No, the real killer feature of Windows 7 is scalability. Simply put, Windows 7 does a better job of taking advantage of the available hardware resources than its predecessors. This scalability edge manifests itself in the form of better performance under complex, multiprocess, multithreaded workloads.
Given the same number of CPU cores, Windows 7 runs circles around both Windows Vista and Windows XP. In fact, the results aren't even close: In one multiprocess workflow test, Windows 7 outpaced Windows XP by 250 percent -- this on an eight-core (dual quad-core Xeon) HP Z800 workstation.
This is Windows 7's killer feature. It means that, as customers invest in new PC hardware, they'll be better positioned to reap the improvements in CPU, memory, and chip set performance by deploying Windows 7. It also means that sticking with Windows XP -- ostensibly because it is less bloated and performs better -- is a fool's errand.
Times have changed. The hardware landscape is much different than when Windows XP was on the drawing boards. Back then, the concept of a multicore CPU was still just that: a concept. Windows XP was designed for a world of single CPU desktops and the occasional two- or four-way (discrete CPUs, not cores) engineering workstation. It simply isn't smart enough to know how to leverage something as complex as a modern-day Core i7- or E5xxx-series Xeon processor.
I'll be diving more into this topic in an upcoming InfoWorld Test Center article that will serve as a follow-up to my original research on this subject. In the meantime, if you were looking for that killer feature (or catchy slogan) to sell you on a Windows 7 upgrade, here it is:
Windows 7: Smarter where it counts.