Engineering the Windows 7 “Windows Experience Index”


We’re busy going through tons of telemetry from the many people that have downloaded and installed the Windows 7 beta around the world. We’re super excited to see the excitement around kicking the tires. Since most folks on the beta are well-versed in the hardware they use and very tuned into the choices they make, we’ve received a few questions about the Windows Experience Index (WEI) in Windows 7 and how that has been changed and improved in Windows 7 to take into account new hardware available for each of the major classes in the metric. In this post Michael Fortin returns to dive into the engineering details of the WEI.


The WEI was introduced in Windows Vista to provide one means across PCs to measure the relative performance of key hardware components. Like any index or benchmark, it is best used as a relative measure and should not be used to compare one measure to another. Unlike many other measures, the WEI merely measures the relative capability of components. The WEI only runs for a short time and does not measure the interactions of components under a software load, but rather characteristics or your hardware. As such it does not (nor cannot) measure how a system will perform under the your own usage scenarios. Thus the WEI does not measure performance of a system, but merely the relative hardware capabilities when running Windows 7.


We do want to caution folks in trying to generalize an “absolute” WEI as necessary for a given individual. We each have different tolerances or more importantly expectations for how a PC should perform and the same WEI might mean very different things to different individuals. To personalize this, I do about 90% of my work on a PC with a WEI of 2.0, primarily driven by the relatively low score for the gaming graphics component on my very low cost laptop. I run Outlook (with ~2GB of email), Internet Explorer (with a dozen tabs), Excel (with longs list of people on the development team), PowerPoint, Messenger (with video), and often I am running one of several LOB applications written in .NET. I feel with this type of workload and a PC with Windows 7 and that WEI my own brain and fingers continues to be my “bottleneck”. At the other end of the spectrum is my holiday gift machine which is a 25” all-in-one with a WEI of 5.1 (though still limited by gaming graphics, with subscores of 7.2, 7.2, 6.2, 5.1, 5.9). This machine runs Windows 7 64-bit and I definitely don’t keep it very busy even though I run MediaCenter in a window all the time, have a bunch of desktop gadgets, and run the PC as our print server (I use about 25% of available RAM and the CPU almost never gets above 10%).


–Steven


The overall Windows Experience Index (WEI) is defined to be the lowest of the five top-level WEI subscores, where each subscore is computed using a set of rules and a suite of system assessment tests. The five areas scored in Windows 7 are the same as they were in Vista and include:



  • Processor

  • Memory (RAM)

  • Graphics (general desktop work)

  • Gaming Graphics (typically 3D)

  • Primary Hard Disk

Though the scoring areas are the same, the ranges have changed. In Vista, the WEI scores ranged from 1.0 to 5.9. In Windows 7, the range has been extended upward to 7.9. The scoring rules for devices have also changed from Vista to reflect experience and feedback comparing closely rated devices with differing quality of actual use (i.e. to make the rating more indicative of actual use.) We know during the beta some folks have noticed that the score changed (relative to Vista) for one or more components in their system and this tuning, which we will describe here, is responsible for the change.


For a given score range, we hope our customers will be able to utilize some general guidelines to help understand the experiences a particular PC can be expected to deliver well, relatively speaking. These Vista-era general guidelines for systems in the 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0 ranges still apply to Windows 7. But, as noted above, Windows 7 has added levels 6.0 and 7.0; meaning 7.9 is the maximum score possible. These new levels were designed to capture the rather substantial improvements we are seeing in key technologies as they enter the mainstream, such as solid state disks, multi-core processors, and higher end graphics adapters. Additionally, the amount of memory in a system is a determining factor.


For these new levels, we’re working to add guidelines for each level. As an example for gaming users, we expect systems with gaming graphics scores in the 6.0 to 6.9 range to support DX10 graphics and deliver good frames rates at typical screen resolutions (like 40-50 frames per second at 1280×1024). In the range of 7.0 to 7.9, we would expect higher frame rates at even higher screen resolutions. Obviously, the specifics of each game have much to do with this and the WEI scores are also meant to help game developers decide how best to scale their experience on a given system. Graphics is an area where there is both the widest variety of scores readily available in hardwaren and also the widest breadth of expectations. The extremes at which CAD, HD video, photography, and gamers push graphics compared to the average business user or a consumer (doing many of these same things as an avocation rather than vocation) is significant.


Of course, adding new levels doesn’t explain why a Vista system or component that used to score 4.0 or higher is now obtaining a score of 2.9. In most cases, large score drops will be due to the addition of some new disk tests in Windows 7 as that is where we’ve seen both interesting real world learning and substantial changes in the hardware landscape.


With respect to disk scores, as discussed in our recent post on Windows Performance, we’ve been developing a comprehensive performance feedback loop for quite some time. With that loop, we’ve been able to capture thousands of detailed traces covering periods of time where the computer’s current user indicated an application, or Windows, was experiencing severe responsiveness problems. In analyzing these traces we saw a connection to disk I/O and we often found typical 4KB disk reads to take longer than expected, much, much longer in fact (10x to 30x). Instead of taking 10s of milliseconds to complete, we’d often find sequences where individual disk reads took many hundreds of milliseconds to finish. When sequences of these accumulate, higher level application responsiveness can suffer dramatically.


With the problem recognized, we synthesized many of the I/O sequences and undertook a large study on many, many disk drives, including solid state drives. While we did find a good number of drives to be excellent, we unfortunately also found many to have significant challenges under this type of load, which based on telemetry is rather common. In particular, we found the first generation of solid state drives to be broadly challenged when confronted with these commonly seen client I/O sequences.


