We are curious how benchmarks and games will run under Windows 7 pre-beta version using the Core i7 processor. We ran the Core i7 965 processor with ASUS Rampage II Extreme board at 4GHz and one HDD loaded with Vista 32-bit SP1 and the other with Windows 7 32-bit while everything else are identical. Forceware 180.44 WHQL drivers although works on Windows 7 but 3-way SLI is a no go for all games benchmarks and SLI doesn’t work well on Far Cry 2. Read on to find out more.

We are curious how benchmarks and games will run under Windows 7 pre-beta version using the Core i7 processor. According to this PCWorld article, Core i7 is designed for Windows 7 OS which i believe is optimized in some ways that makes better use of its architecture. Other performance related improvements under Windows 7 are faster boot-up time, reduction in number of services at startup, device drivers loaded in parallel instead of serial, reduction in system memory consumption.

We ran the Core i7 965 processor with ASUS Rampage II Extreme board at 4GHz and one HDD loaded with Vista 32-bit SP1 and the other with Windows 7 32-bit while everything else are identical. The Windows 7 allows Forceware 178.13 WDDM v1.1 drivers to be downloaded but we changed it to Forceware 180.44 WHQL drivers on both OS for fairer comparison. However, according to Microsoft graphics guidelines for Windows 7, WDDM v.1.1 Win7 drivers are supposed to provide reliability and  performance improvements over the WDDM v1 Vista drivers although Vista drivers will work on Windows 7 too.

Forceware 180.44 WHQL drivers although works on Windows 7 but 3-way SLI is a no go for all games benchmarks and SLI doesn’t work well on Far Cry 2. Therefore we ran a single GTX280 card for the Far Cry 2 test. The game tests are 3DMark Vantage, Crysis Warhead and Far Cry 2. We also test out SuperPI for the enthusiasts.

Moving from Vista to 7, we saw some performance improvements across all tests, although it isn’t eye opening but decent enough. 3DMark Vantage “Performance” Preset is about 150 pts higher, SuperPI 8M is nearly a second faster, Crysis Warhead and Far Cry 2 register 3 FPS higher under 1280×1024 resolution, performance settings.

I would like to stress that this just a preview of the Windows 7 pre-beta version with the current set of drivers for Vista and we look forward to see more performance boost with later builds and better optimized WDDM v1.1 drivers in the near future.