ConclusionAfter looking at all the figures, it seems clear that Windows 7 won't have too many problems on the gaming front, giving equal or even better performance than the earlier operating systems. Gamers won’t have any qualms about transferring over. Even if we can’t exclude possible problems such as a particular game not launching (we'd like to thank Securom for inciting gamers and reviewers to crack games), to our knowledge the few rare cases have already been corrected.
Graphics drivers from both AMD and NVIDIA are ready (CrossFire and SLI included). We’re therefore a world away from the situation on the launch of Windows Vista, which meant that XP remained preferable in terms of performance for a very long time. In terms of the general success of Windows 7, it would have been unwise to allow such a situation to happen again, both for AMD and NVIDIA and for Microsoft itself, which would have seen many gamers rejecting its new system.
In this domain, Windows 7 is benefitting above all from a more robust and efficient management of video memory thanks to the WDDM 1.1 drivers. In games and conditions that saturate the physical video memory, it is able to extricate itself in time. Of course, very often these conditions also imply low performance levels, such that games are unplayable. In a few cases however, the efficiency of Windows 7 proves very useful, probably when in Windows Vista the graphics card memory is taken just a sliver too far resulting in a huge fall in performance.
Windows 7 also benefits from a more efficient scheduler in terms of juggling between physical and logical threads on CPUs equipped with hyperthreading. Unfortunately it isn’t able to avoid the negative effects in the worst cases which are probably linked to negligence on the part of developers – a real problem as you can’t just disable hyperthreading for the purposes of one application. It’s all or nothing and the choice is not always an easy one. As hyperthreading is now being rolled out across Intel CPUs, it really is time for developers to respond!