Thursday, May 16th 2019

Apple: Protecting Macs from MDS Vulnerabilities May Reduce Performance by up to 40%

Apple has advised users that they should disable Intel's Hyper-Threading feature on the company's computers due to the recently exposed MDS vulnerabilities. Citing internal testing, Apple said that users can expect an up to 40% performance loss in such a scenario (depending on system and workload, naturally) in various benchmarks and multithreaded workloads. The performance loss is understandable - you're essentially halving the number of threads available for your CPU to process data.

Like Intel said, it becomes an issue of how much users value their performance compared to the security risks involved: a classic risk/benefit scenario, which shouldn't ever be in the equation, after all. If users buy a system with a CPU that has known performance levels, they will obviously expect those to be valid for the longevity of the product, unless otherwise stated and considering operational variances that fall within a margin of error/product obsolescence. Halving your performance because of a design flaw that resulted from an effort to achieve higher and higher IPC increases doesn't strike as a way to inspire confidence in your products.
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21 Comments on Apple: Protecting Macs from MDS Vulnerabilities May Reduce Performance by up to 40%

#2
Vayra86
I really wonder how big this is going to get.
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#3
moproblems99
Honestly, this will hurt MacBooks the most because they don't have that many cores to begin with...

Vayra86 said:

I really wonder how big this is going to get.
Just remember, this doesn't effect end users /s
Posted on Reply
#4
Penev91
The best news for Apple in a long time. This only means that their users will be forced to upgrade next year.
Posted on Reply
#5
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
Well lets face it, Mac users don't buy the computers for the performance anyway...
Posted on Reply
#6
Static~Charge
moproblems99 said:
Honestly, this will hurt MacBooks the most because they don't have that many cores to begin with...
True. Far too many of the so-called "Core i7 Mobile" processors are actually 2 cores, 4 threads. That's a Core i3 in my book....
Posted on Reply
#7
Shihabyooo
newtekie1 said:

Well lets face it, Mac users don't buy the computers for the performance anyway...
Weren't Macs popular among the media/content creation communities?
Posted on Reply
#8
yakk
I guess that means Apple's arm cpu is up to 40% more competitive now... ;)
Posted on Reply
#9
Vya Domus
Shihabyooo said:

Weren't Macs popular among the media/content creation communities?
Because of the few software pieces that are exclusive to MacOS, certainly not because of the performance.
Posted on Reply
#10
phanbuey
Shihabyooo said:

Weren't Macs popular among the media/content creation communities?
Ages ago -

Still, no one says you can't put your render farm on a subnet, NAT it to the internet for updates only, and not give anything on the outside direct access to it.

But yeah... them javascripts and leaky processors. Might go AMD this next round, but as soon as I do there will security flaws exposed there so meh...
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#11
OSdevr
Macs aren't exactly secure to begin with, or high performance.
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#12
danbert2000
If Apple leaves this as an advisory and doesn't take the step of disabling HT by default, then they are essentially covering their asses. They just want to be off the hook if you use a Mac and end up getting exploited by MDS, even though that is probably very unlikely. MDS is going to be a big deal for servers with multiple companies using VMs on the same chip. For personal use I'm guessing this is about as bad as any other attack vector. If you're owned (someone is able to get a virus on your machine to exploit MDS), then you're going to have an issue with that before it even gets to the processor-specific exploit.
Posted on Reply
#13
Imsochobo
Static~Charge said:

True. Far too many of the so-called "Core i7 Mobile" processors are actually 2 cores, 4 threads. That's a Core i3 in my book....
Yeah, it depends on screen size / platform what an i7 is, sometimes dual core, sometimes 6 core....
Posted on Reply
#14
Crackong
Patch notes:

Fixed the bug that "old generation CPUs being too powerful it affects the sales of new machines"
Adjusted CPU performance like we did on battery performance for a better user experience.
Posted on Reply
#15
ssdpro
"If users buy a system with a CPU that has known performance levels, they will obviously expect those to be valid for the longevity of the product, unless otherwise stated and considering operational variances that fall within a margin of error/product obsolescence. Halving your performance because of a design flaw that resulted from an effort to achieve higher and higher IPC increases doesn't strike as a way to inspire confidence in your products."

The problem is there is no legal remedy. If a decision or statute existed, most cars on the market today would be exposed as long term fuel economy even performance drop due to direct injection carbon build up on intake valves. Vacuum cleaners would be vulnerable as they slowly clog over time. Keurig coffee makers clog over time. There is a magical belief a processor should perform like new for the life of the product. It is a consumer product just like the products above. Hence, consumable and by statute degrades with time. The only legal remedy to this stuff is if Intel willingly knew about it and, if asked, didn't disclose or conspired to withhold the info. Nothing requires them to disclose voluntarily even if they knew.
Posted on Reply
#17
NC37
Penev91 said:

The best news for Apple in a long time. This only means that their users will be forced to upgrade next year.
:clap:
Posted on Reply
#18
Caring1
ssdpro said:

The problem is there is no legal remedy. If a decision or statute existed, most cars on the market today would be exposed as long term fuel economy even performance drop due to direct injection carbon build up on intake valves. Vacuum cleaners would be vulnerable as they slowly clog over time. Keurig coffee makers clog over time. There is a magical belief a processor should perform like new for the life of the product. It is a consumer product just like the products above. Hence, consumable and by statute degrades with time. The only legal remedy to this stuff is if Intel willingly knew about it and, if asked, didn't disclose or conspired to withhold the info. Nothing requires them to disclose voluntarily even if they knew.
You're talking about normal wear and tear and degradation.
Not flaws that affect performance.
Posted on Reply
#19
HwGeek
Static~Charge said:

True. Far too many of the so-called "Core i7 Mobile" processors are actually 2 cores, 4 threads. That's a Core i3 in my book....
Poor Apple "i7" 2C/4T Macbook Owners- they just got downgraded to "Pentium" with HT OFF.... no Wait, Pentiums got HT now, so let's say Celeron!.
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#20
R-T-B
HisDivineOrder said:

Lawsuits seem inevitable.
I'd be genuinely surprised if one is not filed. I'd be more surprised if one succeeds though.
Posted on Reply
#21
medi01
Shihabyooo said:

Weren't Macs popular among the media/content creation communities?
Yeah, but because fasion/"it has color calibration built into OS", definitely not performance.
Posted on Reply
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