Find out what's behind the System Requirements for Office 2010 and what performance improvements are available in Office 2010.

From the Abstract:

This whitepaper highlights the broad range of hardware supported by Microsoft® Office 2010 and describes the significant improvements in performance available in Office 2010.  Results from internal testing by Microsoft are included to demonstrate the measurable performance gains users can experience when performing common tasks using different Office 2010 applications.  These results indicate that in some cases uses can expect performance gains of 90% or higher compared with using corresponding Office 2007 applications.  

Some highlights from the whitepaper:

  • More robust thread pool management now enables more efficient use of multi-core systems.The result is that CPU usage is less likely to "peg" or max out than in previous versions of Office, while foreground tasks in Office such as dialog boxes that require a response from the user are less likely to appear to freeze or hang when other tasks are being performed in the background.  
  • A completely redesigned Microsoft Excel calculation engine now allows even very large and complex spreadsheets to be recalculated much more quickly than with previous versions of Office.   
  • Redesigned PowerPoint presentation capabilities can now leverage DirectX capabilities and the power of graphics processors to enable 3D animations and transitions, embedded media, and other exciting slide show features. 
  • Various optimizations and changes now result in faster startup and shutdown of Office applications, especially Outlook 2010.  
  • Numerous other targeted optimizations provide improved performance and an improved user experience across the hardware spectrum, even when Office 2010 applications are running on older versions of Microsoft Windows. 

 For specifics, which include numbers and charts, download the whitepaper: Office 2010: Under the Hood Investments for Hardware and Performance (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=205609).

Also, if you're a fan of video, there was a talk at TechEd 2010 (North America) that was given by Alex Dubec , Microsoft Program Manager, on this very same topic:  Microsoft Office 2010: Under the Hood Investments for Hardware and Performance  [OSP06-INT] (http://www.msteched.com/2010/NorthAmerica/OSP06-INT).
 
Enjoy!
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