An example problematic sequence consists of a series of sequential and random I/Os intermixed with one or more flushes. During these sequences, many of the random writes complete in unrealistically short periods of time (say 500 microseconds). Very short I/O completion times indicate caching; the actual work of moving the bits to spinning media, or to flash cells, is postponed. After a period of returning success very quickly, a backlog of deferred work is built up. What happens next is different from drive to drive. Some drives continue to consistently respond to reads as expected, no matter the earlier issued and postponed writes/flushes, which yields good performance and no perceived problems for the person using the PC. Some drives, however, reads are often held off for very lengthy periods as the drives apparently attempt to clear their backlog of work and this results in a perceived “blocking” state or almost a “locked system”. To validate this, on some systems, we replaced poor performing disks with known good disks and observed dramatically improved performance. In a few cases, updating the drive’s firmware was sufficient to very noticeably improve responsiveness.


To reflect this real world learning, in the Windows 7 Beta code, we have capped scores for drives which appear to exhibit the problematic behavior (during the scoring) and are using our feedback system to send back information to us to further evaluate these results. Scores of 1.9, 2.0, 2.9 and 3.0 for the system disk are possible because of our current capping rules. Internally, we feel confident in the beta disk assessment and these caps based on the data we have observed so far. Of course, we expect to learn from data coming from the broader beta population and from feedback and conversations we have with drive manufacturers.


For those obtaining low disk scores but are otherwise satisfied with the performance, we aren’t recommending any action (Of course the WEI is not a tool to recommend hardware changes of any kind). It is entirely possible that the sequence of I/Os being issued for your common workload and applications isn’t encountering the issues we are noting. As we’ve said, the WEI is a metric but only you can apply that metric to your computing needs.


Earlier, I made note of the fact that our new levels, 6 and 7, were added to recognize the improved experiences one might have with newer hardware, particularly SSDs, graphics adapters, and multi-core processors. With respect to SSDs, the focus of the newer tests is on random I/O rates and their avoidance of the long latency issues noted above. As a note, the tests don’t specifically check to see if the underlying storage device is an SSD or not. We run them no matter the device type and any device capable of sustaining very high random I/O rates will score well.


For graphics adapters, both DX9 and DX10 assessments can be run now. In Vista, the tests were specific to DX9. To obtain scores in the 6 or 7 ranges, a graphics adapter must obtain very good performance scores, support DX10 and the driver must be a WDDM 1.1 driver (which you might have noticed are being downloaded in beta during the Windows 7 beta). For WDDM 1.0 drivers, only the DX9 assessments will be run, thus capping the overall score at 5.9.


For multi-core processors, both single threaded and multi-threaded scenarios are run. With levels 6 and 7, we aim to indicate that these systems will be rarely CPU bound for typical use and quite suitable for demanding processing tasks and multi-tasking. As examples, we anticipate many quad core processors will be able to score in the high 6 to low 7 ranges, and 8 core systems to be able to approach 7.9. The scoring has taken into account the very latest micro-processors available.


For many key hardware partners, we’ve of course made available additional details on the changes and why they were made. We continue to actively work with them to incorporate appropriate feedback.


–Michael Fortin

Comments (78)

  1. gkeramidas says:

    regarding the disk score, a lot of us in the beta program are seeing low scores, i know mine was 1.9. then i and lot of others, turned of disk caching in device manger and our scores all improved. mine went from 1.9 to 5.9.

    now, you also mention that it tests the primary drive. is this the drive that windows is installed on, or the actual primary on the controller? i know i had to turn of caching for all of the drives before my score improved. i tried the drive the os was on, didn’t help, so i just turned caching off for all drives.

    i have since turned caching back on.

  2. arossetti@hotmail.com says:

    I hardly thing that many of the Disk scores are accurate.  I have an older 80GB 7200 RPM IDE hard disk with an 8MB buffer in my work PC, and in my primary home machine (on which I’m dual booting Vista/7) I have a 320 GB 7200 RPM SATA-II drive with a 16MB buffer.  The IDE scores a 5.4 and the SATA a 2.9?  I hardly believe that’s accurate.

    In addition, encoding and burning an hour-long avi to DVD-video using Nero Vision generally takes 35-40 minutes in Vista on my hardware, but in Windows 7 it was well over an hour and only about 2/3 done encoding.  I could see the video was very "jerky" and hardly smooth in the preview window during the process under Win7.  This could very easily be due to real disk issues.

    My other test PC also scored a 2.9 with a SATA-II, 7200RPM disk, but it dual boots XP, so no comparison can be made there.  I’m looking for another system with an IDE disk to test.  I strongly suspect that it will "show" performance better than any of my SATA systems.

  3. mdaria510@gmail.com says:

    If I’m being perfectly honest, I have to say I find it difficult to take the WEI seriously.  Its a case where it’s oversimplified to the point of being useless.

    From what I can gather, there’s a lot of detailed measuring that actually goes into determining each subscore.  But the problem is that the user, especially use power users who are the only ones who actually care in the first place, are simply not privy to the measurements in the first place.

    It’s hard to take a 6.9 seriously when you have absolutely no basis for how that number was reached.  As a front end, simplified method of performance metrics, its a fine idea.  But there absolutely needs to be a entry somewhere where we can see the details, and it would be nice if there was a whitepaper we could look up how these scores are calculated.  

    What makes a good disk score?  Random writes, sequential writes, free space, access time?  Who knows!

    What makes a good 3d graphics score?  Fill rate, memory size, memory speed, number of stream processors, etc?  Who knows!

    There’s no reason to withhold this information from those who actually care to know it.

