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Software // Operating Systems

Windows 7 Promises Faster Graphics

DirectX Compute and other new features let the OS fully leverage the power of today's advanced GPUs.

Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system will offer significantly improved graphics performance over its predecessors due to the new OS's ability to more efficiently delegate work to 3D graphics cards, according to an official from a major GPU vendor.

Windows 7 screen shot
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Nvidia product manager Chris Daniel said Windows 7 is "the first Windows operating system to treat the graphics processing unit (GPU) as a real peer to the CPU."

Daniel, writing in a blog post Friday, said that with the introduction of Windows 7, "Microsoft is really opening up the immense parallel computing horsepower of the GPU natively right in the operating system."

That could be good news for a range of PC users with heavy graphics requirements, including gamers, engineers, artists, and others.

One key to Windows 7's graphics performance is a new application programming interface known as DirectX Compute. The API enables computers to take full advantage of the parallel processing power built into today's high-end cards from Nvidia and other vendors.

"Parallel programming is the next big thing for the world of computing—it has started already," said Daniel. "DirectX Compute will accelerate this discontinuity by enabling massive parallelism to the masses. What we are talking about is co-processing—essentially using the right tool for the job," said Daniel.

He added that DirectX Compute, in concert with Windows 7, will enable use of advanced technologies like SLI-based, multi-GPU gaming, 3D Vision, and PhysX real-time physics.

Microsoft last week released Windows 7 to manufacturing, meaning it's now available to system builders and other industry professionals. The company plans to release the OS to consumers on Oct. 22nd.

The software maker is hoping Windows 7's release will revive flagging software sales.

Microsoft last week revealed that Windows sales slumped 29% in the most recent quarter, compared to the same period a year ago. Windows Vista, Microsoft's current version of Windows, has proven unpopular with many consumers and has been shunned by most corporate users.

Upgrading from XP to Windows 7? Here's a step-by-step guide.

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