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.