  4. Big Dan says:

    I appreciate all the work that has gone into Windows 7 and as much as Vista was bashed by everyone and their mother, Vista is a good operating system.

    I like the idea of system scoring. I didn’t realize Vista did this until I got my new computer home, it would be nice if it were advertised more and possibly even had a sticker on the box. I doubt that will happen as sellers of low end computers are in for some tough questions.

    Something that would be great is if it were scored on a basis of 10. No one scales things on a basis of 5.9 or 7.9. While I understand there are technical reasons behind those numbers, it just makes it harder for lay people to understand. Even if it was rounded off, on the basis of 10, it would be a whole lot easier for someone buying a computer off the shelf to understand.

  5. smartpatrol says:

    Very good points by other posters; using WEI as a reliable way to determine Software performance on a given machine is a mistake. Why doesn’t my WEI go up when i shutoff memory hogging bloat features like aero?

  6. elyoh says:

    I strongly disagree with the notion that disk scores should/may change between Vista and 7.

    In any analysis exercise such as WEI, the method of oberving and measuring should remain constant otherwise the results become meaningless!  Imagine if they changed the way unemployment statistics were calculated from one period to the next!  This is exactly what is happening with WEI.  Any unbiased analyst would suggest the same thing.

    A WEI score should be permanent unless the actual hardware is improved e.g. by firmware improvements or new components installed.

    I was particularly shocked that a brand new hard drive went from 5.0 in Vista to 3.0 in Windows 7.  That’s a 40% reduction in score. (Is Windows 7 40% worse than Vista?) A reasonable statistical deviation would be something like plus minus 5%.

    Increasing the max score from 5.9 to 7.9 should take account of the new advances in hardware so there should be no need to "downgrade/cap" the score of older hardware.  The WEI max should be raised further say to 8.9 so newer hardware scores relatively better than the old without degrading the scores of the old.

    If these changes are made permanent in the final release, then as the WEI will become an unreliable source of data and I thing anyone who uses WEI will be disappointed.

  7. mrfortin says:

    Thanks for the feedback so far. We take it very seriously.  Let me see if I can address a couple common points made thus far.

    On the matter of write caching, we very much believe it is a mistake that the WinEI score improves dramatically when write caching is disabled. We don’t recommend disabling write caching and are working to understand how best to prevent the scores from improving so dramatically simply by disabling the cache.  We do know, tha write caching typcially helps best with large sequential reading sequences and that disabling the cache prevents the build up of background work that may later interfere w/ subsequent reads. In other words, with caching disable we don’t see the very long IOs that result in our capping the score at a low level.

    On the matter of transparency, it is indeed our plan to disclose in great detail how the scores are calculated, what the tests attempt to measure, why, and how they map to realistic scenarios and usage patterns.

    For the disk assessments, the tests are run on the disk that has Windows 7 installed on it.

    On the matter of keeping the tests consistent between operating system releases, we debated this internally and decided it was best to accept some changes to address positive, and sometimes negative, issues that impact realistic scenarios.  In support of this decision, I’d like to point out we had a great deal of data in our hands highlighting some common performance issues with disks, including almost all of the early solid state disks as they hit the market.  Given the WinEI tests were not sophisticated enough to catch the problem, it seemed wrong for us to continue to highlight the drives as being good, or very good, when in fact they were the root of many responsiveness issues.

  8. kfarmer says:

    @mrfortin:

    I think part of the conclusion stems from the now-established practice of bragging about one’s WEI score.  Instead of listing the score, you might instead describe it in qualitative terms:  "Your system performance indicates that you can expect the following experience: ….  To improve the experience, here are some things you might consider changing: …."

    Of course, that removes the possibility of scoring software for purchase.

  9. confuzatron says:

    "Why doesn’t my WEI go up when i shutoff memory hogging bloat features like aero?"

    For the same reason the horsepower of your car doesn’t go up when you rip out the back seats.

  10. confuzatron says:

    "In any analysis exercise such as WEI, the method of oberving and measuring should remain constant otherwise the results become meaningless!

    Imagine if they changed the way unemployment statistics were calculated from one period to the next!"

    Uh… the way unemployment is counted has been updated multiple times over the years.

  11. confuzatron says:

    "I was particularly shocked that a brand new hard drive went from 5.0 in Vista to 3.0 in Windows 7.  That’s a 40% reduction in score. (Is Windows 7 40% worse than Vista?) A reasonable statistical deviation would be something like plus minus 5%."

    If you read the article, you’ll see that the way scores are calculated has changed to be a more accurate reflection of the performance of the hardware. Vista calculations didnt take into account pathological behaviours that MS discovered after the testing algorithms were developed.

    So basically, your HDD was always a 3.0, Vista just wasnt aware of it.

  12. elyoh says:

    Maybe it would be sensible to upgrade the WEI in Vista via the next service pack so everything is consistent between the operating systems.

  13. daved1948 says:

    Why is it Windows 7 makes changes to MP3 files?  Who died and left you as God or the IP Police?

    I can’t understand this mentality, and frankly, I don’t think it’s even legal, is it?  How is an operating system granted rights to permanently alter files which I own and have legally made?  If you truly respect Digital Rights, then you have no rights to alter files found on my network.  They don’t belong to you, nor may you automatically modify them.

    I’d suggest you take a hard look at this idea before you get yourself into a class-action suit that’ll once again, put you at gross odds with the great majority of potential users.

    I don’t condone this action taken by Windows 7, and I doubt many will.

  14. elyoh says:

    "Given the WinEI tests were not sophisticated enough to catch the problem, it seemed wrong for us to continue to highlight the drives as being good, or very good, when in fact they were the root of many responsiveness issues."

