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Power Portables Windows Hardware

Comparing Performance and Power Use For Vista vs. Windows 7 WIth Clarksfield Chi 119

Posted by timothy
from the batteries-need-help dept.
crazipper writes "Back when Intel launched its Core i5/i7 'Lynnfield' CPUs, Tom's Hardware ran some tests in Windows 7 versus Vista to gauge the benefits of the core parking and ideal core optimizations, said to cut power consumption in the new OS. It turned out that Win7 shifted the Nehalem-based CPUs in and out of Turbo Boost mode faster, resulting in higher power draw under load, while idle power was a slight bit lower. The mobile version of the architecture was claimed (at the time) to show a greater improvement in moving to Win7. Today there's a follow-up with the flagship Clarksfield processor that shows the same aggressive P-state promotion policies giving Win7 a significant performance advantage with Core i7 Mobile. However, power consumption is higher as well."
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Comparing Performance and Power Use For Vista vs. Windows 7 WIth Clarksfield Chip

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  • We do know that the thrice-daily Windows Updates will consume a startling amount of power, though.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We do know that the thrice-daily Windows Updates will consume a startling amount of power, though.

      How much power? Since we're talking about Windows with Chi, I'd say over 9000.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      the real nuisance of Windows Updates is the tremendous amount of CPU they use. how is it that I can update a Linux distro on inferior hardware and not notice the slowdown so much? is it because the linux system runs a user-mode program to take care of things, while windows update probably handles this in kernel mode? seriously why does Windows need so much more processing power to perform the same type of task, and less of it since Windows Update considers only the core OS and not every installed package
    • by kestasjk (933987) *
      Thrice daily? What?.. I can't remember the last time I had three in a single month.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So you're saying Vista is the better OS?

  • by Timothy Brownawell (627747) <tbrownaw@prjek.net> on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @04:44PM (#29750429) Homepage Journal
    Given the recent google study [slashdot.org] and the Folding@Home NVIDIA study [slashdot.org], why would you want to run an i5/i7 system (which don't permit ECC)?
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @04:55PM (#29750537)

      I haven't seen a desktop in a long time that had ECC RAM, or even support for it. In the Core 2 era of chips desktop use normal unbuffered DDR2 or DDR3 DIMMs. For ECC stuff on workstations/servers you use FBDIMMs which are way more expensive.

      Same shit with the i7. If you want i7 class hardware with ECC it is called the Xeon 5500. Running on a 5520 chipset, it supports ECC RAM, and lots of it (144GB is the most I've seen thus far).

      That's all workstation class stuff. Desktop stuff is not ECC because it is cheaper.

      • by Timothy Brownawell (627747) <tbrownaw@prjek.net> on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @05:07PM (#29750637) Homepage Journal

        I haven't seen a desktop in a long time that had ECC RAM, or even support for it.

        Any moderately recent AMD CPU will support ECC, and it's not hard to find a mainboard that does as well (for example I believe any ASUS mainboard for AMD will support ECC, I know the one I checked a couple days ago does (cheapest ASUS AM3 mainboard on Newegg then, probably still is, only like $5 more than the cheapest other AM3 board)).

        In the Core 2 era of chips desktop use normal unbuffered DDR2 or DDR3 DIMMs.

        Buffered/unbuffered is separate from ECC/non-ECC. For example I know the AMD desktop chips support unbuffered ECC memory.

        Desktop stuff is not ECC because it is cheaper.

        Maybe 10% cheaper. And of course it's easy to make things cheaper if they don't have to work correctly.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PitaBred (632671)
          Sometimes good enough is just that. People are used to restarting their computers and getting random blue screens. If a restart fixes it, they generally don't care. And that's fine by me. I don't use my machine for super-high precision work where a few bits flipped will cause massively different results. Nor do 99% of people. Why pay the extra 10% more when less than 1% actually might have a use for it?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Sometimes good enough is just that. People are used to restarting their computers and getting random blue screens. If a restart fixes it, they generally don't care. And that's fine by me.

