It's no secret that I've been left struggling to come up with a Windows 7 killer feature. I think I might have found it, and it comes in the form of lower power consumption.
Don't get me wrong, I like Windows 7, a lot. I find it a huge step up from Vista in terms of performance, reliability and usability, but I've been struggling to find that killer Windows 7 feature. But could the lower power consumption that Windows 7 combined with Intel's upcoming Westmere CPUs offers be the killer feature.
Lower power consumption isn't a sexy feature, and if you're on a desktop system hooked up to a continuous supply of juice it's not something you're likely to worry about. However, if you spend any time on a notebook away from a power outlet you'll know how important being able to squeeze a few extra minutes out of a battery can be.
Microsoft has made some significant kernel changes to Windows 7 to improve power management of cores on Intel CPUs (it's no secret that Intel and Microsoft work very closely indeed on some technologies). By being able to precisely control the clock speed of cores on Intel's upcoming Westmere 32nm processors (desktop CPUs are codenamed Clarkdale while notebook processors carry the Arrandale codename) Windows 7 can squeeze more life from a system than one powered by Vista.
Note: I'm assuming that AMD chips will offer a similar feature, it's just that I've not seen any demos yet ...
Not only does the combination of Windows 7 and Westmere offer lower power consumption, it also means better performance because each core can execute two threads simultaneously. That's something that benefits both notebook and desktop users.
If Windows 7 really can squeeze say an extra 1.4 hours out of a ThinkPad T400 in under real world conditions (and by this I mean with all kinds of crap like antivirus running) then that really is a big deal and a killer feature. Why is it a killer feature? Because it's something that benefits all mobile users, and it's something that you can't get from previous incarnations of Windows.
That's a pretty big deal ...
How important is reducing power consumption to you?