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Windows 7 On Multicore — How Much Faster?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the where-do-i-buy-a-256-core-netbook dept.

Windows 349

snydeq writes "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."

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349 comments

Windows 7 is better than Linux (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29822649)

Suck it, nerds.

Snow Leopard is better than Windows 7 (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29822719)

Suck it, Microsoft drone.

Snow Leopard is for Homosexuals (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29822869)

Can I run Snow Leopard on the computer I built myself?

I'm not going to buy a gay computer just so I can run a gay operating system.

I would tell you to suck it, but as an Apple using homosexual you probably already have a dick in your mouth.

Re:Snow Leopard is for Homosexuals (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29822953)

Don't forget that there's probably shit on that dick, too.

Re:Windows 7 is better than Linux (3, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822887)

But how does it compare to XP X64? I have been running XP X64 for nearly a year now, which is of course the excellent Win2K3 server with an XP shell, and frankly it has been just awesome for multithreaded apps. Everything is smooth as butter, only is using 458Mb of my 8Gb leaving the rest for stuff I WANT, and doesn't fricking phone home all the damned time like Vista does. Does anybody with experience with it know how much Windows 7 calls home? Because Vista was constantly pinging my firewall and irritating the hell out of me.

So while I picked up a copy of Win7 HP to play with and learn how to work on it, unless some "killer app" comes out for it I think I'll be sticking with XP X64 for quite awhile yet. It really is a damned good business OS and doesn't bug the living crap out of me like Vista did. BTW did they solve the "senior moments" in Vista? You know, where it would freeze for 3-12 seconds, just long enough to bug the shit out of you? Or the problem where the network would slow to a crawl if you watched vids or listened to tunes while transferring files? Those both drove me up a fricking wall with that OS.

Re:Windows 7 is better than Linux (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822995)

But how does it compare to XP X64?

It's slower.

Win7 is basically just a refurbished Vista under the hood.

Re:Windows 7 is better than Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29823397)

XP X64 sucks and it is most assuredly not the same thing on any level as Win2K3 server. You need to get out more.

Re:Windows 7 is better than Linux (3, Interesting)

strangemachinex (1659711) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823639)

I'm the type of guy that hates change. I used Windows 2000 until '06 when my copy finally quit working due to numerous re-installs (I hated solving problems and would just format whenever something came up). I learned to love XP and used it until about a month ago when I got a x64 system. I was gonna switch to XP64, but heard the driver support was terrible, especially for gaming. I read one x64 comparison between XP, Vista, and Windows 7 and the reviewers couldn't even get XP 64 stable enough to complete the test. But anyway, if your using it for business I guess that's not a big deal for you. I've been using Windows 7 a couple of months now, and have to say I really like it. It's a little more nannyish than XP, but it looks cool, and does streamline alot of things. I have 4 monitors connected to my PC, and getting them all to work in XP took hours. To my surprise, all 4 sprang to life halfway through the installation of Windows 7. I've never used Vista, but I haven't had any problems when streaming videos or music. I stream movies to other PCs and music to my iphone all the time with no problems. In my opinion, if XP64 is working for you, stick with it, but Windows 7 is cool to.

Re:Windows 7 is better than Linux (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823475)

Suck what? The fact that Windows is finally catching up to Unix in this area?

What are you going to test this feature out on?

You can buy 1024 CPU Linux boxes. 100 cpu Unix boxes have been commonplace for awhile.

Microsoft is last to the party (like always).

Re:Windows 7 is better than Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29823505)

Correctamundo!

Less power? (5, Funny)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822655)

Nooo! I was hoping that power consumption would continue to increase! Sooner or later our PCs would require 1.21GW!

Re:Less power? (5, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822811)

Indeed. So much work with my lightning catcher for nothing.

Well, time to go back to the human reanimation experiment.

Re:Less power? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822917)

Maybe you should have worked on something more useful, like a machine to turn trash into power!

Re:Less power? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823071)

Maybe you should have worked on something more useful, like a machine to turn trash into power!

