Windows 7…The Old Hardware Test

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I met Jonathan Cusson in Montreal a couple of months ago while I was there with the IT Manager “AlignIT” tour. We got to talking about virtualization and he offered to write a couple of posts on things he’s doing at Alpha Mosaik and in his spare time. Not long after getting his hands on Windows 7 he had it up and running on multiple hardware and virtualization platforms to see what the install experience was like as well as general usability. I get asked “the hardware question” all the time – what is it like on older platforms?

In steps Jonathan with the answer - after a couple of weeks of installing it, he sent along this post with his initial gut feel of having it up and running.

You can still get the bits to install and try it out yourselves – Rod posted about that on Sunday the 25th.

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Windows 7 beta is available and I could not wait to test it. I already have 3 installations of Windows 7 for intensive testing. I have decided to put Windows 7 trough a really good test.

When Vista came out people complained that it took too much resources and that you needed a powerful computer to run it. Well, I just tested Windows 7 with a 6 years old computer and believe me the performance are surprisingly good even on old PCs. Here is the hardware setup of that machine:

 Windows 7-06

As you can see the system global score is 3.0 but keep in mind this is a 6 years old computer with slower CPU, memory and video card. What is also amazing is that all the hardware was detected and Windows Update to care of installing latest drivers. I have installed Office 2007, Norton 360 version 3(beta), Photoshop CS and Nero 9. Well the performance are good enough to work on it. I am used to very good performance on my main computer (Dual Core T9300, 4GB RAM & Quadro FX 1600 512MB) and I can say that Windows 7 performs well even with older configurations. I even went to a slower configuration with a Pentium 4 2Ghz, 1GB of RAM and a very old ATI R92LE 32MB video card. (don’t ask me how I got this card, I can’t remember) With that, the system got slower but would still be enough to use for Internet navigation, Word and Excel.

The most amazing is that so far I did not get any errors or crashes and this is the first beta version! All of those waiting for a new Windows that offers stability, compatibility and performances are served!

This post was written with Live Writer on Windows 7.

 

Jonathan Cusson
IT Consultant, MCP
Member of TechNet, IT Pro Momentum and Experts Exchange
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  • After the beta came out, and I was able to get my hands on it, I installed it on my main work PC.  It is an older Pentium D, w/ 3GB DDR2 with a business class video card.  I was very impressed at how 7 ran on this system.  I had Vista pre SP1 installed on the same hardware and it was unusable.  7 installed quickly, drivers updated smoothly, and it ran quite well.

    I only started getting crashes after installing a few enterprise apps we use.  I then decided to give Vista SP1 a try.  Before I was able to get SP1 installed it ran like, well, you know... But after SP1 it was a new machine.  The interface for both Vista and 7 takes some time to get used to but after a few weeks I feel quite comfortable with it.

    For home users I would now recommend Vista SP1 and when I is released, Win 7.  I have to test both OSs before deploying to the enterprise, but it looks like Microsoft did the right thing and just improved upon Vista instead of succumbing to feature bloat.

  • The old hardware test was done on a P4 2.8Ghz with 2Gb of RAM, 256Mb ATI 1050 card and 160Gb drive.

    The installer worked dandy, the thing that I liked the best was that Win7 knew which drivers to grab, install them the first time and everything is jsut working.  Burned a rescue CD, did a backup and was toying around with Windows Music Player which caused a crash of the player and after connecting to the AD I also experienced some crashes in the NTDLL.DLL and strangely enough in Windows Explorer.

    The system feels solid for a Beta version and of course we keep feeding the resultsets to the servers so that Microsoft can keep working on issues.  I think this version of Windows has nice features and even with those features enabled it still runs okay.

    I am running Vista64 on my work laptop with SP2 Beta and that is super solid (running VS2008 and SQL2008) on it as well as Office 2007.

    Microsoft makes my life a lot easier day by day and I see that trend continuing for Win7.