Windows 7 Multiprocessor Performance – A Mixed Bag

Though everyone is getting on the Windows 7 bandwagon, for a variety of reasons, one thing it appears is not changing for the non-server market is the multiprocessor or multicore performance.

In tests done at InfoWorld, it is shown that overall performance is not enough changed to speak of. Where the differences come in is in the code that is found in Windows Server 2008 R2, which won’t be seen by many on a desktop. On the server platform, the changes allow better scaling over many processors, and better control of what process gets fixed to what core (or processor).

The slashdot blurb tells about scaling up to 256 processors -

“InfoWorld’s Andrew Binstock tests whether Windows 7′s threading advances fulfill the promise of improved performance and energy reduction. He runs Windows XP Professional, Vista Ultimate, and Windows 7 Ultimate against Viewperf and Cinebench benchmarks using a Dell Precision T3500 workstation, the price-performance winner of an earlier roundup of Nehalem-based workstations. ‘What might be surprising is that Windows 7′s multithreading changes did not deliver more of a performance punch,’ Binstock writes of the benchmarks, adding that the principal changes to Windows 7 multithreading consist of increased processor affinity, ‘a wholly new mechanism that gets rid of the global locking concept and pushes the management of lock access down to the locked resources,’ permitting Windows 7 to scale up to 256 processors without performance penalty, but delivering little performance gains for systems with only a few processors. ‘Windows 7 performs several tricks to keep threads running on the same execution pipelines so that the underlying Nehalem processor can turn off transistors on lesser-used or inactive pipelines,’ Binstock writes. ‘The primary benefit of this feature is reduced energy consumption,’ with Windows 7 requiring 17 percent less power to run than Windows XP or Vista.”

Seventeen percent is nothing to sneeze at, so that is a reason for many large institutions to make the switch. This makes me wonder how much savings there can be on my AMD quad. Perhaps it’s time for the Windows Ultimate disk to be opened.

The thing that anyone should be aware of, is that for every benchmark, there is another benchmark, with contradictory results. When we see a headline from a Fortune 500 company talking about their energy savings after the switch, we can be assured of the results shown here.

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if you save 17% on energy for your computer, you have an extra 17% for your stereo amplifier! Vacuum tubes are so cool and the sound is like heaven!

AudioResearch_hd220

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