I build such machine, but it was too dangerous.

You see, if it ever got in contact with a Windows they'd both disappear in a higly energetic explosion.

Re:Less power? (1)

Random2 (1412773) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823167)

Nooo! I was hoping that power consumption would continue to increase! Sooner or later our PCs would require 1.21GW!

Don't you mean jigawatts?

Re:Less power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29823343)

Perhaps with the introduction of 500-600 mile batteries for cars, we can finally see 72 hr batteries for laptops and possibly take advantage of this "proclaimed" 17% increase in power reduction from Windows 7. Might turn out to be 78 hrs on batteries !!! WooT .... but then again, if its not green, Al Gore and the Tree Huggers as well as the EU won't embrace it proactively. Perhaps the newer versions of Ubuntu will be the ticket !!!!

Re:Less power? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29823429)

http://www.sqjg.cn

Not Really (4, Funny)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822685)

'What might be surprising is that Windows 7's multithreading changes did not deliver more of a performance punch,'

No, it's not surprising.

Re:Not Really (5, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822741)

It's not surprising because the OS really can't do that much to improve (or mess up) the performance of user-mode code that isn't making many OS calls anyways.

What is surprising is that power consumption could be so significantly reduced. This story could have come out with an entirely different spin if the headline were simply, "Windows 7 Reduces Power Consumption by 17%."

Re:Not Really (5, Interesting)

setagllib (753300) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822813)

I disagree - user-mode code, whether it's separated into threads or processes, still relies very heavily on kernel scheduling decisions. It may sound simple enough, but if you study the decisions the kernel has to make (such as which thread to wake first, from a set of 8 all waiting on the same semaphore), you can find lots of ways to get it wrong. We now take it for granted because thousands of man-years have been spent on solutions.

Re:Not Really (5, Interesting)

SpryGuy (206254) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822867)

While actual performance may not be faster, perceived performance almost certianly is. It "feels" snappier, seems to respond better, due to some optimizations in locking and in the graphics subsystem that allows visual feedback in one app to not be blocked or held up by work going on in another app.

Re:Not Really (1)

Clairvoyant (137586) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823531)

Yes, exactly like my snake-oil $25000 loudspeaker cables I'm using.... more punch... it feels quicker... less in-your-face...

Where are the actual tests to prove that win7 "feels" quicker?

I disagree with *you* (0)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822879)

Why would anybody expect Windows 7 to be magically faster at crunching numbers? It's 100% CPU dependent and no OS can speed up your CPU.

Re:I disagree with *you* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29822927)

How naive.

Re:I disagree with *you* (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823529)

Is that really the best you can come up with?

Some of us have actually don't development on large Unix servers. There
really isn't any reason the OS should be getting in the way. The
bottlenecks should be all in your applications. A well built application
should be able to light up your entire server, fully exploit all of it's
hardware and scale well while doing it.

Whether or not you overwhelm your scheduler is also something that should
be an application problem rather than an OS problem.

Re:I disagree with *you* (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823067)

Lots of things affect performance. One of the big things is cache usage. A L1 cache miss costs around 10 cycles these days. A L2 cache miss costs 200 or more. If you move a process (or thread) between cores on the same die with a shared L2 cache, then every load or store instruction for a little while will cause a L1 cache miss. If you move them between processors with no shared cache, then every access will cause a L2 cache miss. If, every time you schedule a thread, it is on a different processor then, given that a typical scheduling quantum is only 10ms, your thread will spend most of its time loading data from main memory to cache. This will show up as 100% CPU usage, but will only be getting something like 10% of the maximum theoretical throughput for that CPU. Improve processor affinity, and you can easily see a large speedup relative to this.

Re:I disagree with *you* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29823635)

I miss your sig, but kudos for being one of the few slashdot users that I recognize by name and by the quality of the post.

Re:Not Really (2, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822859)

This story could have come out with an entirely different spin if the headline were simply, "Windows 7 Reduces Power Consumption by 17%."

Welcome to Slashdot!

