The ramifications of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities are many and far-reaching. Crucially though, these are flaws at a hardware level that can be fixed with future processors. The downside, of course, is that this will come at great additional expense; you’ll have to splash the cash on a new CPU and motherboard combo. For peace of mind though, some people will accept any price.
There’s also the interesting caveat that the waves of Meltdown and Spectre fixes will inevitably have an impact on your current PC’s performance. It could be almost imperceptibly small, or it could tank performance, we just don’t know enough yet. If you don’t want your PC to be compromised, both in terms of security and performance, then an upgrade will have to be on the cards. Unfortunately, neither Intel nor AMD have confirmed such plans yet, and major architectural redesigns can take a while to make it down the production pipeline.
However, straying into somewhat tinfoil hat territory here though, but the CPU manufacturers would absolutely love it if people are on board with a hardware upgrade to solve these problems. It’s the sort of thing that could make tech companies billions. They’re potentially taking a steaming great pile of shit and alchemized it into priceless diamonds.
What would work against this is the opposite approach - doing nothing. For the average end user, the risks of being compromised are currently fairly minimal. There’s a small chance a hacker may come your way, but it’s all about working the odds. The trouble is, the longer you leave yourself exposed, the greater the chance of eventually being hacked.
Naturally, the middle ground is to download any and every Meltdown and Spectre patch and just suck up the performance hit. Microsoft’s initial patches vary from unnoticeable to significant slowdown depending on how old your CPU is and which version of Windows you’re running. If you’ve got a modern, powerful processor, odds are you’re not going to notice much difference.
So we’ve come to a bit of a juncture - do you plan to offload your current CPU as soon as a Spectre-proof Intel or AMD CPU is available? Or are okay with taking the performance hit? Vote in the poll and let us know why below!