As our preliminary tests indicate, Windows Beta 1 does show a noticeable performance improvement over Windows Vista SP1 especially in areas related to multimedia. The gaming tests did not yield noticeable gains, but since our testing platform was meant for general use and not gaming this is really not a factor considered heavily in this first look preview.
Using Windows 7 Beta 1 for normal everyday tasks you do notice that windows seem to open quicker and the experience seems to be more fluid. And even though this a beta release we did not have any technical issues or lockups whatsoever. This is especially remarkable due to the fact that it is a beta version and will most likely improve considerably before being released to manufacturing. Microsoft has said that Windows 7 would require a three year development cycle and the company has not even hinted at a solid release date as of yet. Although, considering the quality of the beta, we expect it to arrive sooner rather than later.
All factors considered, Microsoft has the beginnings of a solid, streamlined, higher performing operating system that is sure to receive a warmer reception than Vista initially did. The public has spoken and Microsoft must be listening and applying this valuable input into the development of Windows 7. As the development cycle continues, additional features and improvements will likely be rolled in. We look forward to trying out future beta versions and release candidates of Windows 7, so stay tuned for continuing coverage here at HotHardware.