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Bernstein Surveys The Semis Space After 'Processor-Gate'

Bernstein Surveys The Semis Space After 'Processor-Gate'

The semiconductor space is off to a "fun start" to the new year with the Spectre and Meltdown exploits at front and center, according to Bernstein. 

The Analyst

Bernstein's Stacy Rasgon and three colleagues. 

The Thesis

The impact to PC workloads from software patches appears low so far, Rasgon said in a Tuesday note. (See the analyst's track record here.) 

The impact appears to be "mostly in the low to mid-single digits" with a disparity existing based on configuration, OS and hardware age, according to a Bernstein survey. 

A few takeaways:

  • The two exploits were notable enough to cause "significant reverberations throughout the industry."
  • It is possible that isolated workloads/benchmarks were impaired in the double digits, but the original 5-to-30 percent estimate for computer slowdowns may be wrong.
  • Systems with solid-state drives were more affected than those with HDD.
  • The impact to the cloud is mixed by vendor, but there do seem to be some "genuine performance issues."
  • There is no reason for investors to become "hysterical" over the situation, but it is, at the very least, an incremental negative for Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC)'s reputation, Rasgon said. 
  • The impact to Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) is "neutral-ish to (maybe?) slightly positive" if fixes for Spectre Variant 2 are easier to enact, the analyst said. 
  • NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA)'s core GPUs appear to be unaffected, according to Bernstein. 

Related Links:

AMD Volatile On Increased Spectre Chip Vulnerability

Microsoft Halts Security Patch Updates For AMD Processors After PCs Fail To Reboot

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