            I see it more as a problem that needs to be fixed, because even if most people use their computer for mostly entertainment they still use it for actual productive stuff at least occasionally.

            I don't use my machine for super-high precision work where a few bits flipped will cause massively different results. Nor do 99% of people. Why pay the extra 10% more when less than 1% actually might have a use for it?

            Because that "10% more" is going to be maybe $20 if you have unusually large amounts of RAM, and more like $5 for a $500 BudgetBox system that only has 2GB? That's probably worth it even for gaming (I'd imagine a bluescreen in the middle of an important raid or something could be rather annoying), let alone using TurboT

            • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

              Honestly I have not seen a RAM-based BSOD in a long, long time. The last time was actually, unfortunately, the first time I booted a new laptop that came with Vista a couple years ago. I'm reasonably certain the OEM screwed something up there, it's highly unlikely that it was a RAM error.

              RAM BSODs are very rare, because the RAM is very good. You use ECC in "mission critical" applications, not in video games or the occasional turbotax that you only use once a year.

              Seriously. If you're worried about it yo

        • by Agripa (139780)

          Any moderately recent AMD CPU will support ECC, and it's not hard to find a mainboard that does as well (for example I believe any ASUS mainboard for AMD will support ECC, I know the one I checked a couple days ago does (cheapest ASUS AM3 mainboard on Newegg then, probably still is, only like $5 more than the cheapest other AM3 board)).

          I built a Phenom II 940 with 8GB of DDR2 ECC on an Asus M3A78-T at the beginning of the year which works great. A system built around the cheapest version of the Xeon i7 at

      • by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @05:11PM (#29750677) Homepage

        ECC support is more expensive on Intel platforms because Intel segments the market intentionally!!! If you want ECC support running an Intel rig, you will need both a Xeon CPU and a Workstation class board (even thought the new FSB desktop chipset supports ECC, it's not enabled)

        FYI, I'm actually building a new desktop machine this week. It's an AMD Phenom II paired up with Asus Crosshair III board. I purchased matched ECC DDR3 memory (non-buffered and non-registered) direct from Crucial.com. Simple really. I just pulled down the make/model board and placed the order in two shakes... I could be wrong, but this might be the cheapest desktop class system that supports ECC DDR3.

        • by Runaway1956 (1322357) * on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @06:29PM (#29751399) Homepage Journal

          "Intel segments the market intentionally!"

          Don't forget virtualization. With AMD, you don't have to pay a premium if you plan to run virtual machines.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by MojoStan (776183)

            "Intel segments the market intentionally!"

            Don't forget virtualization. With AMD, you don't have to pay a premium if you plan to run virtual machines.

            You no longer have to pay a premium with Intel either. I've noticed that Intel recently began adding their "Virtualization Technology" to all new CPU models, even their entry-level Celeron and Pentium Dual-Core lines. Example: this $53 Celeron E3200 at Newegg [newegg.com].

            I think Intel did this in response to Microsoft's announcement of Windows 7's "Windows XP Mode" and its requirement of on-CPU virtualization technology. AMD also recently started adding their "AMD-V" to their previously-excluded Sempron line of CPUs.

            • by yuhong (1378501)
              Intel even updated some existing low-end CPUs, including the E5300, E5400, E7200, E7300, Q8300, with VT technology. They updated the OEM version in June (PCN was issued in April) and the retail version in August (PCN was issued in July). No, the stepping has not been changed, the only way to tell is by the S-Spec and the product code.
              For more info, look up these CPUs on http://ark.intel.com/ [intel.com] or find the PCNs at http://intel.pcnalert.com/Portal/SearchPCNDataBase.aspx [pcnalert.com].
        • by Malc (1751)

          Is ECC RAM really that important? I've found desktop computers to be extremely reliable these days, and typically any instability to be caused by bad device drivers.

