Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Windows Experience Index

Running Vista on a Macintosh via boot camp may not be the best way to enjoy Vista, but I get the best of both worlds. Today I ran the Windows Experience Index rating test on my new system, and it rated my iMac a base-score of 4.8.

So Windows Experience Index is a new feature found in Vista that helps end users understand how well equipped the hardware of a system is to run Vista and all the fanciful effects such as Aero. It accesses the capability of the system and then assigns a score to each individual component of the CPU, such as the processor, RAM, hard drive, graphics etc. Obviously, a higher score means a faster system.

So I ran the test, and my graphics card yielded the highest subscore of 5.9, which is impressive. My RAM got the lowest subscore, which is 4.8. Hence the final score, which is based on the lowest score received form a particular component, is a 4.8, and that's quite good by the way.

So generally here's how to compare these values:

1.0 to 1.9: Your system has just met basic requirements for running Vista Home Basic. Do not expect to do heavy multi-tasking or gaming on such systems. Best used for email, web surfing and simple word processing.

2.0-2.9: Slightly more responsive, but still unable to run Aero in most cases. Typically these are the systems that were upgraded from XP.

3.0-3.9: Minimum requirements for running Home Premium or better editions of Vista. Will do Aero, if only on one monitor. For high resolution screens, may have performance issues. Will run Media Center and allow you to play games.

4.0-4.9: Very good performing PCs, better than average. Will run the full feature set of Vista without glitches, including Aero. Will do HD video, dual monitors, and run intensive software well.

5.0 & above: You've got the top-of-the-line system. Will do almost anything, the system has dramatically exceeded the minimum requirements.

So I'm pleased with my base-score of 4.8!

My system has a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 800MHz FSB 4MB L2 cache processor, 4GB RAM (which shows 3 on Vista for some funny reason), 200GB HDD (supposed to be 500GB but 300 is for Leopard) and an ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics card.

I suspect that the reason for the low score on the RAM is because it is only running at 667MHz, which could be better, at say 800MHz. And it is only DDR2 SDRAM, not the latest DDR3 RAM.

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