FDISK, your own words betray your point. Why would people pay a whole lot in cooling the extremely hot P4 if it performs ‘just as well’ as the P3 with older software and hardware products? That is the main reason why backwards compatibility would be a huge problem when upgrading: the theorhetically superior performance that is paid for sometimes will not be there.
If one gets newest software for the newest machine, I would expect performance to be exceptionally higher. But these are not the rebuyer’s spending habits. They get a bigger boost in performance by changing RAM, the graphics card, the sound card and the hard drive.
It is not that I am not excited by the revolutionary and evolutionary new abilities of the new wafers. It is just that sometimes, the companies go too fast to produce product for their own good. Take ATI for example. Their video cards are excellent, at least I think so. However, the drivers and auxilary software (IMHO) are lagging badly, sometimes making the excellent cards virtually unuseable. If they have developed a better system of upgrading drivers like nvidia has done, then they would have not only allow end users the ability to maximize the cards’ abilities, but it would leave the programmers better prepared for the newest video cards ATI ships to market. Many people swear by the All-In-Wonder card, but the gap shows with the Rage and the Radeon sieres of products. The gap between the new machine or machine part and the drivers that run them needs to be closed in order to see real progress in upgrade technology.
Here is where Microsoft comes in. For the Windows program, they have generic drivers for almost every device, and some for specific devices granted to them by the companies that do business with them. Some are adequate to run the devices sufficiently, many are insufficient. With the plug and play system, this many satisfy most, but not to the good hackers among us. While this driver system is good for the consumer, IMO this is where their monopoly can get most insiduous. The file system for drivers can get is very inconsistent first of all, with some placed in a single or several the C:>Windows folder(s), and others placed in the c:>Warcraft Diablo Siege Force folder (just to use an example). Second, MS may produce a patch which all of a sudden makes certain products unuseable, forcing analysts to stop and fix that certain problem, instead of producing a better software upgrade for the wafer. That can be abused to slow down any potential software/hardware hybrid competitor to a crawl. Then there is the Linux problem, which MS thought is solved by demanding exclusivity with many products in the market, in which drivers for specific products are to be made only for Windows (Winmodems for example). As the drivers can be easily bloated in Windows, this exclusivity can lead to relatively poor perfomance on the machines.
Then there is that ugly small GDI/GUI. Starting at a miniscule 64k, throughout the years, MS only added extra 64k heaps. This is a real gap to overcome. Right now, one can’t do much to change the GDI/GUI without crashing the system. If MS is willing and able to truly fix this, not stopgap measures, but once and for all, then not only Windows become a great product, but technology can truly expand as software, backwards and forwards, can run at the dsesired speeds and catch finally catch up to hardware.
See, these are some of the problems that has to be solved, on the software side, before the newer CPUs can go practically faster.
As a disclaimer, I use Windows almost all of the time.
Homer, I want those links presented, than you.