendulum is still working on its
>prophecy. I can't tell you what I know after read tea leaves at full
                                                  ^ing
>moon, without killing you after telling you the tea leaves secrets.

IOW nowbody seriously could tell you a date. Neither for the first
generation of redesigned CPUs, nor for the generation of new CPUs, that
doesn't suffer from lethal childhood illnesses.


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Re: Meltdown and Spectre and thoughts on buying a new computer

Ralf Mardorf-5
On Sat, 3 Mar 2018 08:28:37 +0100, Ralf Mardorf wrote:

>IOW nowbody seriously could tell you a date. Neither for the first
>generation of redesigned CPUs, nor for the generation of new CPUs, that
>doesn't suffer from lethal childhood illnesses.
 don't :D

PPS: If you need to buy a new computer, it's unlikely worth to wait
until a new, better generation of CPUs is available.


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Re: Meltdown and Spectre and thoughts on buying a new computer

Liam Proven
In reply to this post by Ralf Mardorf-5
On 3 March 2018 at 07:51, Ralf Mardorf <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I'm waitig for a
> heavy drop in prices and then will replace my 6.60.3 Intel Celeron
> G1840 by a multi-core Pentium.

Just saying...

I recommend to all customers, clients, friends etc that they _never_
buy *any* Celeron, Duron, Pentium Dual-Core or any other cut-down
crippled CPU.

They are all false economies. You'd be far better off with a
previous-generation used chip from a full-spec range.

All cut-down CPUs are crippled rubbish. There is a reason that Apple
never use them in anything, not even junk like the Atom.

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Re: Meltdown and Spectre and thoughts on buying a new computer

Liam Proven
In reply to this post by Bill Stanley
On 3 March 2018 at 02:59, Bill <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> It is about time to think about buying a new computer but I am concerned
> about Meltdown and Spectre.

It might be years. They don't know how long yet.

Choices: don't worry about it, keep machines off the Net wherever
possible, and buy used prev-gen kit. It's better value anyway.


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