          The only time I've used ECC RAM is in a machine I built about nine years ago. I finally checked the Windows minidump files in a debugger and saw memory issues on the stack. But maybe I put the machine together incorrectly, or it was using unreliable components or something. These days I'm quite happy to buy a Dell off-the-shelf... they've al

      • by reub2000 (705806)
        It doesn't seem like it was that long ago that AMD was hawking Athlon 64 FX sledgehammers at consumers.
      • by citizenr (871508)

        I haven't seen a desktop in a long time that had ECC RAM

        You mean like EVERY single AMD AM2/AM2+/AM3 board that ever existed? Thats only half of the market so its quite understandable you missed it.

        • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

          He didn't say supported, he said had. HAD. Consumers don't often buy ECC RAM, hence Intel doesn't see the need to include support for it.

          Frankly, Intel doesn't seem to care about the half-dozen hobyists who think their nightly WoW session is a "mission critical" application. Maybe if someday that half-dozen turns into a few million they'll change their minds.

          Seriously, why the hell do you need ECC RAM?

          • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

            Wait, I think I missed part of his post.

            He's obviously not an AMD fanboi then. My bad.

            Still, otherwise, the point stands.

        • by treeves (963993)
          Half the market? Maybe, for sufficiently small values of "half".
      • I haven't seen a desktop in a long time that had ECC RAM, or even support for it.

        intel 'bad axe 2' (x975) series. I have several of those mobos and I keep them as cheap servers. eepro1000 on board, two 4-port sata2 chips (both linux supported, running 8 md5 raid drives across those 2 controllers), lots of extra pci-e slots and it DOES take ecc ram.

        yet its a consumer non-server board.

      • by soup4you2 (571216)
        Actually the Mac Pro's at least the 1,1 Uses ECC. Which technicaly is a desktop that can run windows.
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      why would you want to run an i5/i7 system

      Because Borderlands is going to rawk on it.

      What? That's not a good enough reason for you?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Foo2 gives much higher performance and somewhat higher power consumption than Foo1.

    Solution: Apply a downwards scalar to Foo2 so that the performance is the same and the power consumption is lower than Foo1.

  • MacBook Pro (Score:3, Informative)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @04:46PM (#29750451) Homepage

    One of the most interesting features added to Intel’s GM45 chipset was switchable graphics—a hybrid technology consisting of an integrated graphics chipset and a discrete GPU. [...] The potential savings was supposed to equal up to roughly an hour of battery life. Unfortunately, Lenovo and Fujitsu were the only two builders to take advantage of switchable graphics.

    Isn't that what Apple introduced earlier this year on the MacBook Pros? The ability to switch off the high power GPU when it's not needed and fall back to a lower quality integrated GPU? I realize that Apple used an nVidia solution instead of an Intel, but that still seems a little disingenuous.

    PS: Emphasis was mine

    • Isn't it talking about which manufacturers took advantage of the Intel solution?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shados (741919)

      Notebooks have done this for years (my girlfriend's 2-3 years old windows lap-top has that). Im guessing this is just Intel's flavor of it. Unless there's something fancier about Apple or Intel's offering like being able to do it on the fly without any settings to toggle or bios interaction, like CPU stepping.

    • Re:MacBook Pro (Score:4, Informative)

      by nxtw (866177) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @05:19PM (#29750759)

      Isn't that what Apple introduced earlier this year on the MacBook Pros? The ability to switch off the high power GPU when it's not needed and fall back to a lower quality integrated GPU? I realize that Apple used an nVidia solution instead of an Intel, but that still seems a little disingenuous.

      The Apple GPU switching implementation appears to require the user to restart his or her session (that is, log off and log on again.) Intel's implementation seems to support switching GPUs without logging off or restarting. The Intel solution also has to handle two different display drivers.

      Some older laptops supported switching between integrated and discrete graphics as well, but I think they required a reboot to switch.

      • You can switch on the ThinkPad T400 without restarting or logging out, as long as you're running Windows Vista or Windows 7.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nursie (632944)

      My vaio has that too.

      Unsure as to the actual battery life gains, but it has built in Intel GM965/X3100 and an nVidia 8400M GS. Maybe not using intel's tech?

