Windows 7's killer feature: Windows on multicore, redux

Running heavy multitasking workloads on advanced multicore hardware, Windows 7 finally surpasses leaner Windows XP

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The future
Clearly, power users who rely on multiprocessor workstations can reap immediate benefits from migrating to Windows 7. However, the list of potential beneficiaries doesn't necessarily stop there. Current-generation Core i7-based PCs and laptops will also reap benefits from Windows 7's more intelligent management of code/cache boundary alignment and similar multicore-specific tweaks. And while the scalability advantages of Windows 7 may not yet allow it to overtake the lighter, simpler Windows XP on dual- or quad-core PCs, it does help to mitigate the significantly higher demands that the new OS places on PC hardware.

All of those advantages that make Windows 7 so compelling -- the improved security, manageability, and usability features -- come at a cost in terms of additional CPU cycles consumed by their respective background services. Thus, making the most of what processor bandwidth is available takes on a new urgency as the layers of software separating hardware from operator continue to accumulate.

But no matter how you slice the results, Windows 7 -- or at least its underlying kernel architecture -- is clearly the future of Intel-based PC computing. This will remain true even if Microsoft decides to gut Windows and do away with all the layers above the NT Executive (MinWin taken to the extreme). The fact is that Microsoft has built a robust, highly scalable, multicore-aware OS foundation with Windows 7, and it should continue to serve Redmond well as it maps out future versions of the OS.

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This story, "Windows 7's killer feature: Windows on multicore, redux," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in Windows 7 and Windows at

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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