The Great Moore's Law Compensator: It's a term I coined more than a year ago to describe the process whereby each successive Windows release effectively gobbles up the latest gains in PC hardware performance. The net result is an environment that performs roughly on par with the one you're upgrading from -- despite the fact that the underlying CPU, chip set, RAM, and I/O subsystems are all at least twice as fast as those in your old rig.
As axioms go, the Great Moore's Law Compensator, or TGMLC, has proven to be quite resilient. From DOS-based Windows versions to the great NT kernel transition with XP, the core assertion of TGMLC -- that Windows expands to consume all available hardware -- has been continuously validated. In fact, the only hiccup in this otherwise seamless progression involved Windows Vista. In that instance, Windows outpaced the hardware by a wide margin, causing untold grief for the masses trying to make it perform reasonably well on what were clearly inadequate (by Vista's requirements) systems.
[ If you've already made up your mind to take the plunge, then don't miss this article by InfoWorld's J. Peter Bruzzese: Ready for Windows 7? Here's how to deploy it right. ]
Fortunately, the universe has a way of righting such wrongs -- taking the occasional protruding nail and hammering it down until the entire row looks even again. In the case of Windows, the release of Version 7 -- with its Vista-like system requirements and performance characteristics -- has been projected to serve as a kind of TGMLC "breather": an opportunity for the hardware to finally catch up with the OS, thus returning balance to the Wintel equation. And based on a preliminary review of benchmark data collected by the recently released OfficeBench 7 test script, Windows 7 is indeed living up to its promise of following TGMLC norms.