    • Re:MacBook Pro (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @08:59PM (#29752565) Homepage Journal

      So the worst thing you can say about Win7 is that it performs better but uses slightly more power in some rigs?

      Desperation sets in...

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by ozmanjusri (601766)
        So the best thing you can say about Win7 is that it performs slightly better but uses more power in the same rigs?

        Desperation sets in...

        Indeed.

  • Good grief (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @04:55PM (#29750547)

    I've built several high-end PCs from scratch and spec'd several more at component level, during a period of well over a decade and most recently just a couple of years ago, and I still have absolutely no idea what any of the fine summary meant.

    Does anyone actually label/number components in any sort of logical way at all any more? Codename this, year that, version.subversion.minorversion.veryminorversion the other (revision C17, of course; the C16s and B17s didn't have the double overclocked doobreeflips in the L7 cache).

    It's a wonder anyone can build a PC that runs at any speed at all any more. Sheesh.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by crazipper (1250580)
      Quick summary:
      Lynnfield = the internal name for the new Core i5/Core i7 CPUs for LGA 1156.
      Core parking/ideal core = two optimizations from Microsoft in Win7 that are supposed to save power by consolidating background tasks onto as few CPU cores as possible, and then putting the idle cores to sleep.
      Clarksfield = Core i7 Mobile; basically, the Lynnfield stuff with a different interface, more aggressive Turbo Boost, etc.
      Nehalem = Another Intel internal name referring to the whole family of 45nm CPUs based
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They obviously don't. Some cohesive naming might give you at least an indication on what you are dealing with.

      My favorite is the nVidia one: GF 6xxx -> GF 7xxx -> GF 8xxx -> GF 9xxx -> GT 2xx .. WTF?

      Now don't ask me why. I think it's stupid.

      • by reub2000 (705806)
        It gets even better. The GeForce 256 could be confused with the GeForce 2XX line. Of course, once you try to play the latest game, all the confusion will be gone.
  • by Korin43 (881732) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @04:57PM (#29750555) Homepage
    Isn't this what we want? I mean, it's higher power under load because it switches to "fast mode" faster. Isn't that good? Yes it uses more power, but if the goal was to use as little power as possible, we'd just lock the processor in "slow mode".
    • Although both desktop and mobile CPUs use speed-stepping (dynamic clocking) depending on system load, it's my understanding that laptops use a more advanced method depending on the state of its power source. For example: if plugged in, expect the CPU run at its best under full load. However, while under battery power the CPU will do everything it can to conserve power under the same software load conditions.

      No matter how you slice it, it's always going to be trade off between power consumption and performan

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JesseMcDonald (536341)

      ... if the goal was to use as little power as possible, we'd just lock the processor in "slow mode".

      Not necessarily. You also have to consider that higher performance settings may allow the processor to complete its task(s) and return to a minimal-power idle configuration more quickly, for an overall improvement in average power consumption. It all depends on the power/performance ratios for each performance level and the amount of overhead involved in switching between them. Plus, of course, a bit of clairvoyance in accurately predicting future requirements.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Exactly. People seem to forget that power drain and energy consumption are not the same thing - power consumption is in energy consumed per some amount of time. For a completely unrelated example: If you run a 30 W load over 1 second, it will use 30 joules of energy (because a 1 W power draw means it consumes 1 J per second). But if you run a 500 W load over 1/100 sec, you'll only use 5 J of energy. Batteries store energy, not power, so what is likely to be more important for mobile platforms is which one u
        • If you run a 30 W load over 1 second, it will use 30 joules of energy (because a 1 W power draw means it consumes 1 J per second). But if you run a 500 W load over 1/100 sec, you'll only use 5 J of energy.

          Idealistic math ... and I get the instinctive thought (because you don't explicitly say wtf you are throwing these numbers out for) that the 30 J run and the 5 J run achieve the same goal. Such thoughts are misleading!