    I agree that it would be better in explaining some performance issues but this will inevitablely sacrifice some consistency in comparision between systems on Vista and 7.  

    However put like that, it is probably more useful to be able to find the bottle necks in the system with a more accurate score. It’s a shame the Vista WinEI tests for hard drives had a 40% uncertainty in their analysis on some drives.

    [And regarding unemployment – it was only meant to be a loose analogy i.e. "You can prove anything with statistics"]

  15. nwoolls says:

    @daved1948 – "Why is it Windows 7 makes changes to MP3 files?"

    Because the user has the option enabled in WMP to update media files with information from the Internet?

  16. xiphi says:

    @david1948, So, you don’t condone it in Windows 7, but you’ll condone it in Vista and XP? You do realize WMP is set to update media information by default when you use the Express Setup, right? It’s not just happening on 7.

    If you’re so protective of your files, perhaps you should make them all "read-only".

  17. Fault says:

    The disk test caps are entirely counterproductive to the overall WEI score – my system can still easily handle 5.0 WEI score applications, but the arbitrary disk test caps rate my RAID 0 array at 3.0, which sets my score (as displayed in the Games Explorer) at 3.0.

    I know full well to ignore the WEI, but this is going to be more than a little confusing to the intended target of the WEI system.

  18. mdaria510@gmail.com says:

    @mfortin

    I’m glad to see transparency is forthcoming, I assume this is because it is still under works.

    If and when the details are revealed, I highly suggest it be done within windows through help and support or some other internal method, rather than a blog like this.  That kind of information should be a click away from the actual score.  

    I think it would be far more interesting if there was more detailed information given rather than a general explanation of how scores are reached.  For instance, if both memory capacity and speed have an effect on the score, rather than just saying that, it would be nice to see on some sort of advanced details dialog the measured read/write speeds, latency, etc.  

  19. blargsoup says:

    At first, I wondered why would you use a scale that ends in 5.9?  Just reading people complain about having their HDD score drop helps me to understand the purpose of this scale.  The idea was to increase the top end according to hardware available at the time.  If they made it on a scale to ten, then every update to WEI would result in a drop in score for the same hardware, and otherwise rational people would be crying.

    I am particularly excited about the adjustment in HDD scores to reflect real world results (besides some oddness with write caching).  People might helped to realize that the biggest upgrade you can get for a relatively modern system is a SSD of good repute.

    I do not think I have come across any software that depicts minimum WEI values for proper operation besides Microsoft’s general guidelines.  I wonder if there are any plans to help get this introduced in the minimum/recommended requirements specifications section for new software.

  20. Monarch says:

    "Some drives, however, reads are often held off for very lengthy periods as the drives apparently attempt to clear their backlog of work and this results in a perceived “blocking” state or almost a “locked system”"

    I can only confirm this. Currently I’m using a Vista SP1 system with two Seagate 400 GB drives and huge amounts of Outlook mail (4-5 GB). These drives get a WEI rating of 5.3 (very good).

    When I work inside Outlook deleting, moving etc. mails the program regularly locks up completely and the HDD led flashes constantly. This makes the whole computer seem to be very slow.

    "we synthesized many of the I/O sequences and undertook a large study on many, many disk drives, including solid state drives"

    It would be great if you published this study :-)

  21. anonymuos says:

    Laptop:

    CPU: 4.7

    Memory: 4.7

    Graphics: 3.2

    Gaming graphics: 4.9

    HDD:3.0

    HDD with Write Caching turned off: 5.4

    :O Please ‘correct’ this. Or should I turn off write caching? Will have to re-test it now using Iometer and Sandra.

    Also for HDD score, do you look at the drive RPM while rating it?

  22. mikefarinha1 says:

    On my Seagate 500GB (7200.10) I would get A Vista WEI score of 5.3… However I knew from daily use that my HDD was rather sluggish and I couldn’t understand why it had such a high WEI score.

    I was pleasantly disappointed that Windows 7 rated my HDD as a measly 2.9.

    I’ll now feel more confidant in purchasing a HDD based on the Windows 7 WEI score rather than the Vista WEI score.

    I also want to agree with an eariler commentor that said it would be more beneficial to make the top WEI score a 10 (or 9.9). This will be more intuitive to the casual user that happens across his WEI score. It should also be required that future software depict both a Vista WEI score and a Windows 7 WEI score. That will help reinforce the idea that the scores are calculated differently.

  23. mvadu says:

    Toshiba satellite with MK1637GSX

    (http://www.toshibastorage.com/main.aspx?Path=StorageSolutions/2.5-inchHardDiskDrives/MK1637GSXPage)

    Vista WEI: 4.8

    Windows 7 WEI: 2.0

    No difference in this rating based on write caching.

  24. mikedopp says:

    Of course why are we even worrying about this? The Windows Experience Index can be altered to show any wonderful number.

    Here have a look: http://weblogs.asp.net/mikedopp/archive/2008/12/25/is-your-windows-experience-index-lying-to-you-windows-experience-index-editing.aspx

    This works for all versions of vista including Windows 7 and if you get really creative Windows xp as the app can be added to xp yes.

    Don’t forget the Buffer overflow error when using this tool. http://www.nabble.com/Windows-Vista-winsat.exe-Integer-Overflow-td16363210.html

    All good times.

    -mikedopp

  25. falkao says:

    Q9300@3.4, 4 GB RAM@1066, ATI 4870

    CPU: 7.4

    RAM: 5.9

    Graphics: 7.9

    Gaming graphics: 6.8

    HDD: 5.9

    When I first saw those scores I’ve thought, ah seems they already considered faster systems, good to know. Especially on Ram and Hdd with a score of 5.9 it seems that DDR3 and SSD drives are already considered. Hence the WEI makes quite sense to me.

