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NoelC

Windows 8.1 - Patch Performance Findings, Not Surpisingly The Latest Patches are Costly!

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I had been holding my Win 8.1 workstation, which I use for my primary software engineering and business management work, at a December 2017 level of patching (i.e., I have avoided all core Windows Updates for it since December, though I have applied things like the Internet Explorer and Office updates).

Being at a good breakpoint a few days ago, and equipped with at least 4 different methods for restoring my system should I wish to do so, I applied the June core cumulative Windows 8.1 update.  My system had run 50 days flawlessly without a reboot prior to that. 

After the updates, benchmarks showed more than a 30% drop in overall performance, but 50% or more in the user interface (i.e., where you really feel it), and more than 30% in disk I/O operations.  It turns out the Spectre and Meltdown mitigations are responsible for this, so I used the Gibson Research "InSpectre" tool to disable them.  This caused the performance hit to drop to "only" 8%. 

That is to say, my system performance was 8% lower overall than it was at the December patch level.

I have a number of both compute- and I/O-intensive jobs scheduled, for which I have good logs for recent runs.  In particular, one build of a set of our software has been taking 47 minutes to complete.  After the updates, the time jumped to 51 minutes - right in line with the 8% drop in performance the benchmarks showed.

I found the same exact thing with a Windows 7 hardware system.  Exactly the same slowdown with those silly mitigations disabled - 8% - and much more with them enabled.

Is everyone just taking these performance hits without question or complaint?

Are folks really so scared of the well-developed marketing campaigns for things like Spectre and Meltdown that they will pay any price for (a false sense of) security?

-Noel

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On Κυριακή, 17 Ιουνίου 2018 at 8:53 PM, NoelC said:

Are folks really so scared of the well-developed marketing campaigns for things like Spectre and Meltdown that they will pay any price for (a false sense of) security?

Spectre and Meltdown are dangerous vulnerabilities and the issue is them to be mitigated before they are really exploited.

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4 minutes ago, hotnuma said:

The best protection for your system is to backup your data all the rest is bullsh1t.

I totally agree about backing up your data but I still don't like the idea of viruses, trojan horses etc. making party in my system.

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17 minutes ago, HarryTri said:

... I still don't like the idea of viruses, trojan horses etc. making party in my system.

All these are programs, so if you can detect unusual running processes, services, drivers, and also controlling scheduled task, startup programs, browser extensions, then you should be able to detect something wrong on your system.

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On 6/17/2018 at 1:53 PM, NoelC said:

After the updates, benchmarks showed more than a 30% drop in overall performance, but 50% or more in the user interface (i.e., where you really feel it), and more than 30% in disk I/O operations.  It turns out the Spectre and Meltdown mitigations are responsible for this, so I used the Gibson Research "InSpectre" tool to disable them.  This caused the performance hit to drop to "only" 8% ...  I found the same exact thing with a Windows 7 hardware system.  Exactly the same slowdown with those silly mitigations disabled - 8% - and much more with them enabled.

Is everyone just taking these performance hits without question or complaint?

Are folks really so scared of the well-developed marketing campaigns for things like Spectre and Meltdown that they will pay any price for (a false sense of) security?

-Noel

I responded to you in another thread.  This really concerns me.  I was ecstatic when I realized I could update Vista and Windows 8 in to the future.  But I also wonder how much slow down was accumulated even up to December 2017?  Well perhaps I should only update to 2017 on my new Windows 8 installation come September-ish.

 

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Posted (edited)

Besides using it for strenuous parts of my work continuously since 2012, I've done regular benchmarks on my current workstation after ANY change of software since it was running Windows 7.  In October 2013 I upgraded it to Windows 8.1.

Even though I know how to keep a Windows system working at tip-top performance, and even optimize it over time, there has been a decline in performance of the operating system on this hardware.  The best performance overall, both in benchmarks and in real work, I experienced in 2013 before upgrading it to Windows 8.1.  The overall hit to performance to move to Windows 8.1 was only a few percent overall, but it was noticeable.

Since then I've upgraded the monitors and graphics card, having put a more powerful workstation card in it about a year ago.  I've added some SSDs as data disks but they don't participate in the benchmarks.

What have I seen?

I have measured performance changes specifically seen in these discrete places:

* In late 2013 I lost about 5% overall performance when Win 8.1 replaced Win 7.

