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Windows 7 and Video Performance

So you bought a brand-new multicore PC running Windows 7 to handle your graphics and video needs with ease. It probably works fine, but if the application taps the VC-1 video codec, it's not cooking on all multicore burners, according to Microsoft.

The VC-1 video codec does not use all of the cores in three-core and six-core machines, Microsoft acknowledged last week in a tersely worded help page. Ironically, Microsoft appears to have contributed most of the technology for this video codec, which is functionally equivalent to Windows Media Player 9.

What this all possibly means is that Blu-ray disc players aren't leveraging the power of some multicore machines running Windows 7. The issue may also affect Xbox 360 game consoles, which also use VC-1, as well as a few other video codecs.

Codecs compress and decompress media files. Most computer users probably don't care about them, as long as the video frames run smoothly. To find out what codecs are used in an application, users can right click while a file is playing to check the properties, according to a Microsoft FAQ. Additionally, the FAQ points to two non-Microsoft tools that will discover the codecs being used on a system.

There's no word from Microsoft on when the problem with the VC-1 video codec in Windows 7 will be resolved, but certainly someone has noticed the performance hit. How about you? Have you noticed any video performance issues running Windows 7 on a multicore machine? Tell Doug about it at dbarney@redmondmag.com.
--By Kurt Mackie

Posted by Kurt Mackie on July 07, 2010 at 11:53 AM