Windows 8 and Multi-Core Support

These days just about every computer on the market features at least two cores, even many Atom netbooks and even some tablets.

The great thing about multiple core processing is the ability to do certain tasks more efficiently, but this only works if programs are designed to take advantage of multi-core setups, right? Today’s software has a lot of great multi-core support built in from games to even word processors.

What about the operating system itself? Windows 7 certainly makes use of multi-core processors but Windows 8 will take this concept in new directions that Windows 7 can only dream of.

With Windows 8 the cores will work together when the system is preparing itself for tasks such as hibernation and resume. In Windows 7 and early Windows this would only matter for those actually using “hibernation” mode but in Windows 8 these processes will carry over even to shut down and even reboot.

Microsoft feels that completely shutting down and rebooting the kernel session is entirely unnecessary and so Windows 8 will now just ‘hibernate’ the kernel session and only shutdown the user session when a computer is shut down or restarted.

If you aren’t familiar with what hibernation is, basically its saving the system state and memory to a file on the disk drive and that reading back to these contents, instead of reloading them completely. What does this mean for the average user then?

The biggest advantage to this new system is that we will see much faster boots times, depending on the hardware in question this could be as much as 30-70% faster than before.
Beyond just booting, Windows 8 is really pulling out all the stops when it comes to making the most of multi-core setups.

In Windows 8 even the task manager is evolving to make better use of the current and future multi-core technologies. The new task manager is actually capable of handling 160 logical cores at once, something that Windows 7 can’t. Of course at this point this seems pretty moot and even by the time Windows 9 rolls around it is doubtful that such setups will really be needed, still it’s nice that Microsoft is thinking about the future.

Windows 7 is a great operating system, but with Windows 8 we are seeing an evolution of the interface with Metro, better multi-core processor, ARM processor support, Metro search, and overall improved speed and functionality.

Many users argue that the only real change from 7 to 8 is Metro. Metro plays a key role in Windows 8 but speed, performance, and better handling are just as important of changes. For those who hate Metro and think there isn’t enough being offered, remember that Mac OS Snow Leopard didn’t add that much (this could be argued) beyond speed and performance.

Despite mild changes between these versions it certainly worth the money for many users.

With only the Developer Preview to go on, it’s hard to know how stable or faster the OS will be but considering the vast improvements from Vista to 7 it is safe to say we can at least be hopeful.  What do you think about Windows 8? Is it shaping up to offer enough of an improvement or is it looking to be just another Windows Vista disaster?

Share your opinions below.

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  • http://www.metaksan.com Cable trays

    This is really good news… 

  • Davidpelayo

    Windows 7 for the working professional is a far better OS than windows 8. After testing the BETA version of 8, I can’t honestly say I am not real impressed. I run a 7.7 Windows performance rating on my machine running windows 7 Professional with SSD drives and I download 5 gig files while I am streaming high def video all while I burning a dual layer disc while touching up photos on Photo shop, listening to my favorite music.I do this all with a 965 AMD Phenom processor, 8 gigs of ram, a gts 450 video card and a Intel SSD drive a running on a ASUS main board. It doesn’t get any better than that for the average home consumer. I build and sell custom workstations for a living, so please don’t bull shit me about Windows operating systems. Windows 8 has a fancy new interface that works with apps, I think for the retard who doesn’t know how to operate a computer it may help him, personally, I think it is lame and ugly.

    • Anonanoni

      you talk a big game except I wonder how you got the windows 8 beta? I thought only the developer’s preview was out and that the beta would be coming out early in 2012? Did you somehow get the beta ahead of everyone else, or do you not know the difference between the developer’s preview and beta? If that’s the case, you just lost all credibility on everything else you said because you don’t know squat about windows 8.

    • ZZBrandon

      Thats a sad point of view considering windows 8 actually makes AMD processors better because it takes advantage of more cores. You can always disable metro if it bothers you. It’s worth upgrading just for the speed improvements.

  • Ryan Whiteman

    Being a developer of embedded systems, faster boot/reboot times will be very nice. Obviously we prefer for our users to not need to shutdown/restart their devices, but it does happen. At first I was skeptical about Metro, but this could be very beneficial for our integration, especially if some key developers take advantage of this. In the long run, consumers may be very happy with these changes.

    This article doesn’t cover it, but Windows 8 is supposed to use less system resources than Windows 7 (Much like Windows 7 to Vista), and also have lower hardware requirements. This will allow for embedded systems to use less powerful hardware to accomplish the same task, saving money. I’m very interested to see the power management in Windows 8. Knowing that it will be based on power management for phones and tablets, I imagine it won’t be that bad. Saving power is always nice, and a good selling point for consumers.

  • windows 7 vs 8

    In Windows 8, the cores will work together when the system prepares for hibernation and resume, and these processes will carry over even to shut down and reboot.. But pulling down Windows 7 in the windows 7 vs Windows 8 feud is the fact that this feature is limited only to the actual hibernation mode in Windows 7 and earlier versions..

  • Mrpras

    I’m on a 720QM mobile i7 cpu and it uses turbo mode to get the best out of particular cores when not all are being used (just in case you didn’t know that).. I found that performance in windows 8 was much better in Balanced mode rather than high performance mode.

    Normally windows throws threads around randomly (for some reason) between different cores, so it makes it harder for turbo mode to lock up into high speeds). This can be tested by forcing a single thread application onto one particular core then comparing it with standard (8thread) affinity.

    The unexpected benefit of windows 8 in balanced mode is that it tries to keep the system from using all the cores unless necessary. This basically means the core1 runs much faster on single thread applications without any forcing affinities or other manual input. In multi-threaded games like Skyrim for example – this means that my lowly 720QM is running at around 2.4GHz instead of 1.75Ghz while running several threads which take up around 20-30% of the available cycles.

    It would be great if they could update the core/thread management on windows 7. They did it with SP1 – and it seems that 7 will try to avoid using Hyperthreading if unnecessary (which also helps increase performance and lower temperatures in many games/apps).

    I recently installed Windows Starter edition to see how that fares – and actually was surprised to see that it also has improved thread management (designed I guess to save power, with the unexpected side effect of much better turbo mode on series one i7 Mobile CPUs)..