Re:Not Really (4, Informative)

RicktheBrick (588466) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823467)

I do volunteer work for world community grid. I use to run 7 computers. I now run 4 quad computers. A quad will beat 4 computers in work done and will use less electricity than 4 computers running at comparable speeds. My electricity bill went down when running the 4 quads than it was with the 7 computers and daily contribution has more than doubled.

Re:Not Really (2, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822871)

No, it's not surprising.

Should have implemented Grand Central [wikipedia.org] , I hear it's free and opensource. Even has the Apache license so that it allows use of the source code for the development of proprietary software.

I mean they already borrowed the TCP IP stack. [gcn.com]

Re:Not Really (1)

LO0G (606364) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823143)

Why would Microsoft implement GCD when they already have ConcRT [msdn.com] which appears to be a better (more scalable) implementation of the same functionality?

And while the NT 3.1 TCP stack was based on the BSD TCP stack, that TCP stack was replaced in Win95/NT4.

Re:Not Really (3, Informative)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823503)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but GCD seems to be a user-space parallelism library, while TFS is talking about kernel-space task scheduling. I hate the unintended (and bad) pun but I think you were comparing apples and oranges here.

Re:Not Really (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822997)

>No, it's not surprising.

Im not surprised. I think we're going to find that as people start taking Win7 apart that its not too much different from Vista because Vista itself was pretty efficient to begin with. The Vista bashing was really unjustified and after you got over issues like old drivers, old hardware, and pre-SP1 UAC, you pretty much have Win7.

Something is wrong with Win7 power management (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29822711)

I have an Abit IP35-Pro motherboard. I mostly run Linux but occasionally boot to Windows 7 for some games. Almost always Windows 7 will screw up my BIOS to the point that the automatic CPU fan control no longer works (requiring a hard power-off to fix).

Re:Something is wrong with Win7 power management (5, Funny)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822837)

So you've got a Linux fan and not a Windows fan. Not surprising on this site.

Re:Something is wrong with Win7 power management (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29822979)

Not surprising on this site.

Where have you been for the past couple of years?

Slashdot's a Microsoft fansite now. Criticism of Win 7 or even just mentioning MS marketing means an automatic "Troll"mod.

Re:Something is wrong with Win7 power management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29823053)

Any examples?

Re:Something is wrong with Win7 power management (5, Insightful)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822923)

Windows 7 (like all modern versions of Windows) does nothing with the BIOS at all - the BIOS ceases running as soon as Windows starts booting. You don't even need to *have* a BIOS to run Win7. And, if a power cycle fixes the issue, it clearly is not a BIOS problem.

If the device drivers for your motherboard have a bug - which sounds more like the cause of your issue - then that isn't a Microsoft problem at all, since they didn't write the drivers. Contact Abit for support.

Re:Something is wrong with Win7 power management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29823081)

Not true. The BIOS controls the fans and such even when the OS is running.

Windows 7 does do something that makes it so the BIOS can no longer read the CPU temperature. When this happens the BIOS reported CPU temperature is stuck and always reads the same, whether it be in Windows, Linux, whatever. Until a hard power cycle. System works fine as long as I don't boot to Windows 7.

Re:Something is wrong with Win7 power management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29823221)

Again, I have to agree with sunderland's post. Go get the correct drivers and update your mobo... this doesn't sound like a Windows problem, but more of a driver/firmware version problem. The OS can not reach into your firmware and change your BIOS, but your BIOS can defer to a higher level OS management if it's not working properly or if your settings tell it to do so. This is more likely your problem.

Re:Something is wrong with Win7 power management (4, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823269)

Latest ABIT BIOS resolves a lot of issues with the temperature sensor on IP35 boards. Check the ABIT forums.

And work on your Google-fu.

Re:Something is wrong with Win7 power management (4, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823321)

If the device drivers for your motherboard have a bug - which sounds more like the cause of your issue - then that isn't a Microsoft problem at all, since they didn't write the drivers. Contact Abit for support.

