The discovery of Meltdown and Spectre shook tech companies as they worked around the clock to mitigate the fatal flaws. However, the bug came with a huge injustice for consumers. The fixes meant that their CPU wouldn't have the same performance promised when they bought it.
Some reports noted a performance impact of up to 30%, where others were 5% or lower. The change is very much dependent on the workload, model, and a number of other factors, but annoying all the same.
Ten months after its disclosure, those impacted now have a light at the end of the tunnel for Windows users. Microsoft has engineers have confirmed that Google's Retpoline fix for variant 2 will be in Windows 10 191H.
Unlike previous fixes from Intel and Microsoft, Googles says its one has a negligible impact on performance. Microsoft is also implementing “import optimization”, which will reduce the performance hit further. Engineers say this will mean the impact is “noise-level for most scenarios”.
Behind the Competition
If Google's patch sounds familiar, it's because it's already present in Red Hat, SUSE, and other Linux distributions. Red Hat implemented the fix in April, so Microsoft is very behind the competition.
As Retpoline wasn't included in the recent Windows 10 October 2018 update, users will have even longer to wait. As the name suggests, Windows 10 191H isn't due for all until the first half of 2019. However, users can grab insider builds if it's that important to them.
Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn't seem to have plans to bring the fix to earlier builds. This means those who care about performance may have to update to the latest version. Hopefully, the company will clarify this soon, as faith in Windows updates has fallen after a bug that deleted documents.