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A Huge Intel Security Hole Could Slow Down Your PC Soon

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Re: A Huge Intel Security Hole Could Slow Down Your PC Soon

Postby mdyde » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:58 am

engrssc wrote:Slightly surprising, we haven 't heard anything from Martin or Brett on this yet.


Hello Ed,

Sorry for the delay. I do hope to make some quick before-vs.-after performance benchmarks on my Windows 10 and macOS 10.13 installations in the next day or two, but I've been waiting for my virus scanner software (McAfee) to produce an update that allows the necessary Windows patch to install.

Unfortunately there almost certainly isn't anything useful we could actually do anyway, beyond giving a broad indication of what performance degradation (in terms of polyphony, resilience to audio glitches, and organ loading times) the OS patches cause on my own particular computer installations. If the OS patches cause the whole CPU cache to be flushed regularly then my guess is that the performance impacts could be very significant for any CPU/latency/memory-intensive software, potentially including Hauptwerk and probably most other professional real-time audio/MIDI software, but I don't know for certain yet. (CPU cache does massively affect Hauptwerk's real-time performance/polyphony in general.)

My understanding is that the issue could only truly be addressed by a future generation of CPUs, so probably for now the only realistic options are either to put up with any performance degradation from the OS patches, or to keep the computer permanently disconnected from the Internet from now on, and avoid applying them. Neither is ideal!
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Re: A Huge Intel Security Hole Could Slow Down Your PC Soon

Postby engrssc » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:44 am

Thanks, Martin,

Is there any way that a MIDI controlled button feature could be added to Hauptwerk to put the PC to sleep in addition to Computer Shutdown? I have been doing this now for a while with no problems but can't do it of course, with a headless setup. Not having to wait for the OS to boot does shorten the startup time.onsiderably

Maybe https://www.pcworld.com/article/2090921/how-to-create-hotkeys-for-windows-sleep-and-shutdown.html

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS768US768&ei=vFFSWuyGBInLjwTT0rjgCg&q=how+to+wake+up+computer+from+sleep+windows+7&oq=how+to+wake+up+pc+from+sleep+mode&gs_l=psy-ab.1.1.0i71k1l4.0.0.0.26755.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0..0.0....0...1c..64.psy-ab..0.0.0....0.JThz812B8bY
.
The OS and Hauptwerk start right up.

Another issue is that several software systems require the latest OS updates to be applied.

My son, who is an engineering manager, for a major large mobile video production company said they have definitely noticed significant effects and to date have no work arounds. So everyone really is effected.

It's anyone's guess how soon an improved CPU will (and if) be made available.

Curious who found this "security hole"? Hackers maybe?

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: A Huge Intel Security Hole Could Slow Down Your PC Soon

Postby mdyde » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:33 pm

engrssc wrote: there any way that a MIDI controlled button feature could be added to Hauptwerk to put the PC to sleep in addition to Computer Shutdown? I have been doing this now for a while with no problems but can't do it of course, with a headless setup. Not having to wait for the OS to boot does shorten the startup time.onsiderably

Maybe https://www.pcworld.com/article/2090921 ... tdown.html

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CH ... Thz812B8bY


Hello Ed,

We do have an enhancement request logged for adding a native means within Hauptwerk to handle putting a computer to sleep and waking it up again safely (including stopping and re-starting the MIDI and audio drivers appropriately), where technically possible.

You could probably potentially achieve the same effect currently by suitable scripting and sending appropriate key-strokes to Hauptwerk to trigger the 'Engine | Advanced ... | Stop/Start audio/MIDI' functions.

engrssc wrote:Another issue is that several software systems require the latest OS updates to be applied.


Yes -- if the computer is connected to the Internet, then neither Microsoft nor Apple will allow you to avoid OS updates with recent operating systems for very long (although you can postpone them for a while). The only way to avoid them completely is never to connect the computer to the Internet.

engrssc wrote:It's anyone's guess how soon an improved CPU will (and if) be made availab


I'd definitely expect that the CPU makers would be able to solve it fully for future models (but I expect they'll be some way off yet).

In the meantime, hopefully the operating system makers might be able to fine-tune the performance of their patches in the future to mitigate any negative performance impacts.
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Martin.

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Re: A Huge Intel Security Hole Could Slow Down Your PC Soon

Postby engrssc » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:55 pm

mdyde wrote:
I'd definitely expect that the CPU makers would be able to solve it fully for future models (but I expect they'll be some way off yet).

In the meantime, hopefully the operating system makers might be able to fine-tune the performance of their patches in the future to mitigate any negative performance impacts.


Thanks for all of that, Martin,

There is always reason to be hopefully.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: A Huge Intel Security Hole Could Slow Down Your PC Soon

Postby abaymajr » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:02 pm

Just a fresh review of performance comparison between the pre-update, the Windows patch, and the Windows+BIOS patches. The review confirms the numbers I have reached on my own HW sampleset loading benchmark.