  26. Ryan523 says:

    Question,

    I have been testing Windows 7 on a partitoned Hard drive. of 25GB When I run the test it give me a 1.0 on my (Data Transer rate) on my Vista OS with same hard drive it gives me a 5.3 (Dual Boot)

    Now the only thing I could come up with was that it was a partitoned drive… and it was only 25GB out of 120GB wich might have caused it to think the data rate is slow. But it is a question that I can not find a solution

    Anybody have an idea?

    Thanks Ryan

  27. xplode says:

    Well lets say that vista WEI is incorrect for the hard drives score, then why a lot slower and older hard drives based on IDE interface gain much higher score in Windows 7 WEI than SATAII based drives, when the performance of the IDE ones is clearly lower?

    Also i can agree to lower the scores for hard disk drives in favor of SSD, but only in a condition when Windows 7 is released to manifacturers that we can buy lets say 500 GB SSD for a 150-250$ which is far from possible.

    IMO there are few bugs in Windows 7 WEI scoring system which will be worked on and fixed in future builds.

  28. pinobot says:

    Gigabyte MA78GM-S2H mobo (ATI HD3200 DX10 WDDM 1.1) with AMD 4850e processor and 2 GB ddr 800 memory gets a Windows Experience Index score of 3,5 for aero but my Asus P5KPL-MA (Intel GMA3100 DX9) mobo with Intel 5200E processor and 2GB ddr 800 geheugengets a score of 4.1 for aero.

  29. a_a says:

    Hello there, the most experience I hope to be improved in Windows 7 is, please don’t jump any window or dialog to the front and bring the input focus when I didn’t allowed it!

    This is really an evil feature, specially when I’m inputting and a window with keyboard shortcuts jumps out, one of these shortcuts will instantly occurred and I even don’t have time to see what’s happened! It’s really causing misoperations.

    And again, DON’T jump any window to the front and bring the input focus when I didn’t allowed it please!

    Is here is correct place to post this?

  30. Gigaplex says:

    "Well lets say that vista WEI is incorrect for the hard drives score, then why a lot slower and older hard drives based on IDE interface gain much higher score in Windows 7 WEI than SATAII based drives, when the performance of the IDE ones is clearly lower?"

    Because those slower IDE hard drives don’t suffer the same crippling performance issue, and are therefore actually faster in some situations. Besides, IDE hard drives aren’t generally all that slow as the bottleneck is in the platter, not the interface.

  31. metalhead_82 says:

    My Scores:

    CPU: 7.2

    RAM: 7.2

    Graphics: 7.4

    Gaming Graphics: 6.0

    Hard Disk: 6.0

    For info, if anyone cares, the disk is a previous model Hitachi Deskstar which cost £30. :-)

  32. Ronny49 says:

    Computer:

    MB: Asus Striker II NSE

    Intel Core 2 Quad 9550 2,83GHz

    ATI Radeon HD 4870X2 WDDM 1.1 driver

    8GB DDR3 1333MHz

    Samsung 1TB 32MB

    Windows 7 64Bit

    Score

    Processor 7,3

    Memory 7,3

    Graphics 7,9

    Gaming graphics 6,3

    Primery Hard disk 6,0

    Question: Gaming graphics 6.3 ????? Vista 5.9

  33. hitman721 says:

    In all the feedback on the WEI, I don’t get why on certain standard Hard Drives, the write catching is turned on. On SSD’s and the HDD’s, where the chipset actually benefits the write catching, I could see the benefit. However, if you’re hardware suffer’s because of such a feature, why doesn’t Windows automatically turn it off?

    I get it that you want the best experience for everyone. Write Catching probably has its advantages. My point is that most folks who aren’t investing in higher end HDD’s and SSD’s, are going to see this as a negative. If I can get a good Windows Experience without write catching, then I think this feature needs to be intuitive.

  34. martin_mine@hotmail.com says:

    First of all, thanks for trying the beta! It was an awesome experiece, and I wil give you ALOT feedback 😉

    Annyway, my WEI if from 2.8 to 5.1(CPU 3,9, RAM 5.1, Graphics 2.8, Gaming graphics 3.0, primary HDD 2.9)

    But why was my HDD score lover than Vista?

    Martin

  35. rgr says:

    Hi Ronny49,

    I’m the development manger for WinEI.  Your gaming score went up because you have very well performing adapter, DX10 and a WDDM 1.1 driver.  Of course, WinEI is a benchmark, but it does take other things into account than simple measured performance.  Gaming graphics are a good example: to get to a 6 requires both DX10 and a WDDM driver.   Without these, the gaming and graphics scores both max out a 5.9.

  36. rgr says:

    Hi Ronny49,

    I’m the development manager for WinEI.  Your gaming score went up because you have very well performing adapter, DX10 and a WDDM 1.1 driver.  Of course, WinEI is a benchmark, but it does take other things into account than simple measured performance.  Gaming graphics are a good example: to get to a 6 requires both DX10 and a WDDM driver.   Without these, the gaming and graphics scores both max out a 5.9.

  37. Ronny49 says:

    Thanks to everyone who replied to my question, especially to rgr.

    Although, I think I didn’t aks my question quite right.

    I did expect my score to be higher than 5.9 but a lot higher than 6.3 (in Windows 7)because I have one of the market’s best graphics adapters.

    What can I do to increase the 6.3 score?

