How Microsoft and Intel are working together to make Windows 7 better

A large part of Windows 7’s sucesss is attributed to Microsoft’s collaboration with its hardware partners, namely Intel. Microsoft and Intel have been working together for more than 20 years, so it was only natural for them to be involved with the development of Windows 7. The two companies have been working together to ensure that Windows 7 takes advantage of the hardware capabilities of Intel’s multi-core and multi-thread technologies.

One such feature described on the Microsoft Partner Blog, is SMT Parking:

Working with Intel, Microsoft implemented a new feature called SMT parking, which provided additional support for the Windows 7 scheduler for Intel Hyper-threading Technology, enabling better performance on hyper-threaded, multi-core Intel processors. This will help users get the maximum benefit from multi-tasking.

Intel spokesperson George Alfs explained to PCWorld the benefits of this feature:

This feature will help users break up tasks like video encoding and image filtering over multiple task-execution threads. The more cores you have, the better. Intel chips based on its new Nehalem architecture are capable of running two threads per core, and ultimately all of Intel’s laptop and desktop chips will be based on Nehalem.

Some other things the two companies have been working on improving Intel drivers and BIOS through analyzing the operating system’s boot, shutdown, sleep, and resume times. Windows Vista was criticized for not taking advantage of multicore and multithread chips. It will be interesting to see how Windows 7’s multi-threading abilities compare with Apple’s Mac OS X Snow Leopard, whose development team has said to have placed a big emphasis on multi-thread efficiency in the OS.



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