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The wait is finally over!

Many enthusiasts have been looking forward to the launch of Windows 7 since the launch of Windows Vista. Lack of drivers, slow speeds, greater hardware requirements, and a new user interface didn't sit well with the public. Although highly touted, Vista was a disappointment to many people who decided to stick with Windows XP until something better came.

That "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 fifteen minutes.

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 Windows.

Many enthusiasts are using Win7 as an opportunity to move 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.

DirectX 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 realistic.

The only GPU manufacturer currently making DirectX11 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 indicator.

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 preinstalled.

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.

"It didn't make sense for us to launch new products with Vista or XP and then launch new Win7 SKUs a month later," stated one source.

"We'll be switching entirely to Win7 across our product line anyway," he elaborated.

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 installations.



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RE: Final build?
By TomZ on 10/22/2009 10:52:05 AM , Rating: 2
"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser














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