"something better" has arrived today. Windows 7 has
launched with record sales, according to online giant Amazon and
several European retailers.
The new OS is available
in six editions with both 32 and 64-bit versions: Starter, Home
Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. Home
Basic and higher editions are supersets of lower editions and contain
all of the features of the editions below it.
The data for all
editions of Windows 7 is contained on a single DVD. This allows an
electronic upgrade to be accomplished quickly once Microsoft sends
the electronic authorization to your computer. Theoretically, you can
upgrade from the Starter edition to the Ultimate edition within
The list of hardware requirements shouldn't
strain any computers released in the last few years. As a minimum,
Win7 requires a CPU running at 1Ghz. 1GB of RAM is needed for 32-bit
editions and 2 GB RAM is needed for 64-bit editions. 16GB and 20GB of
hard drive space are required respectively. The new OS requires a
DirectX 9 graphics card as a minimum, along with drivers supporting
WDDM 1.0 or higher.
Unlike Vista, driver support from device
manufacturers is very strong due to the long public beta testing
period. Most Vista drivers are compatible with Windows 7, although in
some cases minor tweaks are required. Many 64-bit drivers have also
been released as OEMs increasingly standardize on 64-bit editions of
Many enthusiasts are using Win7 as an opportunity to
to a 64-bit operating system. Others are looking at this as a
good opportunity to either build or purchase a new computer, or to
upgrade motherboards, CPUs, and other components.
11 is one of the big features of the new OS. Hardware
tessellation, multithreaded rendering, and the use of Shader Model
5.0 will enable games to run faster while looking more
The only GPU manufacturer currently making
hardware is ATI. They first released Windows 7 drivers in March,
and are releasing Catalyst 9.10 today as part of their Windows 7
support. WHQL qualified Catalyst drivers are updated monthly, and are
available in 32 and 64-bit editions.
Laptop and netbook users
are being specially target with several new features, but all users
will benefit. Windows 7 runs with much fewer background activities
than Vista. That means that the CPU doesn't work as hard and so draws
less power. Other innovations include less power consumption during
DVD playback (handy on long flights), automatic screen dimming,
powering off of unused ports, and a more accurate battery-life
Some OEMs have been showing a consistent PC sales
slowdown for the last month. Although almost all of them were
offering a free upgrade to Windows 7 from Windows Vista, most
consumers have preferred to wait for a PC with Windows 7
OEMs are launching hundreds of new products
using Windows 7, while also repackaging older models with the new OS.
Several OEMs that DailyTech spoke with confirmed that they had
been holding back some products until today.
make sense for us to launch new products with Vista or XP and then
launch new Win7 SKUs a month later," stated one source.
be switching entirely to Win7 across our product line anyway,"
Microsoft sees the sales of the Windows 7
product lineup in a bell curve. The vast majority of sales will be
Home Premium for consumers while Professional will be the choice for
most businesses and enthusiasts. The majority of Windows sales will
be 64-bit, with over 75% of total Windows 7 sales through OEM