  38. BogdanPopa says:

    strange…

    my WEI  CPU score grow from 5.0 in vista to 5.3 in 7, HDD score grow from 5.7 in vista to 5.9 in 7, memory remain the same 5.9 both vista or 7, and the aero and graphics grow much higher in 7 than vista. i guess its about your drivers conf., try with a vista driver if 7 are not avaible

  39. JBClark says:

    I hope the RAM score is better clamped to sizes instead of bandwidth. Bandwidth is not that important and makes comparatively little difference in real performance, however size is vital. IIRC, in Vista with just 1.5GB of RAM you could have a score of 5.9. That’s ridiculous, there were games coming out that required 2GB already, and it wasn’t that much. I’d expect, say, 4GB to be the minimum for a 5.0 and 8GB for an 6.0. Maybe with 2GB it should be clamped to 4.0. Now, there’s the issue of needing 64-bit to address it all…

  40. drewgrey says:

    I think it is great that the weakest link in my computer has been identified. I look forward to seeing tests on hard drives that have a meaningful ,standardized and understandable metric. This should hold the feet of some of these slackers to the fire.  I would like to see a single hard drive with 4 platters have 4 sata controllers so that I can have raid with one drive. Oh and make it a hybrid please.

  41. mark_ms says:

    Is there a link between calculating my WEI and the use of thumbnails by the taskbar? On 3 laptops, 1 with ATI and 2 with Intel graphics, I was getting small black squares as pop-up thumbnails on the taskbar, but after running the WEI, they started working properly.

  42. xwindowsjunkie says:

    Dump the "Windows Experience Index".

    Its the most idiotic thing I’ve seen in Windows. It was a bad idea in Vista and its even worse in Win7. The number is meaningless. It has little to no relationship to reality.

    The effort spent working on it is better spent making the rest of the OS better.

    The fact that you can "game" it by turning on and off disk caching, and video performance settings and so forth invalidates it as a serious tool for any real use.

    The fact that most of the people on this blog  seem to think it can be affected by whether or not thumbnails and the like are turned on or off and that measurements in Vista don’t match in Win7 etc means that its not a tool, its a marketing "feature".

  43. tfm says:

    I have just scored 2.9 on a 300Gb Hitachi Ultrastar 15k rpm SAS drive running from a 3ware 9690SA controller. In my experience this kit gives very good real-world performance. So IMHO 2.9 is a positively misleading number. I get 5.9 if I turn off write caching, which is simply perverse.

    Tim

  44. tfm says:

    Further to my last post, if I turn off the command queuing function I can leave write caching enabled and get a score of 5.9.

    But in this situation Everest reveals a lower linear and random read score (c.18MB/s) than with command queuing enabled (c.22MB/s).

    So, again, I think something’s awry.

    Tim

  45. tfm says:

    PS: those low scores are for 4KB block size, obviously: the 64KB block size gives read rates of above 80MB/s.

    Tim

  46. Gary_F says:

    Windows 7 RC rated my graphics card (ATI X1700 built into the laptop) as 4.4 for “Graphics” which is pretty good. Then I was alerted to some Windows Updates including one for ATI graphics which was unexpected. After the update and a reboot I re-ran the performance test and was astonished that it downgraded my respectable 4.4 rating to a measly 2.1. I ran it again to check and it was the same! How can a Windows Update for 7 RC more than halve the score?

    The “Gaming Graphics” rating remained at 3.3. So Windows 7 after the update reckons my card is more capable of 3D gaming that it is of moving pretty windows around the screen. This does not make sense either.

  47. Hun73rdk says:

    I have 3 x western digital 500GB re2 harddrives in raid0 and i cant get the disk rating over 5.9

    they need to fix that faulty test

    i can read with over 200MB/s and write with over 200MB/s and wlile writing and reading on the same time am on about 100MB/s R+W at the same time

  48. saulc says:

    I can’t get the WEI tool to complete. It will start, but then it either makes no progress at all, or it dies trying to do the Direct3D 9 Aero assessment. As a result, I’m not seeing Aero. My computer has an Intel dual-core CPU and 8G of memory, and my graphics card is an ATI HD 2600 XT. How would I assess where my problem lies?

  49. Holiday Logo says:

    That’s ridiculous, there were games coming out that required 2GB already, and it wasn’t that much. I’d expect, say, 4GB to be the minimum for a 5.0 and 8GB for an 6.0. Maybe with 2GB it should be clamped to 4.0. Now, there’s the issue of needing 64-bit to address it all…

  50. Financial Logo says:

    I would like to see a single hard drive with 4 platters have 4 sata controllers so that I can have raid with one drive. Oh and make it a hybrid please.

  51. Engineering Logo says:

    Gaming graphics are a good example: to get to a 6 requires both DX10 and a WDDM driver.   Without these, the gaming and graphics scores both max out a 5.9.

  52. Charity Logos says:

    there were games coming out that required 2GB already, and it wasn’t that much. I’d expect, say, 4GB to be the minimum for a 5.0 and 8GB for an 6.0. Maybe with 2GB it should be clamped to 4.0. Now, there’s the issue of needing 64-bit to address it all…

  53. Charity Logos says:

    In support of this decision, I’d like to point out we had a great deal of data in our hands highlighting some common performance issues with disks, including almost all of the early solid state disks as they hit the market.  Given the WinEI tests were not sophisticated enough to catch the problem, it seemed wrong for us to continue to highlight the drives as being good, or very good, when in fact they were the root of many responsiveness issues.

  54. Drugs Logo says:

    Windows 7 RC rated my graphics card (ATI X1700 built into the laptop) as 4.4 for “Graphics” which is pretty good. Then I was alerted to some Windows Updates including one for ATI graphics which was unexpected.

