Windows 10 October 2018 Adds 'Retpoline' Fix That Greatly Reduces Spectre Performance Hit

Written by Jon Sutton on Fri, Mar 8, 2019 12:51 PM
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UPDATE: Microsoft has admitted the latest Windows 10 update that included the Retpoline CPU performance enhancement could have a negative impact on gaming performance.

Users have complained of frame rate hitches, lag spikes and low frame rates since installing the patch. Games affected so far include Destiny 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, among others.

“After installing KB4482887, users may notice graphics and mouse performance degradation with desktop gaming when playing certain games (eg: Destiny 2)," said Microsoft in a new update.

Microsoft says it is working on a solution but, in the meantime, the official recommendation is you uninstall the latest Windows update. “As a short-term resolution, users can uninstall KB4482887 to regain performance,” wrote Microsoft.

These botched updates are getting a bit embarrassing for Microsoft now. They've got plenty of time to test them through the Insider program so there's no way they should be arriving with obvious issues like this. Trust in Windows 10 is tenuous as it is and any good faith is being eroded with a series of buggy patches.

Original Story: 06-Mar-2019 - Windows 10 October 2018 Adds 'Retpoline' Fix That Greatly Reduces Spectre Performance Hit

The latest Windows 10 update KB4482887 (Build 17763.348) has taken aim at mitigating the performance impact of the Spectre CPU vulnerability, courtesy of the new ‘Retpoline’ Spectre variant 2 mitigation.

Spectre and Meltdown have largely been solved, at least on the security side of things, but the mitigations for these vulnerabilities also brought about a performance hit on the CPU. The performance hit varies depending on which CPU and OS you’re running, varying from negligible all the way up to 30% in edge cases. The Retpoline fix is designed to improve this performance hit and speed up CPUs.

Microsoft has said Retpoline will significantly improve the performance of the Spectre variant 2 mitigations for Windows 10. They claim 25% faster Office app launch times and 1.5-2x throughput in Diskspd (storage) and NTttcp (networking) benchmarks while using their test Broadwell processors.

Retpoline has been getting tested in the Insider build of Windows 10 for some time but is now generally available through the latest Windows 10 update. The new toggle is currently disabled by default but Retpoline can be manually enabled by adding various registry configuration updates. You can see more details on that here, but our advice is to hold fire until this gets officially enabled.

Created in conjunction with Google, Retpoline works by replacing all indirect call of jumps in kernel-mode binaries with an indirect branch sequence that has safe speculation behaviour.

It seems the name is short for ‘return trampoline’, creating what is effectively an infinite loop that is never executed by the CPU, therefore preventing the CPI from wasting time on any speculative execution. The finer details are well beyond my sphere of knowledge but the bottom line is it helps improve performance while the Spectre mitigations are in place.

Our favourite comments:

Uninstalling fixed my GTA V FPS drop problems :)

LVGaming

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15:45 Mar-14-2019

UPDATE - I just checked for updates and an update which fixes game problems is available. The update is working fine on my PC, no issues at all. You should update too.

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17:17 Mar-12-2019

Uninstalling fixed my GTA V FPS drop problems :)

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13:45 Mar-12-2019

Glad that I already set my firewall to simply block access to windows 10 update server and I have Spectre Meltdown protection disabled in registry, this is just a gaming machine anyway.

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17:13 Mar-11-2019

I don't think I've noticed anything so far but, this is not good news. Was one of those few updates I wanted to try by my own free will because of the supposed performance increases .
At this point, I think I'm going to find a version that ticks all the boxes and disable updates. I just want to use Chrome, select few apps, rendering, and play some games

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13:47 Mar-11-2019

Very sad, eventually I'm gonna have to get windows 10 but I really don't want to deal with all the trouble these updates give.

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08:17 Mar-10-2019

Thanks for informed us, very usefull!!!

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17:21 Mar-09-2019

Windows Updates fcking things up for decades, nothing new since Windows kernel is so legacy

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20:54 Mar-09-2019

Was waiting for you to come and bring the hate.

