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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

As much of the tech industry tries to assess how a massive chip vulnerability will affect them, Microsoft and Intel differ significantly on how the fixes for the issue impacts performance, especially on older PCs.

Why it matters: There are two big issues here. One is the fact that the flaw affects nearly all chips made in the last decade-plus, meaning there are a lot of machines that need updates. The other is how much the needed software changes will reduce performance.

Intel said on Thursday that the impact is only "slightly higher" on its 6th generation chips compared to more recent processors, and cited one benchmark that shows an 8 percent reduction in performance, even on older processors.

Microsoft said earlier this week that expected a "noticeable" decrease in performance for Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs using chips made in 2015 or before.

The differing information only adds to a high level of confusion over the recently disclosed vulnerabilities, with differing viewpoints throughout the industry on many issues including over:

  • the degree to which the vulnerabilities can be fixed on existing products
  • how hard or easy it will be for the flaws to be exploited
  • the performance impact of various software fixes on both servers and PCs

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

4 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.