The performance price of Win7′s visual effects

By Michael Lasky

Many factors can exact a toll on Windows 7′s overall speed, but one of the front runners is Win7′s own built-in capacity for special effects and animation.

Fortunately, you can easily change options to mitigate the cost.

Get your Windows performance rating

When you first install and set up Windows 7 (starting either with the operating system on a disc or preinstalled on a new PC), it analyzes your system to produce the Windows Experience Index Score. Microsoft created the index to let users know the true capabilities of their PCs. As new hardware upgrades are added to your system, you can rerun the Experience test.

The index develops its rating by assessing the number of processor cores and the processor type, how many calculations per second the processor can handle, how much RAM is installed, how much graphics memory is installed, the number of memory routines the PC’s memory can handle, the performance level of the graphics adapter, and the data transfer rate of the primary hard drive.

On my Toshiba Satellite, I have a Core i5 processor and NVidia discreet graphics. The processor switches between speed modes and between graphics modes. This seems to confuse the Windows 7 Experience Index. I have never been able to get the Index to detect either the higher-speed processor mode, nor the discreet graphics display mode. And this knocks my WEI score down by at least one point, maybe more. Folks should be aware that Microsoft is not capable of assessing the newer chipsets and graphics modes of the Intel Core series laptops. Don't be fooled into believing any performance issues indicated by this marketing tool.

(By the way, I am posting this as a new thread because for some reason I am getting Permission Denied popups whenever I try to access the feedback threads for this week's paid content of Windows Secrets Newsletter. I can access paid content at the Windows Secrets main page and in all other (previous) feedback threads. I have posted in the appropriate place elsewhere in The Lounge about this issue. The entire WS Web Site has had issues where I cannot access the entire domain in recent weeks for hours at a time.)