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Intel, Microsoft Show More Win 7 CPU Efficiency

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 41 comments

Windows 7 to get more out of your laptop battery.

By now, most of you who have been keeping abreast with our Windows 7 coverage knows that sort of improvements to expect when you upgrade or purchase a new PC with the upcoming Microsoft operating system. Windows 7 will fix many of the things wrong with Vista, and it'll also be able to get more computing by using fewer resources.

Intel and Microsoft held a press briefing yesterday highlighting some of the improvements Windows 7 has and its effect on hardware. While everyone enjoys greater power efficiency, the real appreciators of it should be laptop users.

The two companies used two identically configured ThinkPads T400s, one running Windows Vista SP2 and the other Windows 7, and compared the two's power usage. The Windows Vista SP2 machine consumed on average 20.2 watts, while the Windows 7 machine consumed 15.4 watts, according to PC World, which could translate to about 1.4 hours of additional battery life.

Such an improvement, as highlighted by the test using two sets of identical hardware, is all made possible on the software level. Both Microsoft and Intel run tests and monitor the interaction between hardware and software layers in hopes of finding areas in which they may optimize.

PC Magazine also reported that Intel revealed internal comparison tests running on a 2.53 GHz Penryn chip showed that Windows 7 had a 2.8 percent improvement at idle as compared to Windows Vista SP2. The advantage jumps to an 11 percent improvement when playing back a standard-definition DVD (18.35 watts versus 16.53 watts).

Intel credits the boost in battery life to something called Windows 7 timer coalescing, whereby a software control minimizes the period in which the processor is in a high-performance, full-power state. Windows 7 makes improvements by synchronizing when different applications call for the CPU, which translates to greater efficiency. While this obviously benefits laptop users, this type of technology should also lead to reduced power bills and heat generation.

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  • 19 Hide
    False_Dmitry_II , September 2, 2009 8:26 PM
    Does that also mean that they fixed the Vista problem of single core applications randomly migrating between cores forcing AMD to keep each core at the same speed instead of clocking down individual cores as was more efficient?
  • 13 Hide
    grieve , September 2, 2009 8:22 PM
    You had me @ "abreast"
  • 10 Hide
    jhansonxi , September 2, 2009 8:23 PM
    I'd like to see how Win7 power management compares to Vista, XP, and Ubuntu or Mandriva Linux with various tasks including word processing, 802.11 and 3G wireless, DVD encoding, and web browsing with Flash. An improvement over Vista isn't saying much.
Other Comments
  • 13 Hide
    grieve , September 2, 2009 8:22 PM
    You had me @ "abreast"
  • 0 Hide
    icepick314 , September 2, 2009 8:22 PM
    "The two companies used two identically configured ThinkPads T400s, one running Windows Vista SP2 and the other Windows 7, and compared the two's power usage."

    why didn't they test using SAME laptop by installing Windows Vista SP2, test it, then do fresh install using Windows 7?
  • 10 Hide
    jhansonxi , September 2, 2009 8:23 PM
    I'd like to see how Win7 power management compares to Vista, XP, and Ubuntu or Mandriva Linux with various tasks including word processing, 802.11 and 3G wireless, DVD encoding, and web browsing with Flash. An improvement over Vista isn't saying much.
  • 9 Hide
    grieve , September 2, 2009 8:25 PM
    jhansonxiI'd like to see how Win7 power management compares to Vista, XP, and Ubuntu or Mandriva Linux with various tasks including word processing, 802.11 and 3G wireless, DVD encoding, and web browsing with Flash. An improvement over Vista isn't saying much.

    While I agree with you I also don't really care about XP, Ubuntu or Mandriva Linux..
    I find the power savings a "bonus" because i will be transitioning to Win7 anyhow. I love it.
  • 19 Hide
    False_Dmitry_II , September 2, 2009 8:26 PM
    Does that also mean that they fixed the Vista problem of single core applications randomly migrating between cores forcing AMD to keep each core at the same speed instead of clocking down individual cores as was more efficient?
  • -3 Hide
    ejarendt , September 2, 2009 8:33 PM
    I'd be more interested in seeing a comparison between Windows XP and/or OS X. Improving just about anything compared to Vista is pretty easy - the OS is terrible.

    I still think it's pitiful that in eight years, MS hasn't managed to produce an OS that's faster or has better battery life than XP.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 2, 2009 8:53 PM
    I'm stunned that neither Microsoft, any Linux vendor, nor Apple has managed in 30 years to produce an OS that's faster or has better batter life than...DOS. OS's progress and they consume more resources - that's what they do. I don't know why anyone would expect a newer OS with improved features to be faster _other_ than in the case of Vista->Win7.
  • -3 Hide
    False_Dmitry_II , September 2, 2009 8:57 PM
    ejarendtI still think it's pitiful that in eight years, MS hasn't managed to produce an OS that's faster or has better battery life than XP.


