Windows 7 Scalable Enough To Support 256 Cores
Though obviously Microsoft has taken a fair amount of heat regarding Windows Vista, there's probably a directly proportional level of hype on their next mainstream OS, Windows 7. Projected by some to be the OS that Vista should have been, and still by others to be nothing more than Vista on steroids (perhaps just a six-pack of Red Bull, depending on who you talk to); there's plenty of rumor, gossip, leaked and public information to go around to keep your mind off your troubled Vista installation that just crashed again for the eleventh time today. However, when it comes to unreleased OS information, we like to spend our bandwidth listening to trusted sources close to the development of the product, rather than buzz around in hear-say land.
That said, a good source you might want to consider for your dose of Windows 7 juice could very well be Microsoft's Channel 9 site, a Microsoft developer outreach site and member community staffed by several Microsoft employees. As an example, recently one of Microsoft's Technical Engineering Fellows in their Core OS division gave an interview regarding some new enhancements coming to the Windows 7 kernel. The long and short of it is that Windows 7 will be up to 256-core aware and capable of that level of multithreading. Think that's enough? It should be for a while anyway. Give a listen to Microsoft's Mark Russinovich, if you really want to put your thinking cap on...
Mark Russinovich: Inside Windows 7
One very important change in Windows 7 kernel is the dismantling of the Dispatcher Spin Lock and redesign and implementation of its functionality into separate components. This work was done by Arun Kishan (you've met him here on C9 last year). The direct result of this great work is that Windows 7 can scale to 256 processors and enabled the great Landy Wang to tune Windows Memory manager to be even more efficient than it already is.
Now the question is, will these new kernel enhancements actually make it into the OS? With the way things are scaling with mutli-core processors these days (and their relative importance to MS... Larabee anyone?), we'd say the chances are pretty good this one will see the light of day.