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Windows 7: performance in games
by Damien Triolet
Published on November 26, 2009

Influence of hyperthreading
Next we activated hyperthreading so as to observe the different operating systems with this technology. Note that Windows 7 brings something new here as its scheduler favours physical threads over logical threads up to a certain load limit (not detailed by Microsoft). In other words, Windows 7 does not resort to hyperthreading unless it is useful, so as to make the most of all the cores of a CPU. This could reduce the negative effect on performance of hyperthreading. Is this borne out in practice?


Hold the mouse over the graph to obtain absolute performance with hyperthreading activated.


Hold the mouse over the graph to obtain absolute performance with hyperthreading activated.

Overall, yes, the dips in performance linked to activation of hyperthreaing are reduced in Windows 7. However, this is not always the case, far from it, in games that put more demands on the CPU.

ArmA 2 shows an enormous fall in performance in Windows 7 when hyperthreading is activated. Is this the developers’ fault? Probably yes, given how the game reacts on operating systems other than Windows XP.

In S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky, performances vary randomly (no matter the OS) with either a gain or a loss with the Radeon HD 4890 and in DirectX 9. You don’t get the same thing with the GeForce GTX 285.

Hyperthreading causes a dip in Crysis Warhead DirectX 10 with the Radeon HD 4890 and DirectX 9 with the GeForce GTX 285. This is only in Windows Vista.

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