Scott M. Fulton, III explains at TGDaily (Tom’s Hardware Guide):
In an interview earlier this week with ATI’s director of technical marketing, Alexis Mather, TG Daily learned that manufacturers such as ATI that are engineering their equipment for emerging Windows Vista performance specifications, are anticipating Microsoft to elevate the importance of the new OS’ System Performance Rating (WSPR), to a very high level of prominence. Soon after Vista’s formal introduction later this year, Mather believes, Microsoft, OEMs, retailers and other dealers, and even professional evaluators including the engineers at Tom’s Hardware Guide, will be utilizing Vista’s rating scale of 1 through 5, to distinguish the relative performance of all PCs available in the marketplace.
“[WSPR] effectively assigns a numerical rating between 1 and 5 to a PC, based on components such as the CPU, system memory speeds, disk speed, and two measurements in graphics,” Mather told TG Daily. He was prevented from going into detail about the formula used to derive the rating, which is apparently still under development.
There’s much more in the article including some Microsoft documentation mentioning the Windows System Performance Rating, but inevitably the punchline is:
“Ultimately, the PCs at the higher end of the scale will end up being somewhat more expensive,” he predicted.
Since there’s money involved, expect the WSPR to be the source of all sorts of angst and recriminations.