Meltdown & Spectre Updates Benchmarked, Big Slow Down for SSDs!:
https://youtu.be/JbhKUjPRk5Q?t=9m19s

UPDATE: I have just downgraded the Dell BIOS/firmware upgrade, I gained back all the lost performance. I have left the Windows 10 KB4056892 patch installed though. I don't how much (if any) my system is now protected from Meltdown/Spectre attacks, but I will take the risk and remain in this state until further clarification. 30% more time for personal and usual tasks like sampleset loading, and 100% increase in time taken for sampleset changing/unloading or HW closing, all this is too much for me.
Last edited by abaymajr on Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Huge Intel Security Hole Could Slow Down Your PC Soon

Postby abaymajr » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:55 pm

Dear Martin,

Have any news about that Windows 10 FCU (memory management?) effect on HW sampleset unloading/changing procedure? Someone in this 2-month-old thread (viewtopic.php?f=16&t=16514&) metered that Hauptwerk was taking 4 times as much time, compared to previous Win10 releases (CU or AU), to flush memory for closing itself or loading a different sampleset. The Meltdown/Spectre patch (BIOS+Win10 update) thing multiplied this effect by two, so it's terrible to wait the same time (or even more) to close HW as it took to load the current sampleset. Do you know any Windows registry modification that would mitigate this problem? And/or does Milan staff plan to do something at Hauptwerk side (for the next HW version or for a new 4.2.x release) to mitigate this problem?
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Re: A Huge Intel Security Hole Could Slow Down Your PC Soon

Postby jkinkennon » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:05 pm

By the way, which CPU and SSD/interface do you use to achieve this great 1.2MB/s sampleset opening performance?


This is for a Samsung NVMe 950 pro M.2 SSD. I suppose what is important is the actual average rate as opposed to the rate while reading the device, so here are the two numbers:

Sample loader: approx. avg. overall data read rate: 522.64 MB/s.
Sample loader: approx. avg. data read rate during disk reader activity: 1174.99 MB/s.

I took a look at the rates from a year ago prior to the Samsung SSD install and saw a faster overall rate with a much lower rate of about 600 MB/s for the second number. I suppose I am limited by my current CPU, an i7-5820K, and now by the new security fixes as well. One year ago I was using an SSD that was connected via SATA.

EDIT: Bottom line is that the blazingly fast Samsung SSD didn't translate to improved overall performance in this instance. I am taking a bit of a risk running Windows 10 from the SSD as well and that makes a noticeable improvement for overall computer speed.
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Re: A Huge Intel Security Hole Could Slow Down Your PC Soon

Postby mdyde » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:18 am

abaymajr wrote:Have any news about that Windows 10 FCU (memory management?) effect on HW sampleset unloading/changing procedure? Someone in this 2-month-old thread (viewtopic.php?f=16&t=16514&) metered that Hauptwerk was taking 4 times as much time, compared to previous Win10 releases (CU or AU), to flush memory for closing itself or loading a different sampleset. The Meltdown/Spectre patch (BIOS+Win10 update) thing multiplied this effect by two, so it's terrible to wait the same time (or even more) to close HW as it took to load the current sampleset. Do you know any Windows registry modification that would mitigate this problem? And/or does Milan staff plan to do something at Hauptwerk side (for the next HW version or for a new 4.2.x release) to mitigate this problem?


Hello abaymajr,

My understanding from that and previous threads was that releasing memory becomes slow on Windows systems (but not Macs) when very large amount of RAM are installed in the computer (>=64 GB?), even if only actually using smaller sample sets, and that the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update had exacerbated the issue (but still only relevant for >=64 GB)?

I don't currently have a computer with >=64 GB of RAM myself, and I haven't seen any memory performance issues myself, or heard of any from Hauptwerk users with less than 64 GB of RAM. Also I have the Windows 10 Creators Update (Windows 10 build 1703), but I've been postponing updating to the Fall Creators Update (build 1709), until it has had a chance to mature a bit more (to give Microsoft a chance to iron out any problems in its initial release).

I don't know what changes Microsoft have made under the hood in the Fall Creators Update (FCU) that might have affected memory management, or whether any Windows tweaks are possible to mitigate any memory-releasing performance issues as a result of them, but if any technically-inclined Hauptwerk users with a suitable PC have had the opportunity to look into it that then it would certainly be useful to hear. With a bit of searching on the Internet I found one Stackoverflow topic which discussed some performance issues with Windows 10 memory allocation, differences between Windows 7 and 10 and the FCU, and perhaps that Microsoft are still investigating whether there are issues to be resolved:

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/45024029/windows-10-poor-performance-compared-to-windows-7-page-fault-handling-is-not-sc

I don't know whether it would be technically possible for us to do anything different in a future version of Hauptwerk that could affect the issue, but even if so then it would need to be for Hauptwerk v5 (which will still be quite a way off yet, I'm afraid). Conceivably, linking with the latest version of the Windows 10 libraries might make some difference, for example, but I don't know at this stage.
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: A Huge Intel Security Hole Could Slow Down Your PC Soon

Postby jbittner » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:42 am

Looks like the slowdown won't be too bad if you're using Windows 10 and 6th generation or later Intel processor, but things get worse for older processors and Windows 7 users.