I think that's being a little too easy on Microsoft. Getting drivers right is a shared effort of both the hardware vendor and MS. Both parties need to do their jobs right in order for the overall system to work.

Even if it is a bad driver, one might blame MS for not making Windows 7 sufficiently compatible with Vista at the device-driver-interface level. Or for building an ecosystem in which closed-source, maintainable-only-by-the-OEM drivers are the norm, etc.

I think the best we can say here is that the MS-Abit team seems to have produced a bug.

Re:Something is wrong with Win7 power management (3, Insightful)

DdJ (10790) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823391)

If the device drivers for your motherboard have a bug - which sounds more like the cause of your issue - then that isn't a Microsoft problem at all, since they didn't write the drivers. Contact Abit for support.

If we take this as true, it's an example of why for some people, paying a premium for a Macintosh is worth the cost and can make sense. You give up the freedom to do all sorts of things (like get a machine with specs perfectly suited to specialized needs for example), but you gain freedom from a lot of problems of this sort.

(Just trying to plant this in the heads of the countless people who argue there's literally no rational reason to buy a Mac, and only fanboys would even consider it. You won't see me argue that there's no such thing as an Apple fanboy, but I will argue that the fanboy phenomenon is not all there is to Apple's sales.)

Re:Something is wrong with Win7 power management (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823395)

You don't even need to *have* a BIOS to run Win7.

Err... you DO know what first takes control of the computer when you turn it on right? The BIOS. SOMETHING has to load the MBR from disk and execute it.

After that, yeah, modern Windows tends to do it's own thing and doesn't use the BIOS for anything.

Re:Something is wrong with Win7 power management (2, Informative)

orudge (458780) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823593)

Windows 7 (as well as I think certain versions of Vista) provides support for booting from EFI rather than a BIOS. While, yes, it's still a "BIOS-like" bootstrap loader, Windows 7 is not reliant on any specific BIOS functions.

Re:Something is wrong with Win7 power management (2, Informative)

Kijori (897770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823665)

You don't even need to *have* a BIOS to run Win7.

Err... you DO know what first takes control of the computer when you turn it on right?

That would be a firmware interface. BIOS is one example of a firmware interface - and is the defacto standard on a PC - but it isn't the only one. You can indeed run all recent versions of Windows without a BIOS.

Re:Something is wrong with Win7 power management (2, Informative)

wbo (1172247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823125)

I actually have a system using that same motherboard. The BIOS on this board does have a tendency to run the CPU fan at full speed after rebooting. Even when it does work, it does not do a very good job at adjusting fan speeds based on the CPU temperature.

In my experience it is best not to rely on the BIOS control on these boards and instead use a software solution to adjust the fan speeds.

Under Windows you can use the Abit uGuru software to automatically adjust fan speeds based on temperature thresholds you specify which works quite well (at least under XP and Vista, haven't tested it on Windows 7 yet.) You can also use SpeedFan, but I prefer the Abit utility since it appears to react to temperature changes a bit faster.

I haven't run Linux on this board but you may be able to find a Linux application that is also capable of adjusting fan speeds.

Re:Something is wrong with Win7 power management (-1, Troll)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823145)

The Windows drivers are using every setting of that motherboard, while the Linux drivers dont even know about some of them.

You only experience problems in Linux.

Could it maybe be that your Linux installation cannot cope with some of those settings, which it doesnt even know exist, being non-default?

Use your brain instead of your religion. The problem is on the Linux end. Nobody at all is getting paid to make sure that every advanced feature of your motherboard is leveraged under Linux, while there is surely a team of developers bring paid a very healthy salary to make sure that every feature can be leveraged under Windows.

Is this really that surprising? (2, Informative)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822747)

Is this really that surprising? I mean, splitting threads over different cores, having two cores still isn't going to be that much faster than one. I wouldn't expect to see much a gain just from this any more than I would on Linux or BSD. Still, every little bit helps.

Power savings (2, Interesting)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822799)

From what I've seen, unless you're on a Core i7, you're not getting the power savings. I'm still running a Core Duo on my Windows XP sp3 box and I don't think it'll do me any good.

