For those of you who have tested the beta or the Windows 7 RTM code, this might not come as any surprise. For those of us whose production machines still run Windows XP (Ziff-Davis and Intel, among others) the improved performance of Microsoft's new operating system is a nice surprise.
One of those surprises was delivered Wednesday, when Microsoft paired a quad-core Intel Core i7 microprocessor with a solid-state-disc drive and what Ruston Panabaker, the principal program manager for strategic silicon partnering at Microsoft, called a generic build of Windows 7. Panabaker fired up the system, and presto! An 11-second boot time.
Sure, this was most likely a fresh build on fresh hardware, and an SSD makes all the difference in the world. But there was a little magic going on behind the scenes, as well
According to Panabaker, the boot process can be parallelized across all four cores and all eight threads provided by Intel's hyperthreaded processor. "It's an Intel reference design," Panabaker said. "But with high-performance hardware, this shows what system manufacturers can do."
Part of the improved performance comes from the telemetry data that helped Microsoft boost battery life by a significant amount when running on Intel's next-generation processors. Other work was done by Microsoft itself, removing "thread locks" that stalled the system. Intel also works with the Windows 7 scheduler to migrate threads to idle cores, and then to shut those idle cores down if there truly is no work to do.
Microsoft has been working with the software ecosystem to take advantage of the battery-boosting, low-power API. And Intel executives, like others in the industry, have reported that Microsoft has been diligent about providing its partners time (about 12 months) to nail down drivers and the like.
Panabaker did say that there will likely be a Knowledge Base article listing incompatible hardware, as Apple's Snow Leopard does. When that will be released is not known, but it will likely be closer to launch, he said. One feature that Microsoft plans to include: community features, which will help users and Microsoft nail down what doesn't work, he said.
Windows 7 Will Boot In As Little As 11 Seconds - Lab Notes by ExtremeTech