With the pending release of the latest Microsoft Windows operating system, I like many other PC users have questions about the latest system currently known as Windows 7. I recently was able to speak with a Microsoft spokesperson for the new OS who took the time to provide us at OCModShop with this interview.
OCMS: What new enhancements does Windows 7 offer?
A: For consumers, Windows 7 breaks down walls and makes new things possible – we’ve made investments in user experience, multi-touch capabilities, media streaming and integration with devices that make it easier to find the information people care about regardless of where it’s housed on their PC, network, devices or on the cloud and do some cool new things.
For enterprises, Windows 7 provides greater control through advancements in branch office management, virtualization, and remote scenarios. By building Windows 7 on the Windows Vista foundation, we’ve also made sure deployments are easier for the customers taking advantage of the security and mobility improvements in Windows Vista today.
For developers, Windows 7 provides huge opportunities through investments in graphics, the Natural User Interface and multi-core architecture. The introductions of Windows Web Services mean opportunities for developers to use their existing skills with Visual Studio and the .NET framework to create differentiated, visually rich applications that work with local and web-based services.
OCMS: How many versions will it ship in?
We are currently evaluating a variety of ways to meet the OS needs of our users. We aren’t ready to discuss the Windows 7 SKU plan at this time. We will share more information when we are further along the development path.
OCMS: How large of an install is it?
Currently, Windows 7 Beta ranges from 2,500 to 3,500 MB (2.5 GB to 3.5 GB) dependent on the platform and language the user chooses to install.
OCMS: What are the required and suggested system specs?
A: Microsoft is providing a Windows 7 Beta Minimum Hardware Recommendation. These recommendations are specific to the Beta release and are subject to change:
- 1 GHz, 32 bit or 64 bit processor
- 1GB system memory
- 16GB available disk space
- Support for DX9 graphics with 128 MB memory (in order to enable Aero theme)
- DVD-R/W Drive
- Internet Access
Some product features of Windows 7, such as the ability to watch and record live TV or navigate through the use of “touch”, may require advanced or additional hardware.
OCMS: What enhancements to Direct X 10 will the OS offer?
Windows 7 will ship with support for DirectX11. DirectX 11 adds features onto the existing DirectX 10 (and 10.1) pipeline. Many of the features are intended to help developers have an easier and better cross-platform development experience between Windows PCs and Xbox 360. Additionally, they will make the API more expressive, allowing developers to better achieve their goals:
- Multithreaded resource handling: In a nutshell, this feature will enable graphics applications to better take advantage of multi-core machines.
- Tessellation: This feature shrinks the gap between (higher quality) offline content creation and (faster) real-time rendering. For example, a model far away can be rendered with low detail, but when seen up close, this same model can be refined to be smoother and more attractive.
- Improved texture compression: The first high dynamic range compressed hardware texture format is being introduced in DirectX 11, and a new higher-quality compression format for standard dynamic range textures is also being added, which will result in better looking textures and imagery.
- HLSL improvements: There are a variety of improvements we are making to the shader language including subroutines support and improved support for double precision floating-point computation. The benefit to these features is a more expressive, more flexible programming model that will allow ISV’s to better express their vision in code.
- Compute Shader: This is a forward-looking feature that lays the groundwork for the GPU to be used for more than just 3D graphics. Rather than just focusing on pixels and triangles, the compute shader is intended to take advantage of the graphics card as a parallel processor.
- Other features based on ISV feedback: We are also implementing a variety of other, smaller features based on ISV requests that will make our API more powerful and expressive, helping ISV’s better achieve their goals.