Seeing the performance increase and in some cases decrease from Vista to 7, I don't see that as a selling feature either.

What does intrigue me is the ability of the OS to allocate threads to the different cores. That is something I would want to learn more about.

Basically, unless you're on a workstation and running intensive applications, you're not going to benefit from buying Windows 7 for an old machine.

Re:Power savings (4, Informative)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823041)

From what I've seen, unless you're on a Core i7, you're not getting the power savings.

The 17% power savings mentioned on page 3 of the article is primarily for the Intel Xeon 3500 and 5500 lines (the Nahalem processors), which shut off power to cores that aren't being actively used. The other linked articles go into this more in depth.

slashdot censoring comments about its twitter feed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29822883)

twitter feed gone, slashdot censoring its comments about it.

maybe if its main site wasnt to slow people wouldnt have to use twitter...

Did we really expect different? (-1, Troll)

jkrise (535370) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822891)

Windows 7 is nothing but Refurbished Vista.. which was XP with lots of bloat and less of new features. The only reason Windows 7 is being released is for MS to make a revenue stream for nothing. It is not much different from XP.

Re:Did we really expect different? (1)

Kirin Fenrir (1001780) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822963)

More like Windows Vista was the beta of Windows 7.

Those of use that skipped Vista would do well to pick up 7, which while flawed, seems to me to be the best of the Windows home operating systems.

Re:Did we really expect different? (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822999)

The article is about major changes in the scheduler and their effects. How can you have major kernel changes, but claim that it is just "refurbished Vista"?

People complained long and loud about Vista. Microsoft addressed all of the complaints, and produced an OS that is faster, easier to use, and consumes less power. Now, people are complaining that this new OS is just "refurbished Vista". Was Vista just "refurbished XP"? Was XP just "refurbished Win95"?

Re:Did we really expect different? (-1, Flamebait)

gx5000 (863863) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823061)

Windows 7 is NOT as or Faster than XP. PERIOD, stop the lies already. Although it IS faster than Vista, that's not saying much.... Now saving 17% power ? you can keep it. If M$ HAD brought forward an Improved performance OS we would have all jumped on it. They didn't....Move along.... Your final statement isn't worth responding to.

Re:Did we really expect different? (4, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823201)

You might not care about potentially 17% CPU power savings. I expect large enterprises who run 10,000 PCs including data centers would be very interested.

As for Windows 7 being an improved OS, yes it is. It is a substantial improvement over XP and Vista in a variety of ways such as security, virtualization support, performance on multi-core processors, support for 64-bit processors, desktop usability etc. Perhaps none of them matter to you or don't matter enough to switch but that's besides the point.

Re:Did we really expect different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29823045)

Isn't Windows 7 some kind of holiday retro version meant to bridge the gap between 3.1 and 95? I'll stick with the highest version number, Windows 2000, thank you.

Not all code can be done in parallel (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822897)

What the new languages and OS's are doing, are just making it easier for developers to make code that runs on parallel processors. However most of us are not trained to write parallel code. And there are some algorithms that cannot be parallelized. What the moderns OS are doing is taking code that was designed to run multi-threaded or parallel in the first place and in essence have them run more efficient on multi-processors. As well as giving you some tools to make development easier and stop us from trying to work around all those conflicts that distracts us from software development. Much like how String classes came common for developers so we didn't need to fuss around with allocations just to do some basic string manipulation... (Alocate space, calculate the memory offset insure the last character was a 0x00...) aka making development really easy for buffer overflow errors if you missed a step.

Re:Not all code can be done in parallel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29822973)

What the new languages and OS's are doing, are just making it easier for developers to make code that runs on parallel processors. However most of us are not trained to write parallel code.

And firefox is one of the worst offenders. Say you have 3 browser windows open, looking at 3 different websites.

In one of the windows, go to a new website, like www.newwebsite.com. All the firefox browser windows will hang until the DNS query for www.newwebsite.com completes. Not only annoying, but pointless.

