WinSAT: Vistas Built-in Benchmark

By Loyd Case  |  Posted 2006-05-24 Print this article Print

Show Reports: Windows Vista will feature its own built in benchmarks. WinSAT will determining whether or not your system can run the Aero interface, as well as give your PC a score. Prepare for the marketing deluge. (ExtremeTech)

Windows Vista will contain a Microsoft-embedded benchmark, known as WinSAT (Windows System Assessment Tool.) WinSAT serves several purposes:
  • Its a tool for OEM system providers to help enable them to meet Windows Vista logo requirements
  • WinSAT runs during the Vista setup procedure, to determine if the system is capable of running the Aero 3D user interface and compositing system.
  • Users can run it as a rough guide to performance of Vista on their system, as well use it for a system diagnostic
WinSAT ships in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors. The 32-bit version will not run under 64-bit Vista. It will even run on Windows XP, though due to differences in the way the benchmarks run, the results arent really comparable.
WinSAT runs a suite of tests based on what Windows Vista does. For example, theres an encryption test using Vistas own AES encryption engine. Its important to understand that WinSAT is neither a synthetic benchmark, nor is it an application-based benchmark. It is a test of how Vista performs on specific hardware.
WinSAT consists of five different types of tests, which Microsoft dubs "assessments":
  • Graphics Assessment, which determines how well the system can run the Aero interface. This is mainly a measure of graphics memory bandwidth. The result from this assessment is used during Windows setup to determine whether Aero will be enabled by default. Read the full story on ExtremeTech: WinSAT: Vistas Built-in Benchmark Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Loyd Case came to computing by way of physical chemistry. He began modestly on a DEC PDP-11 by learning the intricacies of the TROFF text formatter while working on his master's thesis. After a brief, painful stint as an analytical chemist, he took over a laboratory network at Lockheed in the early 80's and never looked back. His first 'real' computer was an HP 1000 RTE-6/VM system.

In 1988, he figured out that building his own PC was vastly more interesting than buying off-the-shelf systems ad he ditched his aging Compaq portable. The Sony 3.5-inch floppy drive from his first homebrew rig is still running today. Since then, he's done some programming, been a systems engineer for Hewlett-Packard, worked in technical marketing in the workstation biz, and even dabbled in 3-D modeling and Web design during the Web's early years.

Loyd was also bitten by the writing bug at a very early age, and even has dim memories of reading his creative efforts to his third grade class. Later, he wrote for various user group magazines, culminating in a near-career ending incident at his employer when a humor-impaired senior manager took exception at one of his more flippant efforts. In 1994, Loyd took on the task of writing the first roundup of PC graphics cards for Computer Gaming World -- the first ever written specifically for computer gamers. A year later, Mike Weksler, then tech editor at Computer Gaming World, twisted his arm and forced him to start writing CGW's tech column. The gaming world -- and Loyd -- has never quite recovered despite repeated efforts to find a normal job. Now he's busy with the whole fatherhood thing, working hard to turn his two daughters into avid gamers. When he doesn't have his head buried inside a PC, he dabbles in downhill skiing, military history and home theater.

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