From the Microsoft site https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/micros ... s-systems/

"Here is the summary of what we have found so far:
With Windows 10 on newer silicon (2016-era PCs with Skylake, Kabylake or newer CPU), benchmarks show single-digit slowdowns, but we don’t expect most users to notice a change because these percentages are reflected in milliseconds.

With Windows 10 on older silicon (2015-era PCs with Haswell or older CPU), some benchmarks show more significant slowdowns, and we expect that some users will notice a decrease in system performance.
With Windows 8 and Windows 7 on older silicon (2015-era PCs with Haswell or older CPU), we expect most users to notice a decrease in system performance.

Windows Server on any silicon, especially in any IO-intensive application, shows a more significant performance impact when you enable the mitigations to isolate untrusted code within a Windows Server instance. This is why you want to be careful to evaluate the risk of untrusted code for each Windows Server instance, and balance the security versus performance tradeoff for your environment."
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Re: A Huge Intel Security Hole Could Slow Down Your PC Soon

Postby evertjan » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:02 pm

Today the German software firm Ashampoo has released a free tool for testing your Windows PC for the Spectre- en Meltdown bug with 1 mouse click.

Explanation: https://blog.ashampoo.com/en/2018-01-10/meltdown-and-spectre-the-great-processor-disaster
Download: https://www.ashampoo.com/p/1304/
After the download you directly can run the program. Installation is not necessary.

On the download pages also some solutions and tips.
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Re: A Huge Intel Security Hole Could Slow Down Your PC Soon

Postby 1961TC4ME » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:02 am

Question: Would this patch only come through and effect computers routinely connected to the internet, or could it also potentially come as part of a download such as from a sample set download performed on another computer on the internet every day and the sample set is then installed on a computer that is never on the internet? Reason I ask is my HW computer (never on the internet) did something rather odd the other day. I was in a hurry to leave for work, went to close HW and it wanted to do a routine backup. I clicked 'cancel' instead of allowing it to do the backup. HW closed and I got a message "Configuring Windows, do not turn off your computer." It only took a second and it was done, but I've never seen that before, so it was rather odd. I recently just before Christmas downloaded a new sample set from another computer, then installed it on my 'never connected to the internet HW computer.' So far I haven't noticed any slowdowns, but that configuring Windows message was weird.

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Re: A Huge Intel Security Hole Could Slow Down Your PC Soon

Postby mdyde » Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:35 am

Hello Marc,

Windows updates (or any other software updates) could never be received from Hauptwerk software updates, or sample sets, themselves.

Microsoft did introduce a feature in Windows 10 whereby Windows 10 can optionally receive Windows updates from other PCs that it's networked to (via Ethernet/WiFi): 'Windows Settings | Update and Security | Advanced options | Delivery Optimisation | Allow downloads from other PCs'. However, if the PC is networked to other PCs then it would usually be able to access the Internet directly itself anyway, in which case it would just install Windows updates automatically in the normal way by default.

You can which updates Windows has installed, and when, using 'Windows Settings | Update and Security | View installed update history'. The particular updates that cause loading and unloading sample sets to be slower are:

- Feature update to Windows 10, version 1709.
- 2018-01 Cumulative Security Update from Windows 10 Version 1709 x64-based Systems (KB4056892).

(There don't appear to be any corresponding performance issues with the Meltdown/Spectre patches on the Mac platform, so the issue appears to be specifically within the ways that Microsoft have coded their changes for it in Windows 10. I'm in the process of raising it with Microsoft, in the hopes that they might be able to fix it properly as soon as possible for a future Windows 10 update.)
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: A Huge Intel Security Hole Could Slow Down Your PC Soon

Postby engrssc » Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:56 am

So it doesn't affect Win 7 computers?

Rgds,
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Re: A Huge Intel Security Hole Could Slow Down Your PC Soon

Postby mdyde » Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:02 am

Hello Ed,

I'm not actually sure about that, since I don't have a Windows 7 computer set up here currently to test it on.
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Re: A Huge Intel Security Hole Could Slow Down Your PC Soon

Postby IainStinson » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:49 am

The nature of the chip fault means it would impact most operating systems including Windows 7. (Fixes have been appearing for the Linux/Unix systems as well as Windows and Mac OS. I don't know if Microsoft has released a patch for Windows 7 yet.

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