Chapter 3: Fine-Tuning Windows Vista’s Appearance and Performance
• Physical memory (RAM)
• General graphics
• Gaming graphics
• Primary hard disk
The “general graphics” and “gaming graphics” component titles are
misnomers; more appropriate titles would be “general graphics” and
“multimedia graphics.” Graphics is meant to reflect overall perfor-
mance for Windows interfaces. Gaming graphics is meant to reflect
performance for graphics-intensive applications, such as 3D business
applications and 3D games.
To assign the Windows Experience Index, Windows Vista determines:
• The number of processors installed on your computer and the processor type
• The number of calculations per second your computer’s processor can perform
• The total amount of physical memory installed on your computer
• The number of memory operations your computer’s memory can perform
• The total amount of graphics memory installed on your computer
• The data transfer rate of your computer’s primary hard disk
These performance metrics help Windows Vista determine the relative performance
of your computer. You can view your computer’s Windows Experience Index and
the related subscores by completing the following steps:
1. Click Start and then click Control Panel.
2. In the Control Panel, select System and Maintenance.
3. Click Performance Information and Tools.
4. As shown in Figure 3-1, your computer’s performance scores are listed by com-
ponent in the Performance Information and Tools console.
Understanding Your Windows Experience Index Score
Your computer’s base score is determined by the lowest subscore. The computer
being rated in Figure 3-1 has a Windows Experience Index base score of 2.5. The
base score can help you determine the type of software programs you can run on the
computer. The base score also determines the level of scaled performance Windows
Vista delivers. Certain operating system features will work only when your computer
meets the minimum base score requirements, and the use of certain other features,
such as high display resolutions with Aero glass or themes on multiple displays, will
have a severe impact on your computer’s performance.