  55. peterdrichter says:

    First of all, Great job on Win7!  Also, don’t cave to the mass nitwits that want a 10.0 scale!  

    So, I have a question about the Disk test – I’m using RAID 10 with an intel onboard raid controller (SATA).  I originally had 4 Raptor 10k rpm drives in Vista x64 – acheived a 5.9.  The heat got to much, so I changed to (4) 7200 rpm seagate drives, also Raid10.  Score stayed the same 5.9.  Now in Win7, the score is still 5.9.  I have a feeling if I went to a single drive that the score would still be a 5.9.  :)  On my little lenovo X301 with SSD I get a 6.2 so I know Win7x64 can do better!  I’m curious about how RAID systems are taken into account.  Thanks!

  56. Hagrinas says:

    I agree that the 10.0 makes no sense. If hardware becomes more powerful in upcoming years, Windows might decide I am a 10.0. Then there will be no way to compare my performance to anything better that comes out.

    I think the current scheme already suffers from this. I am also stuck at 5.9 for RAID. It’s not that I think I deserve more. It’s that I had a problem with a drive and changed it to another with lesser performance. I still got a 5.9.

    Capping makes it impossible to compare, since by definition, devices with more capability than others will have the same scores. 5.9 might make sense when computing the overall score, but I might have a 6.1 level instead of my previous 6.3 level of a 5.9 class. Microsoft is showing you a tree’s branches but hiding the leaves. The leaves are the measurable sub-factors and hard criteria.

    If MS rightly decides that devices that don’t meet future spec XYZ should get a 5.9 sub-sub-score, then as long as the other sub-sub-scores (leaves) are at least 5.9 then the sub-score (branch score)will be 5.9. Anybody with a leaf less that 5.9 will get a meaningful sub-score. We want to see the tree. MS is worrying about showing the forest.

    Also, the overall score will tell a user that a machine with a 7.1 for calc per sec and a 4.9 for RAM will not benefit(i.e. get a better score) by getting more/faster RAM if gaming graphics keeps the overall score at 4.5.

    The caps and lack of score improvement for hardware improvements  is something that should be addressed. Or a white paper could explain the details.

    However I agree with the overall score being the lowest of all scores. There is still room to consider sub-scores and compare them to what a software vendor prints on the box or lists on a website.

    The advantage of the low score is that you won’t get ambushed by a new application that is constrained by your lowest sub-score. An average might boost things based on a high score for something that is not even a constraint for a given user.

    Somebody who has a killer media center PC might never need the CPU power in the box. A gaming graphics bottleneck might not result in a perceivable difference in performance. But when that user decides that this super fast PC should be perfect for gaming, the user might be in for a shock.

    Back in the mainframe days, we could set the priority for individual users as well as for applications. I met with the senior VP and told him that I would give him the lowest priority. The rationale was that it would have no effect when there were no constraints caused by contention, but he would be the first to know when they caused performance to degrade. Many administrators did the opposite, making top management oblivious to performance problems until end users were crawling in mud.

    He knew that users were getting at least the performance he was, and probably more. Windows users will know that a computer will give them at least what the score dictates, and probably more.

  57. medical tourism says:

    Windows 7 RC rated my graphics card (ATI X1700 built into the laptop) as 4.4 for “Graphics” which is pretty good. Then I was alerted to some Windows Updates including one for ATI graphics which was unexpected.

  58. markovich says:

    On my Seagate 500GB (7200.10) I would get A Vista WEI score of 5.3… However I knew from daily use that my HDD was rather sluggish and I couldn’t understand why it had such a high WEI score.

    I was pleasantly disappointed that Windows 7 rated my HDD as a measly 2.9.

  59. CarbonFiberFootprint says:

    Processor       6.9  E5200 @ 4.125GHZ

    Memory          6.9  1320MHZ FSB – Crucial DDR2

    Graphics        6.9

    Gaming graphics 6.9  9600GT @ 760MHZ

    hard disk       6.9  OCZ Vertex SSD

    Hilarious results, if you ask me.

  60. Zlatko says:

    Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU 950 @ 3.07GHz  score 7.5

    Memory (RAM) 4.00 GB  score 7.9

    Graphics ATI Radeon HD 5800 Series  score  6.0

    Gaming graphics 2559 MB Total available graphics memory  score 6.0

    Primary hard disk 90GB Free (119GB Total)  score 5.9

    Windows 7 Ultimate

    5.9 Determined by lowest subscore

    where is point here

    i have ssd kingston 128 GB hdd look my subscore 5.9

    lol

    i have gigabyte ati radeon HD 5850 DDR5 1GB

    look score 6.0

    ram mem is ok

    i have kingston hyper x pc2000 and subscore is good 7.9

    my cpu is I7 950 look score just 7.5

    PSU is 1000 wats Coolermaster

    liquid cooling for cpu

    extra ram fans orginal for kingston hyperx ram mem

    temp in my comp is max 33 C

    and my subscore is just 5.9

    you need to fix that

  61. That’s ridiculous, there were games coming out that required 2GB already, and it wasn’t that much. I’d expect, say, 4GB to be the minimum for a 5.0 and 8GB for an 6.0. Maybe with 2GB it should be clamped to 4.0. Now, there’s the issue of needing 64-bit to address it all…

  62. exitbird says:

    Good job! THANKS! You guys do a great website, and have some great contents. Keep on the good work.

  63. Zyxl says:

    Just as a suggestion to everyone on the Hard Drive max of 5.9 (which I also have), there are drives out now that are able to read/write around 800 mb/s so for a read/write speed of 150 mb/s it seems pretty reasonable to give a 5.9.