Re:Not all code can be done in parallel (2, Interesting)

DannyO152 (544940) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823547)

And who wants to spend money looking at decades old code in order to make explicit implicit blocks, or dare to risk breakage by tweaking the code to be concurrency amenable?

Windows kernel still had global locks then? Wow.. (-1, Troll)

Idaho (12907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29822947)

a wholly new mechanism that gets rid of the global locking concept and pushes the management of lock access down to the locked resources

So, you're telling me that before Windows 7, the Windows kernel was still using global locks for this kind of purpose? Seriously?

I may be slightly mistaken about the timeframe, but wasn't that kind of thing fixed in the Linux kernel, like, at least 5-10 years ago? I remember reading some LWN articles about it ages ago, at least.

If so, I had no idea Windows development was *that* far behind the times, from a technological perspective.

Re:Windows kernel still had global locks then? Wow (0, Flamebait)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823281)

You pick one feature, which may or may not be the same as what Linux is doing, then use that to claim Windows is behind the times?

Meanwhile, normal people can't use a Linux desktop worth a damn.

Re:Windows kernel still had global locks then? Wow (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823585)

Except this isn't an article about how "the one true word processor" doesn't have a Linux version.

This is about basic OS level functionality that's very easy to quantify and is not vulnerable to rhetoric and sophistry.

Re:Windows kernel still had global locks then? Wow (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823647)

Mac users can't use a Windows desktop too easily if they haven't been previously exposed.

Windows users have issues with OSX.

The use of Windows is learned, like anything else. Most normal people can't use Windows worth a damn either, they can click the blue E and then complain their computer got slow and they don't know how to install a printer....

Re:Windows kernel still had global locks then? Wow (2, Insightful)

0ld_d0g (923931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823341)

What you're probably thinking of is patch for the Big Kernel Lock(BKL) in Linux which basically was the origin of SMP scaling in Linux. This article is talking about the kernel dispatcher lock in NT. Two separate things.

Re:Windows kernel still had global locks then? Wow (1)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823439)

You need to learn how to read, because the reality described in the article is nothing like what you are saying. Additionally, no, "that kind of thing" that you are incorrectly describing was not "fixed" in the Linux kernel "like, at least 5-10 years ago." The Linux of 5-10 years ago had some of the worst use of global locking around. This isn't even about global locks, though; it is about replacing one particular lock implementation's use of a global mutex while modifying lock data structures to embedding the mutexes within the lock data structures.

Anytime a thread wants to access an item that might be claimed by another thread, it must use a lock to make sure that only one thread at a time can modify the item. Prior to Windows 7, when a thread needed to get or access a lock, its request had to go through a global locking mechanism. This mechanism -- the kernel dispatcher lock -- would handle the requests. Because it was unique and global, it handled potentially thousands of requests from all processors on which Windows ran. As a result, this dispatcher lock was becoming a major bottleneck. In fact, it was a principal gating factor that kept Windows Server from running on more than 64 processors.

New locking mechanism
Windows 7 includes a wholly new mechanism that gets rid of the global locking concept and pushes the management of lock access down to the locked resources. This permits Windows 7 to scale up to 256 processors without performance penalty. On systems with only a few processors, however, the old kernel dispatcher lock was not overburdened, so this new mechanism provides no noticeable improvement in threading performance on desktops and small servers.

too much is never enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29822985)

that must be why /. now includes censorship, & does so much advertising for the felonious kingdumb of gottiesque softwar gangsters.

Wadaya want, chopped liver? (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823003)

...permitting Windows 7 to scale up to 256 processors without performance penalty, but delivering little performance gains for systems with only a few processors...

So you're disappointed Microsoft doesn't magically speed up your single or dual-core PC? Maybe you're expecting too much.

