Windows 7 Build 7068 on a Macbook

I did an upgrade installation of Window 7 build 7068 (x64) over build 7000 that I installed in January on my Macbook (13-inch Late 2006 with an Intel Core2 Duo Mobile Processor T7200, 3GB RAM). Winver gives: 7068.0.amd64fre.winmain.090321-1322

I ran the Windows Experience Index assessment again, and the base score went up from 2.0 (build 7000 64-bit) to 2.8 (build 7068 64-bit).

With build 7000, my Macbook’s low score was because of the 2.0 subscore of the disk data transfer rate of the primary hard disk, a 120 GB Toshiba MK1234GSX. With build 7068, the subscore of disk data transfer rate of the same primary hard disk went up to 4.3.

With build 7000, the Processor and Memory (RAM) subscores were 5.0, while the Graphics and Gaming Graphics subscores were 3.1. With build 7068, the Processor and Memory (RAM) subscores were 4.8, while the Graphics and Gaming Graphics subscore was 3.1. The Desktop Performance for Windows Aero dropped from 3.1 (build 7000) to 2.8 (build 7068).

The main problem I’ve been experiencing with build 7000 is that Windows Explorer will get sluggish or hang after waking from sleep. Trying to switch directories or file copying, even locally, will trigger the problem. Ending the explorer.exe process and restarting the process doesn’t always solve the problem. A reboot does.

Windows 7 Performance on Legacy Systems

I installed the Windows 7 Beta (7000) on my Via pc2500, powered by a 1.5 GHz Via C7-D, an x86-compatible desktop processor. The Via motherboard is installed in a SilverStone SST-LC11S-300 HTPC case connected to a Sony KV-36FV1 television.

I wanted to use the Via pc2500 as a DVD player and Netflix streaming player but the performance of Windows 7 Beta on the Via pc2500 isn’t really that great, even with a PCI video card (a EVGA 256-P1-N399-LX GeForce 6200 256MB 64-bit GDDR2). With 2GB of system RAM and the latest version of Silverlight, Netflix streaming is jerky. DVDs played with Windows Media Player also do not play smoothly.

The Windows Experience Index was only 1.3, and the blame was on the Via 1.5 GHz processor. Task Manager showed 100% CPU usage while trying to stream Netflix. (My ATT-Yahoo DSL connection (Elite 6.0/768) speed is about 5.2 mb/s down and 437 kb/s up, so Netflix streaming looks OK on my more robust PCs.) I don’t really see how the new netbooks can have any decent performance with Windows 7.

The pc2500 is currently my hardware looking for an applicaton. Now I’ve tried Windows XP, gOS, Ubuntu, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Linux MCE. The Via hardware is just anemic. Maybe with a Mimo USB monitor, it’d be OK as a carputer.

Windows 7 Beta on my vintage (purchased 2002) Shuttle SB51G works OK. The Shuttle XPC has an Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz CPU (SL6HL), 1 GB RAM and an ATI All-In-Wonder 9600. I normally boot Windows XP 2005 MCE and use it as a file server, media server (using TVersity), DVD player and Netflix streaming client (through a browser).

Windows 7 performance feels comparable to XP MCE, that is to say, it doesn’t feel slow. But there also isn’t any other crap installed – anti-virus and other applications. The Windows Experience Index was 3.0, and in this case, the sluggard was the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 Ultra ATA/100 320 GB hard drive.

Since there are no Windows 7 video drivers for the lowly ATI Radeon 9600 / X1050, I used the ATI Catalyst 9.1 Display Driver for Windows Vista. I wanted to use ATI Catalyst Control Center application to hotkey switch between the primary and secondary display (Dell 2007 WFP and a Sony KV-36FV1), so I can watch DVDs on the Sony TV in the living room. The hotkey switch that works in XP doesn’t work with Windows 7.

Macbook Windows 7 Experience Index

I downloaded the new Windows 7 Beta (64-bit) and did a clean installation on my 3GB MacBook (13-inch Late 2006 with an Intel Core2 Duo Mobile Processor T7200). I used the Apple BootCamp64.msi drivers and all the Apple hardware devices installed correctly.

In November, I tried the 32-bit version of Windows 7 (build 6801) and the Windows 7 Beta (build 7000) doesn’t seem too much different.

When I ran the Windows Experience Index assessment, the base score was 2.0 (build 7000 64-bit) compared to a base score of 3.0 with the 32 bit version of build 6801. The low score was because of the 2.0 subscore of the data transfer rate of the primary hard disk, a 120 GB Toshiba MK1234GSX. But I don’t feel there is any sluggishness while using the computer.

The Processor and Memory (RAM) subscores were 5.0, while the Graphics and Gaming Graphics subscores were 3.1, not unreasonable for the Intel GMA 950 graphics processor. Anyway, I don’t have much ambition to play Crysis on my Macbook.