          I don't claim to know which power states are the most efficient on a CPU. To speak of a

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by izomiac (815208)
      Not really. A CPU running at half speed uses something like 70% of the power that it does at full speed. So it's better to run at full speed for a short time, then go into power saving mode than to run at slow speed for a long time. This has been called "race to idle" [lesswatts.org], and reminds me of the de facto motto of my old military school, "hurry up so we can wait".

      That said, Tom's Hardware did make a pretty big blunder on SSDs and battery life before, even having the gall to start that article with "Could To
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tlhIngan (30335)

        Not really. A CPU running at half speed uses something like 70% of the power that it does at full speed. So it's better to run at full speed for a short time, then go into power saving mode than to run at slow speed for a long time. This has been called "race to idle", and reminds me of the de facto motto of my old military school, "hurry up so we can wait".

        Actually, that's probably only true if you keep the voltage constant. If you can reduce the voltage to the CPU as you reduce the frequency ("DVFS" - Dyn

  • by voss (52565) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @05:22PM (#29750791)

    I cant be the only one who might think xp sp3 might actually win

  • by dave562 (969951) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @05:48PM (#29751047) Journal

    I primarily use Microsoft software (I know, get out the pitchforks) and over the years I have occasionally run AMD chips after being overcome by various AMD biased friends of mine. I've never been able to put my finger on it, but Windows simply doesn't run as well on AMD chips as it does on Intel chips. I always end up switching back to Intel. This article is just an example of why. Intel and Microsoft are in bed with each other, and Microsoft will always be putting out the code to take full advantage of the Intel chips. It wouldn't surprise me if Intel gives Microsoft the heads up on new features far in advance. It wouldn't surprise me if Microsoft works with Intel and encourages them to develop certain features in their processors that will help the Microsoft code base execute faster.

    • by dave562 (969951) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @06:41PM (#29751475) Journal

      What is flame bait about my post? Intel and Microsoft work closely together to optimize the user experience. Must be AMD fans with mod points today.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @07:38PM (#29751915)

        Riiight.

        Certainly Intel and Microsoft work closely together, they have many reasons to. But I've used many AMD and Intel systems, and honestly they're pretty interchangeable in terms of user experience.

        Claims that Windows only runs right with Intel is at best, inaccurate. Are you forgetting things like the adoption of the AMD64 architecture as The Way Forward for Microsoft in terms of 64bit support, over Intel's offerings..

      • Well, you specifically asked them to get out the pitchforks, didn't you?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Com2Kid (142006)

      My Win7 quad core AMD system that boots in under 10 seconds, is rock solid stable, and runs every game I throw at it blindingly fast would care to disagree with you. :)

      Link to my PC build out. I was going more for cosmetics (30 lbs of brushed aluminum, I don't much like the blue LEDs though, I am burnt out on blue LEDs) than for power, I have friends who consider a 10 second boot with Win7 to be slow. Not that I boot very often, more likely I am coming out of Hibernate which I can do in ~3-5 seconds, whic

    • by Krahar (1655029)

      I've never been able to put my finger on it, but Windows simply doesn't run as well on AMD chips as it does on Intel chips. I always end up switching back to Intel.

      It's real for you because it is in your head - you are seeing what you expect to see.

    • by indi0144 (1264518)
      >> but Windows simply doesn't run as well on AMD chips as it does on Intel chips

      What does it mean "doesn't run as well"? Do the AMD CPU behaves obstinate and uncooperative? Started an union? You found high profile political assassination plans on a core-dump? It was going to stab you last night? Bad AMD bad!

      Also you say that intel and Microsoft working together as if it's a GOOD thing, what? in 5 year you can run Windows 8 ONLY in intel: chipsets-SSD-CPU-Video Card? Sure THEY would like that.

      Any Pheno
  • its still worth it to upgrade to windows 7. vista is just too terribly slow. i think a lot of people are holding back from purchasing computers because no one wants to be stuck with vista.
    • by Krahar (1655029)
      So use XP and be merry!
    • Iv said it several times and Ill say it again.
      The only thing wrong with Vista is the system requirements.
      My laptop with a 2GHz amd x2 processor and 2GB of RAM ran vista very poorly, even though vista only "requires" 1GB.
      I cant imagine running it with 1GB.