Re:Wadaya want, chopped liver? (2, Informative)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823131)

Maybe he's a mac user. 10.1-> 10.2 -> 10.3 all sped up my 550 mhz powerbook back in the day. 10.4 was the first OS update to slow down my computer (10.3.9 was screaming fast on my laptop). 10.4.1 fixed some speed issues, and by the time 10.4.5 came out it was nearly as fast as 10.3.5 or so. So it's possible to upgrade your OS and end up with a faster feeling system. There used to be a mac benchmarking site, mac feats that documented that each release was in fact marginally faster in most every aspect.

Re:Wadaya want, chopped liver? (3, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823383)

Yeah, it's possible for an OS to slow down your computer by improperly handling tasks, but you can't depend on finding and correcting them. (They may not even be there.) It's understandable to be annoyed if an OS update slows down your system; it's something else to expect a speed-up from out of nowhere.

Also, Windows 7 users are reporting a subjective improvement in response much like you report in OS X's progression.

Re:Wadaya want, chopped liver? (1)

Neil Hodges (960909) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823461)

And I bet 10.6 works quite well on there, too.</sarcasm>

Re:Wadaya want, chopped liver? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823611)

Supposedly there was a hack to allow 1ghz computers to run 10.5, but I wouldn't have much space left over on the 20GB hard drive after 10.5 would be installed. Sadly like most TiBooks of that era, one of my hinges broke and it's now collecting dust somewhere. Sadly a hinge repair costs almost as much as the entire laptop is worth these days.

Ouch (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823029)

I should know better than to click on InfoWorld links, but I think I just lost about 10 IQ points as a result of reading that article.

In summary, Windows 7 now tries to keep threads on the same processor. It has been known for about 15 years that this gives better cache, and therefore overall, performance. Any scheduling algorithm developed in the last decade or so includes a process migration penalty, so you default to keeping a thread on a given processor and only move it when that processor is overly busy, another one is not, and the difference is greater than the migration penalty (which is different for moving between contexts in a core, between cores, and between physical processors, due to different cache layout). This also helps reduce the need for locking in the scheduler. Each CPU has its own local run queue, and you only need synchronization during process migration.

If Vista, or even Windows Server 2003, didn't already do this, then I would be very surprised. FreeBSD and Linux both have done for several years, and Solaris has for even longer. Fine-grained in-kernel locking is not new either; almost every other kernel that I know of that supports SMP has been implementing this for a long time. One of the big pushes for FreeBSD 5 (released almost a decade ago) was to support fine-grained locking, where individual resources had their own locks, and FreeBSD was a little bit behind Linux and a long way behind Solaris in implementing this support.

Is windows 7 better than Vista ? (1)

sophialxw (1567701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823089)

Some of my friends are already using windows 7, they said it is much better than vista, I also want to try, but my computer is a little old, maybe don't have enough space to run it. garment accessories, laces, lace fabrics, buttons, zippers, ribbons & tapes,http://www.dk-textile.com , cords & ropes, beads, sequins, headties, embroidery threads, metallic yarns, fashion accessories; knitting machine spare parts, yarn feeders, lycra feeders, stop motions, belt adjusters, pulleys and needles.

It does not have the same enjoyment of Jordan Smal (-1, Offtopic)

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Re:It does not have the same enjoyment of Jordan S (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823543)

DOS attack on tntshoes.com in 3, 2, 1....

Payless Shoes posting spam for Discount Online Shoe Superstore in 3, 2, 1...

Most interesting part uncommented... (3, Interesting)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823175)

In the article,t he numbers show that Vista SP2 gives a clear edge over Win XP SP3 in every case. I'm surprised that this wasn't commented on, given the general perception of Vista's sluggishness.

Does it really matter? Not for me. (-1, Troll)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823191)

The only way I would run Windows (anything) would be inside of VirtualBox on either a Mac or Ubuntu box. Given this scenario, how much would improved multi-threading matter?

Windows version - 7 *ULTIMATE* (2, Insightful)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823301)

They tested Windows ULTIMATE, the best of the newest against the oldest patched-up version of XP. And it only saved a marginal amount of power. and may be slightly faster in some operations. What about the versions that the average Joe is going to be running? There are Starter, Home, Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate; each with an increasing price requirement (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/compare). How does the "basement" version compare to XP SP3 (or against the various flavors of XP)? Still not apples-to-apples (oh, I hate the puns from that), but might give a better representation of what's going on.