* Direct2D took a serious discrete performance hit that affected benchmarks overall but not really the real work I do back at the end of 2014. 

* I gained back some display performance, which boosted overall benchmark numbers a little, when I installed a new graphics card in mid 2017.

* I saw an overall 5%+ overall performance loss with the June 2018 cumulative update with Spectre and Meltdown mitigations DISABLED, which I was able to undo (and regain performance) by uninstalling the update.  The important thing about these losses is that they were in disk I/O and display performance, which really do affect real work.

In summary:

Comparing overall performance numbers from late 2013 running Windows 7 to the June 2018 Windows Update of Windows 8.1, and accounting for an approximately 4% overall score boost due to the new graphics card, I'd say performance is down today from when I first started carefully measuring this hardware's capability by about 15%, and this does not include the MAJOR performance hit due to Spectre and Meltdown mitigations when they are enabled.

The difference, at this level, of the price of machines that can do X and 15% more than X is not insignificant.

Add another 20% to 30% loss in performance if you DO want the Spectre and Meltdown mitigations.

What price security?

Don't let fear of the unknown blind you to the degradation of the operating system being systematically done by Microsoft.

-Noel

 

Edited by NoelC
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Some benchmark results attached.

Key things to look at:  CPU and RAM benchmarks hold steady.  This is not surprising - the hardware is the same.

Windows 8.1 degraded (and made less consistent) the I/O benchmarks.  This, however, was not really reflected in real world benchmarks, and the Advanced Disk Benchmark in the Passmark software (which simulates real usage) indicates that the overall I/O throughput is at its best levels ever at about 1700 MB/second.

-Noel

ScreenGrab_NoelC4_2018_06_21_104914.png

ScreenGrab_NoelC4_2018_06_21_104937.png

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FYI, I just did another benchmark run, after having run the post-patch removal bootup for 4 days (and having enjoyed the performance return).

This set of recent benchmark comparisons says it all I think...  The disk I/O seems to be what's most heavily impacted by the 2018 Windows Updates...

-Noel

 

ScreenGrab_NoelC4_2018_06_21_112310.png

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What I had planned to do this time around was, install Windows 8, install all of the updates up to the point of EOL (January 2016), and then start with the most recent manual updates.  I would install all of December 2017, then November, then October,  ...etc ....   Eventually there are superseded updates that won't require installation, because I installed them in a newer patch.

Does anyone think that's a good strategy?  I thought it might keep the component store smaller, and only install updates I really need.

 

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1 minute ago, Jody Thornton said:

Does anyone think that's a good strategy? 

I do. :yes:

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, dencorso said:

I do. :yes:

Well that does instill some confidence.  I must admit though I am REALLY concerned with NoelC's findings.  I thought that Windows 8 felt slower in March before I switched back to Vista on this old PC.  And Vista seems more sluggish than I once remember it being.

The only hope is that the cumulative update that NoelC installed had some other crap in it that is slowing him down.  Whereas, I was only installing the Security Only update.

 

Edited by Jody Thornton

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Bear in mind @NoelC is benchmarking 8.1, and the real issue are the Meltdown/Spectre patches (which are mostly FUD as vulnerabilities, because they require actual physical access to a machine to be of use) and those don't exist (AFAIK) for Windows 8. So you should be good. Of course, for Spectre, attack though the browser is a possibility, but by using Chrome/FF/PaleMoon/@roytam1's browsers, that aspect of it is taken care of. And, yes, your approach'll keep the component store smaller. :thumbup

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Posted (edited)

fyi for Jody T, the Meltdown/Spectre patches for Win8 Embedded Standard and Server 2012 R0 (the "server" version of Win8.0) started in March 2018 with KB4088877 and KB4088880.

I have only noticed a minor slowdown on my father's Toshiba Satellite C55Dt-A laptop using AMD A6-5200 quad core APU with the Win8.1 June 2018 KB4284815 rollup update installed.

Edited by erpdude8
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And, in any case, they can be toggled off with this .REG, IINM:

Quote

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management]

"FeatureSettingsOverride"=dword:00000001
"FeatureSettingsOverrideMask"=dword:00000001
"041f1d33-a86a-4d7a-a2da-cf4b265131f9"=dword:00000000

The relevant info is in KB4078130, whence I got that .REG.

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