      But Vista works fine when you have 3+GBs
      Not only was it speedy on my desktop powerhouse, but it was stable too. More so than I have found XP to be.

      Windows 7 is absolutely great if you have a system that can run Vista decently, and win7 on my laptop actually

    • Why not "upgrade" to Windows XP 64-bit? It's faster than Vista and Win7, supports as much RAM as you can throw at it, has the same drivers support as Vista, and less invasive DRM.

      Unless you actually like the condescending, childish Fisher-Price interface of Vista?

  • confused (Score:3, Funny)

    by zmollusc (763634) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @06:15PM (#29751303)

    Is Clarksfield Chi anything like a Charleston Chew?

  • Obviously not a P-series Intel chip
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The power isn't so much the problem.
    The problem [ducks] is that it's running windows [runs]...
    [aw crap, here we go again]
    [I hear the sock puppets winding up]
  • It uses more power, but if it gets the job done more quickly, it could still use less energy. Much like any current computer will get a sizable job done using less power than an Apple ][, even though the power supply and power draws are much bigger on the modern PC.

    Also, the article tries to compare the laptops and gives system performance in minutes/mAh. But the article doesn't give the voltage of the battery packs. What is the minutes/mWh?

  • Test is pointless (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Trerro (711448)

    Windows 7 is an upgrade to Vista, and it performs better. This isn't news.

    The problem is that Vista is a HUGE downgrade from XP, and so far everything I've read says that 7 is simply less of an XP downgrade than Vista was. I couldn't care less if it's prettier - it either needs to have some major functionality that XP doesn't (and it doesn't), or it needs to offer a serious performance boost over XP (and it appears to do the opposite.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by armanox (826486)
      In the few test situations I've run Windows 7 in (My laptop (1.7GHz Celeron M, 1.5G RAM, ATi XPress 200m), my desktop (2GHz Pentium Dual-Core, 3GB RAM, ATi Radeon HD 4550), a Dell GX270 (3.2GHz P4 HT, GeForce 6200, 2GB RAM), and a Dell SX280 (3 GHz P4 HT, 1GB RAM, Intel i915 Graphics) I have seen it out perform XP, especially as RAM increases. With 1 GB they seem fairly even, at 2 7 is faster, and above 2 XP can't compete. Also, much better drivers for 64-bit 7 then XP.
      • Mod Parent Up. I'm running the Win 7 beta 64 bit. Rock solid. Right now have 4 gig of ram. All of it used by the OS. Paging never happens. Granted that I haven't spun it up much lately, but if I do see swapping, I'll spring for the additional 8 gig of ram for a total of 12. I'm pretty sure that XP, even the 64 bit version, would choke on that basis against Win 7...
        • I have 12GB of RAM in my gaming machine (Win 7 RC 64bit) and it started paging right off the bat, with over 10GB of RAM free. I just disabled the swap file entirely.
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        much better drivers for 64-bit 7 then XP

        Ah, well at least you're honest about your lying.

  • For those of us that use Windows in a VM on our primary Linux or Mac OS X desktop, what is the best OS?

    For a long time, I stuck with my good old Win2K VM. But, too many apps were not supported on Win2K, so I moved to XP.

    There was clearly no reason to go to Vista from XP. But, how about now with Win7? Any advantages to Win7 for basic VM use, office apps & IT tools?

    • by Ledgem (801924)
      Performance-wise, not really. Windows 7 hasn't been any faster for me than XP under VMWare Fusion (but perhaps that's obvious; Windows XP would probably seem slower than WIndows 98, as well). It hasn't been noticeably slower, though. I'm attempting to transition to it as my primary Windows VM at the moment as I'd prefer the security benefits. I probably won't feel completely comfortable doing so until the cost of acquiring 8 GB of RAM (laptop form) is around half of what it is now; even with 4 GB I'm experi

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