With the advent of Windows 7, Microsoft introduced two new levels of the Windows Experience Index (WEI) score which made its debut concomitantly with Windows Vista back in 2007.
Provided that they own the right hardware configuration, users earn bragging rights for scores as high as 7.9, but not higher, at least not in this version of the Windows client (but most probably in the next).
According to Microsoft, scores 6.0 through 7.9 were made available as a move designed to help the operating system’s WEI metrics to keep up with the evolution of hardware.
“Levels, 6 and 7 were added to recognize the improved experiences one might have with newer hardware, especially SSDs, graphics adapters, and multicore 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 [identified],” the software giant explained.
“As a note, the tests do not specifically check whether the underlying storage device is an SSD. We run them regardless of the device type, and any device capable of sustaining very high random I/O rates will score well.”
It’s quite possible to build a 7.9 machine but don’t expect to do it on a budget. Achieving the maximum Windows 7 WEI score of 7.9 requires nothing short of the best of the best hardware components on the market.
The WEI score takes into consideration only the following components: processor, memory (RAM), graphics (general desktop work), gaming graphics (typically 3D), and primary hard disk.
Getting up to 7.9 means owning a computer with a quad-core desktop CPU, a socket 1366 motherboard, at least 12 GB of DDR3 RAM, a GTX 285 graphics card, a SSD of 256 GB or more, and the power supply to make it all work.
“For graphics adapters, both DX9 and DX10 assessments can be run now. In Windows Vista, the tests were specific to DX9.
“To obtain scores in the 6 or 7 range, a graphics adapter must obtain very good performance scores, the adapter must support DX10, and the driver must be at least a WDDM 1.1 driver. For WDDM 1.0 drivers, only the DX9 assessments will be run. Therefore the overall score is capped at 5.9.
“For multicore processors, both single-threaded and multithreaded scenarios are run. With levels 6 and 7, we intend to indicate that these systems will be rarely CPU bound for typical use and very suitable for demanding processing tasks and for multitasking.
“As examples, we expect that many quad-core processors will be able to score in the high 6 to low 7 range, and we expect eight-core systems to be able to approach 7.9. This scoring has accounted for the very latest microprocessors available,” the company added.
But always keep in mind that the WEI scores are not a reflection of performance, not that they’re intended as such. Instead Windows WEI scores are designed to do nothing more than to reflect the hardware capabilities of a PC.