Would you buy/use a computer that ran 3x slower than modern machines if it were more secure (less vulnerable to side-channel attacks)?

@cwebber It depends how you define modern machine. If it were 3x slower than my current computer, no. It might technically be possible, but it'd be very unpleasant. If it were 3x slower than, say, a brand new, top of the line, ridiculously overpowered machine, then maybe.

@shadowfacts It's interesting that people feel this way, and I wonder how much is "anchoring"... I guess having run computers that were 300x slower than modern computers and getting a lot done on them makes me less bothered by it.

By "anchoring", I mean: if moore's law didn't die out and I was asking you this after computers were 3x faster than today, and asking if you were willing to drop from that to "today's speeds", would you object?

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@cwebber If Moore's Law still held, it would be a much different question. A 3x decrease would only be a few years old, so despite being objectively much slower, I'd be much more used to it because it would be so recently in the past.

A great deal of the reluctance to change, I think, is not just that the hardware's gotten better, but the software that we use _expects_ that modern, fast hardware. My (and I suspect other people's) answer was based on the assumption of continuing to use the software we already do as normal. But, if something like your hypothetical actually happened, and lots of people started using computers that were several times slower, I think we'd see the software adapt to that.

If the software adapted to work about equally well on 3x slower hardware as current software does on current hardware, I'd be much more willing to take the slower hardware, knowing that I'd still be able to do everything I currently do and be similarly productive. But, current software designed for modern computers, running on a 3x slower device, would for a great many tasks be unbearable.


It sort of comes down to having programmes properly use multiple cores. Because then you can compensate for the individual core slowdown by putting more of them in the machine.

And more cores is already a trend in order to manage power and battery life.


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