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15:00 Mar-10-2019

I've installed some windows rigs recently, believe it or not, after every update they became slower, it's really sad and I can't understand why Microsoft doesn't give a sh!t about their customers for decades

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20:41 Mar-10-2019

Its the same thing with every other piece of software or operating system. Go figure.

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16:25 Mar-11-2019

Microsoft needs to just admit this is Windows ME 2.0 and move on to their next OS

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16:43 Mar-11-2019

and they definitely do,
that's why Azure cloud solutions are primary concern of Microsoft, and Windows is basically not developed any further

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18:01 Mar-11-2019

More like Windows MeMe at this rate.

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20:24 Mar-11-2019

All three of you are so ignorant it hurts.


This isn't a case of Windows ME. It doesn't crash.

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17:55 Mar-12-2019

I actually like Windows 10 and have not had that many problems with it. I've had a couple of updates cause a few minor things but nothing serious.

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20:11 Mar-12-2019

Don't try to change your mind with what you said. You like Windows 10 but you call it a huge crashing fail like Windows ME? That clearly doesn't make any sense.

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23:48 Mar-12-2019

I said windows Meme as a pun to how there are a lot of update memes ect... not to how much it crashes.

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05:18 Mar-09-2019

"frame rate hitches, lag spikes" i have been experiencing those for a few years on modern games, and i dont know if it is due to my CPu, ram or HDD xD.

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00:31 Mar-09-2019

oh so that's why i am getting constant every 3 sec freez and lag and from 60 down to 10 fps drops on every single game these past 2 days

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17:08 Mar-11-2019

Sounds like page-filing, so it's most likely drive related. Do you have an SSD or HDD for your boot (OS) drive?

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23:04 Mar-08-2019

I've had two "CRITICAL STURCTURE CORRUPTION" BSoD errors whilst doing simple tasks since the update. Anybody else having similar issues?

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00:33 Mar-09-2019

happened to me one time while playing apex legends yesterday and with bsod . at first i thought my gpu was duying since i started getting hell of game freez and fps drop and some weird in game slow motion like sound and i was about to get my whole pc to the closest pc expert store until i saw this article

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21:07 Mar-08-2019

... or you can do what I did and turn off auto updates completely, so you're not forced to "update" anything. I'm on LTSC branch too, so clean Windows 10 - the way it should have been!


http://gaming.rimasv.com/junk/autoupdates.PNG


(WTF, link shortcode not working!!!)

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21:27 Mar-08-2019

how do you turn off autoupdates ? Group Policy ?

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20:46 Mar-08-2019

And this is why I disabled updates ages ago. Ain't nobody got time for fixing Microsoft's blunders after every update.

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00:34 Mar-09-2019

i have it disabled too and set my net to limited and yet it still manages to download updates god knows how or when :/

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19:27 Mar-08-2019

Still on 1803, have ZERO desire to EVER update again! lol.

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18:12 Mar-08-2019

I'm still on version 1803, Windows hasn't given me the option to update to 1809 yet.

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16:46 Mar-08-2019

When i installed this update, my CPU's frequency downgrades to 3 GHz. As you know, 6700K must work in 4.2 GHz in stock! And when i uninstalled this patch, everything just came back to normal. GD, should i disable windows update?

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16:15 Mar-08-2019

Well that's the last nail in the coffin for me.
Back to AMD processors for me.

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16:07 Mar-08-2019

Microsoft has gone deep down in last years they only subsist thanks to the compatibility with programs and game (and many pacts with the devil).

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16:06 Mar-08-2019

So that's why I was experiencing some slow mouse movement or strange movements within some games a.k.a. dota 2.... I thought the problem was coming from me.

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17:26 Mar-07-2019

Beware of the Retpoline fix. You might not be able to play some older games with this update.
https://wccftech.com/windows-10-update-freezes-games-microsoft-recommends-uninstall/

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14:34 Mar-08-2019

my pc freezes everytime i update my driver

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21:36 Mar-06-2019

You have to enable it through the registry if you want it on. I've got it on and it's smoother. I like it.

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