Re:Windows version - 7 *ULTIMATE* (3, Insightful)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823421)

Come on, look at the feature comparisons, and tell me which actual features of Ultimate make it any faster than Professional, or even Home Premium.

If Ultimate was actually faster than any other version of 7, wouldn't it be in tech news sites everywhere? Ultimate is about more features, not about more speed.

Re:Windows version - 7 *ULTIMATE* (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29823671)

I agree with you in theory, but in practice it is not so clear. The server and client editions of previous Windows versions either had different kernels or different kernel tuning parameters in the registry; it is not so hard to imagine that Microsoft could extend this practice to tweak different editions of the client versions, though I am not aware of them ever doing this. Also, the different server editions have similar modifications depending on how expensive they are (i.e. how many clients can connect simultaneously, etc). In any case, I doubt there would be much of a noticeable performance difference if they did tweak the different editions.

Re:Windows version - 7 *ULTIMATE* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29823539)

The only difference if you look is the added features. Such as home does not have the corporate networking features. The base kernel and OS is the same so performance will be identical or even better since the lower ones do not have to manage additional features. Although Ultimate might handle it better since it can toss more things over unto other cores versus home which might hit a point where it has already finished spreading out.

Re:Windows version - 7 *ULTIMATE* (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823643)

They tested Windows ULTIMATE, the best of the newest against the oldest patched-up version of XP.

What? They tested the best of the newest version of Windows 7 against the best of the newest version of XP. The oldest version of XP would have no service packs at all.

And it only saved a marginal amount of power.

17% is not marginal. What would you consider to be non-marginal? Greater than 100%?

What about the versions that the average Joe is going to be running?

Average Joe doesn't use a Xeon processor either. The choice of operating system versions seems appropriate for the level of hardware. Average Joe should just wait until someone does a comparison using games & video encoders if he wants real world tests more suitable to his needs. This test was very specific to one measure of performance.

Re:Windows version - 7 *ULTIMATE* (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823649)

Does Ultimate come with a different kernel to Home? I was under the impression that the only differences between the versions were at the userland level. It's not like the older WinNT releases that actually did have slightly different kernels.

Harldy a surprise (1, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823427)

"What might be surprising is that Windows 7's multithreading changes did not deliver more of a performance punch"

      Umm, it may be surprising to any alien who is just visiting our planet, however for people who have bought Microsoft software in the past, this is the norm. Every OS successor ever written by Microsoft (except perhaps MS-DOS 5.0) has 1) required faster hardware, greater memory and has delivered 2) The same or inferior performance. It's not all _bad_, Microsoft does tend to add some bells and whistles. However these are hard to justify (eg: why the FUCK does my Microsoft Keyboard driver consist of 80 MEGABYTES?) - especially when now most of those bells and whistles involve "protecting" the user (and especially Hollywood) from "pirated software"... or trying to dance around huge holes in the OS' security by spamming the user every 5 mins so that their legal team can turn around and say "if your machine got infected, it had to be YOUR fault".

      No, if you want to see REAL performance improvements, I suggest linux.

      This post will be modded down by Microsoft shills in 5, 4, 3...

Re:Harldy a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29823605)

you mean how this quad core machine with 8GB of memory running CentOS can't scroll any window in Firefox smoothly? I suppose I could attempt to fix it but I have better things to do.

Just catching up? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823501)

This has been how linux has done it since like the 80s when SMP was introduced. SunOS does it this way, UNIX did it this way, is there actually a multi-threading model that doesn't involve processor affinity? Besides the small textbook examples that are oversimplified and not useful in the real world....

I must not be reading that chart right (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#29823687)

If I'm reading the chart correctly, it appears that Vista rivals Windows 7 in all benchmarks and even beats it in a couple.

Ru-roh, Shaggy. That's not good. I thought Windows 7 was supposed to be the Vista Apology version?

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