Breathing life into old machines with Windows 7

I guess “old” is relative to many of us, but considering the processor in my Dell Latitude D820 is the T2500 Core Duo, it is positively ancient.  I complained about the performance of the machine in the past with Windows Vista.  Performance got better with Vista SP1 and the perf tweaks I did to the machine.  The performance with Windows 7 is really very good right now, but I am totally cheating to get it there.  Take a look at the following screenshot and you’ll see how.


As you can see, the processor falls down as expected on the Windows Experience Index (WinEI).  The memory is fine.  The GPU is just ok.  Probably just above the borderline.  You’ll also notice this particular video chipset is using a WDDM 1.0 not 1.1 driver.  The driver flowed off the website post Windows 7 installation.

The interesting score, for those of you keeping score is the disk score.  6.7 is pretty freaking fast.  It should be.  It’s using the Kingston SSDNow evaluation drive I have.  I figured this would be a good place to run some tests to see if new technology could breathe some life into an older machine.  Not surprisingly it does.  You can really see the I/O advantage when launching applications.  They zoom off that SSD drive.

Anyway, I thought you might be interested in the impact fast I/O can really have on the overall “feel” of the operating system, applications and environment.  Now if we could just get 256GB drives for say…  $100.  At least we know what the future holds.

Now you might be wondering what Windows 7 will do for your machine.  Good question.  The current Beta seems to be performing really well on the machines I’ve tried it on.  Unfortunately the Latitude D820 is now the oldest machine I have and it won’t be three years old until this summer.  Any of you tried the beta on older machines?  How does it compare to Windows XP and Windows Vista?  Keep in mind this is just a beta so performance is very likely to get better as we finalize the product.  Enjoy.

[UPDATE for 1/19]  I backed up the environment and have restored it to a regular Hitachi 100GB 7200rpm drive.  Hard drives are so noisy compared to SSD.  Spotted a Win7 bug doing this.  Time to send some feedback.

Interesting timing.  See

Comments (13)

  1. ChrisJones says:

    I’m actually running it on an E6400 and I’m quite impressed. My oldest laptop is an HP ZD7000 going on 5 or 6 years old now and it won’t detect the video card so I can’t really see how it would perform. I also have an ACER C200 tablet that I’ll try next to test out tablet funcionality.

  2. Krishna says:

    I have installed on Dell Inspiron 8600 with 1.5GB RAM. Win 7 works lot faster than Vista or XP. I’m really happy with it. I will try to post the scores later today with laptop specs.

  3. Nicholas says:

    I’m confused. I have a T2400 proc (1.83 GHz) and it’s rating at 4.3 in Windows 7. Shouldn’t it be lower than yours? Or is Intel’s processor naming dumb?

  4. Keith Combs says:

    Your guess is as good as mine.  The specs for both are at

    4.3 seems about right for both if you ask me.  Mine is probably a bug.

  5. Robin Brandl says:

    I am running Win 7 on my HP 2133 Netbook and I love it! I really wasn’t into the whole Netbook hype but it was great on My flight to Singapore, just easier to deal with and blast out some work….. Wish I had got a Netbook with an SSD.

  6. Tarquin says:

    As you can see above, my processor is also a step below and had rated higher, my overall is also higher which is odd considering my Intergrated GFX Card.

    Im running on a HP530 with 3gb of ram, a partitioned dual boot HDD and am loving it, The system boots fast, runs fast, doesnt freeze or crash.

    None-the-less im surprised at your results.

  7. casimir says:

    On a Dell Latitude D810 Windows 7 works better than Windows XP even with WEI:

  8. Dave says:

    T2500 Core Duo Slow with Vista? Really? I have a first generation MacBook Pro which currently dual boots OS X 10.5 and Vista and I was actually surprised at the speed of Vista on the machine with that T2500. It flies. Not quite as quick as OS X is on the same machine but still there was nothing wrong with the performance on that machine in my experiences. I’m looking forward to installing Windows 7 over top of that Vista installation though.

    Just my two cents. 🙂

  9. Keith Combs says:

    Actually, my machine is not slow at all.  It is working very nicely.  Tell you what though, the SSD drive will spoil you rotten.  I am now back on a regular 100GB hard drive and it seems a lot slower than the SSD.  Duh, it is!!

  10. Jordan says:

    You are always very hard on the D820 but mine has been a workhorse for 2 years now at work. (although i think we previously established that i have a newer model processor in mine).

    I also have 4 GB of RAM now as well. I’m pretty sure that my winSAT score was way higher than yours is on procesor and i have the same GPU in mine but it pulled the WDDM 1.1 driver not the 1.0.

    I am going to try and hold out for a Thinkpad when i get a new machine, though.

  11. Keith Combs says:

    Jordon, let’s compare apples to apples.  Please post the details of your D820.  

  12. DM says:

    I installed it on a PC with a Pentium III 1.0Ghz processor and 512MB RAM.

    I use that PC as a file server and couldn’t upgrade it to Vista because it was too slow.  

    Windows 7 Beta runs really smooth on it.

    I even get Aero through an old ATI Radeon AGP card I have in it.  

    Impressive for a beta and really cool as I now have faster network file transfers through SMB 2 (my home’s computers were impatiently waiting for my server to support it, they all run on Vista).

  13. mike says:

    I’ve just installed Windows 7 on a Dell Inspiron 9100 which is nearly 5 years old. It doesn’t run as well as Windows 2008 on the same system, or as well as Vista, which Windows 2008 replaced. I think I will be going back to Windows 2008.

    The performance rating is 3.6, as compared with 3.4 on Vista but it feels slower !

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