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Improved hardware and software compatibility one of the top three goals of Windows 7 development

Microsoft is working hard to make things better for the launch of Windows 7 following the lukewarm reception to Windows Vista. Vista was plagued with early hardware and software incompatibility issues that were one of the main reasons enterprise customers refused to migrate from XP.

Microsoft says that among the improvements in Windows 7 is better support for Hyper-Threading according to Microsoft's Bill Veghte. Veghte says that Microsoft has been working closely with Intel to beef up Windows 7’s support for Hyper-Threading. Hyper-Threading it a technique used by Intel to allow processing tasks to be divided among multiple cores on a processor.

Veghte said at the Microsoft TechEd conference, "The work that we've done in Windows 7 in the scheduler and the core of the system to take full advantage of those capabilities, ultimately we think we can deliver a great and better experience for you. We need to make sure the ecosystem is really, really ready."

Veghte is keen to get people to understand that Windows 7 won’t suffer from the same early problems Vista had that prevented the operating system from making headway in enterprise environments. He says that Windows 7 is "very, very close" to achieving full compatibility with virtually all hardware and software makers.

Microsoft currently expects to finish Windows 7 by mid-August and offer a final version to consumers and businesses by the holiday shopping season. That is a key target for Microsoft as a better operating system could woo consumers to buy new computers for the holidays. Better computer sales is certainly something that both Microsoft and computer makers need. Microsoft has admitted that Windows sales are down 16% in the most recent fiscal quarter.



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RE: Really HT?
By rmlarsen on 5/15/2009 12:28:17 PM , Rating: 5
A virtual (HT) CPU and a physical one may provide the same interface to the OS scheduler, but their performance characteristics will be quite different.

If the scheduler collects information about the characteristics of each thread it will be able to determine which are more suited to share execution resources and thus can be scheduled on HT CPUs.

For example, a highly tuned HPC code (think LINPACK for a generic example) will not share the CPU resources nicely as it is already optimized to take advantage of almost 100% of the functional units in the CPU. So the scheduler should try to avoid scheduling two such threads simultaneously on the same physical CPU. On the other hand, code that experiences many pipeline stalls/delays due to e.g. branches/data dependencies/cache misses will be a better candidate to schedule on an HT CPU.


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