  64. Tom says:

    I have Q9550 2.83GHz, 8GB DDR2 667MHz RAM, Radeon HD4870 Graphics, and Hitachi 500GB (IDE!) with Windows 7 on it.

    CPU: 7.3

    Memory: 7.3

    Graphics: 7.5

    Gaming Graphics: 7.5

    HDD: 5.8

    Solid scores, although I’ve noted above others with the HD4870 (x2 sometimes!) whose graphics scores differ quite a bit – usually higher on the Graphics and lower on the Gaming Graphics.

    The WEI does seem to be hit and miss.

    I would really like to see under what criteria the subscores are calculated, e.g. upper limits for capping on components. My brother’s GeForce 9600GT scores Graphics: 4.9, Gaming Graphics: 6.3, so I think the graphics must be capped by something missing either in hardware (e.g. pixel shader x.x?) It would be nice to find out this information.

  65. rtpnfd says:

    I work for one of the major storage vedors (enterprise, not just HDDs). I wanted to also say that I’m disappointed Windows 7 doesn’t let you dig deeper in to the score in the interface. The high level numbers are nice for the novice users, but it’d be nice to be able to get what caused the storage to be the number (poor sequential 4k writes vs sustained throughput across all tests for example.)

    Oh, and while I take issue with your presentation of performance with the WEI, major kudos on the Win 7 look, feel, and usability. I also really like the resource monitor even though I know that’s been around since Vista.

    — Win 7 64 ultimate on mine.

  66. mido says:

    when i finish setup windows 7 enterprise and finished all myprogram i had run thewindows experience index and run good 3.5 after i had open update and  get run the new verision g41 for my board intel g41 express chipset  i have one problem but,i tried alot of many to run the windows experience index but,answer the windows experience index for system could not be computed could not measure video playback performance

  67. 3DFox says:

    My WinEIVersion is unkown  In XML files

    WHY???

  68. sheikh umar says:

    my windows experience index freezes my pc during aero assessment. It was working when i had nvidia geforce 4 mx 440.BUT When i upgrade my video cardto nvidia geforce fx5200 ,it started freezes .Then i upgraded my video card again to nvidia geforce 6600 it still freezes . I have installed the latest video driver and i have installed the windows agian but this did not work .Please help me , I have windows 7 32-bit .

    My system is

    Intel pentium 4 @ 2.00 ghz

    1gb memory

    256mb nvidia geforce 6600 agp 4x

    please contact me at my phone no 00923325242554/03325242554 in pakistan

    or on my email umar_cj007@live.com

  69. Mark Sowul says:

    It's a damn shame you apparently cowed to hardware manufacturers yet again instead of calling them out for causing poor performance that will surely get blamed on Windows instead (Vista Capable and Intel anyone).  

    If you have an agonizingly slow laptop where your mouse cursor is frozen while the disk thrashes, I bet you have a Seagate.  Of course most will think, "Windows sucks" and want to buy a Mac.  I only learned this heuristic thanks to this post and running Windows 7 on my laptop during the beta, and it's a shame this rating change was reverted.  

    I replaced the drive and performance improved dramatically without any of these awful multi-second lockups.  Now I'm stuck with the issue on my completely-different work laptop as well, and sure enough, guess what I find when looking at Device Manager…

  70. @Ronny49. If your HD4870x2 is only getting 6.3 for gaming graphics, it might be for the following reason. (I experienced a similar artificial capping with both my HD4870 and HD6950 initially).

    Go into Catalyst Control Centre, and make sure all gaming options (anti aliasing, anisotropic filtering etc.) options are set to maximum quality. I think if you don't, the WEI calculation is throttled back.

    It turned my HD6950's score from 6.0 to 7.9.

    My i7 950, 12GB RAM, HD6950 and OCZ Vertex 2E setup scores: 7.8/7.8/7.9/7.9/7.8. Sounds about right for a top-spec system.

  71. ian says:

    Does anyone know if Group Policy can disable the Windows Experience Index? We haven't been able to run it since rolling out our latest Policy updates. Though nothing points or mentions WEI. Anyone?

  72. ian says:

    Also, thought I would mention that this worked prior to joining to network domain. Clean boot did not help.

  73. I've written about the importance of computer manufacturers embracing Windows Experience Index. You can read about it here:

    tsedrive.com/windows-experience-index.html

  74. jithin says:

    There is a nice tool avilable for chaging windows 7 rating 'Windows Rating Changer' by jtechsoftwares Visit and download :http://www.jtechsoftwares.in/windows-rating-changer.html

  75. jithin says:

    There is a tool available to change windows experience index..

    http://www.jtechsoftwares.in/windows-rating-changer.html

  76. jithin says:

    Software Tool For Changing windows experience index

    By:J-Tech Softwares

    Website:http://www.jtechsoftwares.in/windows-rating-changer.html

     Windows Rating Changer is a simple software tool which is used to change the windows experience index. Are you ever having problem with you system showing lower ratings than you expected then here comes the solution using this software tool you can  change your windows 7 rating to any value you want. There is some programs and games which will check the windows 7 rating as the tool for checking their minimum system requirements.so use this tool share and enjoy…

  77. Nikil O K says:

    Hi ,

    Here is my performance index that got me an almost 7.9 on windows 7

    [IMG]i130.photobucket.com/…/windowsratingdetail.png[/IMG]

    [IMG]i130.photobucket.com/…/windowsrating.png[/IMG]

    I guess i could achieve 7.9 with a little overclocking of the CPU.

    Cheers

    Nikil

  78. Hello says:

    Is it possible to increase the score from 1.9 – 6.0 per chance?