Intel, Microsoft event to highlight Windows 7 improvements

Intel and Microsoft will hold an event next week to discuss collaboration on improvements to Windows 7.

The event next Tuesday in San Francisco will “share how the two companies collaborated on key enhancements during the development of Windows 7,” according to Intel. Steve Smith, vice-president and director, Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group Operations, and Michael Angiulo, General Manager of Windows Planning and PC Ecosystem at Microsoft will talk at the event.

Windows 7 collaboration will be demonstrated and illustrated by engineers from both companies, according to Intel. Not surprisingly, Microsoft is working closely with Intel, whose chips will power the vast majority of PCs running Windows 7.

In a blog posted in July, Intel described how Microsoft and Intel “saw unique opportunities to optimize Windows 7 for Intel processor technology” in the areas of performance, power management, and graphics.

The blog points to improvements to multitasking based on “SMT Parking,” which provides additional support to the Windows 7 scheduler for Intel Hyper-threading Technology. With Hyper-threading, the operating system sees a single processor core as two cores (i.e, a dual-core chip becomes a virtual quad-core processor), thus potentially improving multitasking–or doing tasks (threads) simultaneously.

Improvements over Vista for boot and shutdown times have also been targeted.

Intel also lists desktop motherboards on its site and associated drivers that have passed logo certification for Windows 7.

Another beneficiary of improved Windows 7 technology: Intel solid-state drives, which are typically faster than hard-disk drives and gaining ground in niche markets such as high-end laptops, gaming PCs, and servers. SSDs will be able to take advantage of Windows 7 technology called the Trim Command. Trim will allow blocks of data to be freed up for reuse to better maintain the performance of the SSD.

Windows 7 will also do more than previous operating systems with graphics via DirectX 11. Advanced Micro Devices has described DirectX 11-related technology that enables games developers to create smoother, less blocky and more organic looking objects in games. And, beyond games, Windows 7 has the potential to turn a graphics processing unit (GPU) from AMD or Nvidia into a general-purpose compute engine, used to accelerate everyday computing tasks like a central processing unit, or CPU. Specifically, “the compute shader” can be used to speed up more common computing tasks. The buzz word used to describe this technology is a mouthful: GPGPU or general-purpose graphics processing unit.

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