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May 26, 2006

Vista performance rating system sure to entertain

Posted by David Hunter at 7:14 AM ET.

As I observed previously ([1], [2]), the built-in performance rating system in Windows Vista is certain to be a problem. It’s not so much that providing simplified performance information is bad, as that every OEM whose ox is gored is going to beef (pardon the mixed metaphor) – Microsoft to refine Vista’s PC rating tool:

Microsoft is retooling a PC rating feature in Windows Vista following criticism from hardware makers and others, an example that the next-generation operating system may not yet be ready for mass consumption.

The critique is that the current version of the Windows System Performance Rating feature could be “misleading,” Brad Goldberg, general manager for Windows at Microsoft, said in an interview at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference here.

The feature first appeared in a recent Vista preview release and is designed to help consumers when they first buy a PC and to determine which software and hardware works with a system. It looks at the processor, hard disk drive, memory and graphics capabilities and gives each a score, as well as a prominently displayed overall score.

The various subsystems and the overall PC get simple numerical ratings from 1 to 5 but even worse,

The overall score maps to the lowest of the sub-scores. This means that if a PC has a processor that scores a five, the highest possible score, but a lousy graphics card, with a one, the overall score will be a one.

More detail and some of the complaints by following the link, but here’s the closer:

Retooling the rating feature is just part of product development, Microsoft’s Goldberg said. “Those are the types of things in any product in the beta cycle that we’re looking at here, just like other features in the product.”

A modest suggestion: drop the feature completely and spend the time on something important because no amount of engineering is going to solve the underlying problem.

Filed under Microsoft, OS - Client, Windows Vista

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One Response to “Vista performance rating system sure to entertain”

  1. Microsoft tries again on Vista performance rating system -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] When last we visited Microsoft’s plan for a built-in performance rating system in Vista, vendors were complaining that it wasn’t accurately representing their machines and Microsoft was promising a revamp. Well, the revamp is here and the vendors are still complaining: Microsoft has reworked the PC assessment tool in Windows Vista after fielding complaints from hardware makers–but the changes may not be enough to completely quell concerns. … The tool is designed to help consumers make sense of Vista’s fairly complicated needs when it comes to memory, graphics performance and other internal components. It looks at five benchmarks and presents an individual score for each, as well as an overall rating for the system. [...]

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