    That's because EVERY OS system gets bigger as time goes on, no matter how slowly, and more features are implemented. And that includes linux. The fact that windows 7 has the same or less requirements than vista is a pretty good achievement considering what those requirements actually are. Go run windows 95 or whatever Mac OS was around back then on something more recent and it will run much faster than it did back then.
  • -6 Hide
    Shadow703793 , September 2, 2009 8:58 PM
    Yawn.... hurry up and release i5 (in USA; how come it's already for sale in Europe???)and Win 7 already, Intel & Microsoft!!!!
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 2, 2009 9:00 PM
    less = faster but who wants less hey?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 2, 2009 9:08 PM
    If you'll recall from an earlier article, Intel was allowed to help code Windows7 to run faster on Core i7. So.......... I wonder if this improvement in battery life will translate to AMD laptops(doubtful)...

    Microsoft also handicaps Phenom II CPUs by over-riding the BIOS TLB fix settings and applying the fix anyways, this is exactly why I'll be sticking with Linux, or XP pro corporate if I absolutely have to have Windows for something...
  • 2 Hide
    cryogenic , September 2, 2009 9:16 PM
    False_Dmitry_IIDoes that also mean that they fixed the Vista problem of single core applications randomly migrating between cores forcing AMD to keep each core at the same speed instead of clocking down individual cores as was more efficient?


    Yes they have. They actually done more than fix the thread scheduler, they added a new user mode thread scheduler which is more efficient than the kernel thread scheduler.

    Dave Probert: Inside Windows 7 - User Mode Scheduler (UMS)
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , September 2, 2009 9:16 PM
    False_Dmitry_IIThat's because EVERY OS system gets bigger as time goes on, no matter how slowly, and more features are implemented. And that includes linux. The fact that windows 7 has the same or less requirements than vista is a pretty good achievement considering what those requirements actually are. Go run windows 95 or whatever Mac OS was around back then on something more recent and it will run much faster than it did back then.


    Well you do agree that not all feats of Win7 justify purchasing a new OS, and the battery loss.
    The only 'real' feats noticeable are the looks, and DX11 for gaming.

    If it wasn't for internet security reasons, and driver issues of modern hardware,aswell as software incompatibility, Windows 98se would be the king on the hill!
    Booting faster, responding in a nanosecond, while consuming less battery than any other Windows OS.
    It was good enough for MSoffice, mails,and some basic 720p HD video playback.

    Many act as if XP is the past,but far from!
    The majority of pc users still use XP, and XP gets still shipped with some netbooks!

    I agree with his reply, comparing 7 to XP is much more interesting then comparing Win 7 to Vista.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 2, 2009 9:19 PM
    Ubuntu_9_10_Alpha_or_GTFOIf you'll recall from an earlier article, Intel was allowed to help code Windows7 to run faster on Core i7. ...

    I've read very little about this,but does that also apply to the Corei5's?
  • 1 Hide
    ejarendt , September 2, 2009 9:21 PM
    False_Dmitry_IIThat's because EVERY OS system gets bigger as time goes on, no matter how slowly, and more features are implemented. And that includes linux. The fact that windows 7 has the same or less requirements than vista is a pretty good achievement considering what those requirements actually are. Go run windows 95 or whatever Mac OS was around back then on something more recent and it will run much faster than it did back then.

    Snow Leopard's install size is down to ~10GB from Leopard's ~16GB install size, and it's faster.

    An OS doesn't have to keep having more and keep getting bigger. There are redundancies to eliminate, code to optimize, getting rid of legacy support (or making it downloadable instead of bundled), etc.
  • 1 Hide
    tektek , September 2, 2009 9:30 PM
    I cant say anything about this article..except... thats something really positive to hear..thumbs up!
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 2, 2009 10:03 PM
    ejarendt: But where do Win7/OSX/Vista get those huge 10/16gb installer footprints from? It certainly isn't all kernel/OS type code or anything... Take Kubuntu Linux for example. It fits on a CD-R. It looks every bit as nice as Vista/Win7 and OSX, it even comes with a full array of office applications(OpenOffice), internet applications(IM clients, bittorrent, etc..), 3d Desktop FX, and much, much more. The total installer footprint is about 2gb, and from where I'm sitting, it includes far, far more stuff.
  • 0 Hide
    ejarendt , September 2, 2009 10:06 PM
    16gb_of_pointlessness: exactly - that's my point. OS's don't necessarily have to keep increasing in size.
  • -6 Hide
    Trauma , September 2, 2009 10:48 PM
    2gb on a CDR? Hmmmm....
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , September 2, 2009 11:02 PM
    Now install XP and compare. Who cares about vista, it was garbage. What most people want to know is it better battery life then xp.
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