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Consumers can download the Release Candidate build of Microsoft's slick new OS, Windows 7, and try it out for themselves. Both 32- and 64-bit versions are available for download.
Consumers can finally get their hands on a near-release copy of the latest version of Windows

Windows 7 has the tech community and the consumer world buzzing.  For consumers, it has been a long four months since the release of the Windows 7 beta which saw hundreds of thousands of downloads.  Some turned to torrents to try to swipe the newer beta builds or the recent Release Candidate, but for most it was a matter of waiting.

The waiting is over at last as Microsoft has officially released the Release Candidate 1 build of Windows 7 to the general public.  The build is available directly from Microsoft for download.

Microsoft is suggesting that novice users not download the build as no tech support will be provided.  Customers who download the build will have to burn the ISO onto a disk.  Unlike the more recent beta candidate builds, the RC1 build requires a complete reinstall, even on machines with a working build of Windows 7.

Both 32- and 64-bit versions of the build are available.  Microsoft recommends users' computers have at least 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of free disk space.

Microsoft is promising not to limit the number of downloads of the new release, like it initially did for the beta release (before later relenting and allowing unlimited downloads).  The beta release proved a headache for some, as the large demand crashed some of Microsoft's servers at the time, rendering many eager users unable to download the beta from Microsoft.  Microsoft is hoping that this time around things go more smoothly.

The test builds of Windows 7 will work until June 2010, but starting in March 2010 they will shut down every two hours.

Microsoft has publicly stated that Windows 7 will launch "no later than January 2010."  However, it now appears that the new OS will land in time for the holiday season, as Acer has leaked its release date as October 23.

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RE: Windows 7 on dv9207us
By omnicronx on 5/5/2009 11:03:08 AM , Rating: 2
Foobar2000 is the best ;) Windows 7/Vista + bit-for-bit exclusive mode == amazing.

RE: Windows 7 on dv9207us
By Pirks on 5/5/2009 12:14:59 PM , Rating: 1
What's so special about this bit-for-bit thing? Stops sound from interrupting when system is under heavy load or what?

RE: Windows 7 on dv9207us
By omnicronx on 5/5/2009 1:03:28 PM , Rating: 3
No.. it bypasses the Windows Mixer allowing for bit for bit reproduction of the audio in question. i.e if you are listening to a 44khz/16bit MP3, it uncompresses the file to PCM and outputs that PCM audio bit for bit. By doing so, it locks out all other apps from playing sound (including windows sound).

The problems lies with the fact that you can have multiple programs outputting sounds in multiple formats, and Windows needs a way to join the all together. Previously in Windows XP all sound was resampled(and even Vista in non exclusive mode) to 48KHZ regardless of what is being played. So if you have ever wondered why your CD sounds different on XP (and most other OS's for that matter, as most follow a similar approach) than on your CD player, this is why. Your 44.1Khz CD audio is being converted to 48KHZ before output. To make matters worse (in XP) sound volume was tied to the bitrate, the lower you go, the lower the bitrate. This had the potention to vastly decrease sound quality.

Even Vista has many of these problems, although audio is dealt with in a totally different way (which I am not going to discuss right now)

In comes Exclusive mode in Vista, which completely bypasses the Windows Mixer and passes the sound untouched for output..
The only problem is it must be specifically coded into the application (Foobar has an WASAPI output plugin available for download from their site to take advantage of this).

It is essentially the same concept as kernel streaming in XP, although this feature is native to windows. Many soundcards also have special ASIO drivers too which do the same thing, although exclusive mode is a lot less buggy then both. I have had many system crashes in XP due to kernel streaming in particular.

RE: Windows 7 on dv9207us
By Pirks on 5/6/2009 12:20:41 AM , Rating: 2
I guess you should be an audiophile to notice a difference, and run some pretty high end audio gear too. Not my turf.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
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