Windows Server 2008 – Avalon Display System

Avalon – Code name for Windows Server 2008’s New Display System

Avalon was just a Longhorn code name, the final interface is now referred to as Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation.

With the Windows Presentation Foundation / Avalon API, the graphics are much crisper and the display text sharper than any previous Windows System.Aero Sidebar

Avalon eliminates the old GDI, but requires a new GPU (Graphics Processing Unit).  The benefit is sharper pixels, with greater dpi (dots per inch) making reading small features easier.  To give you an idea, they used the best technology from computer games machines, improved on it, and named it Avalon.

What you get with Avalon is Vector based graphics at 60 frames a second.  Every aspect of pixel drawing is controlled by the Avalon sub system.  The idea is to take advantage of new high resolution monitors without the drawbacks of bitmaps.

Windows Presentation Foundation is a unified presentation subsystem for Windows.  What you get is a display engine and a managed-code framework.  The idea is to displays, documents, media, and user interface, in the highest ever resolution.  Moreover, you not only get the best possible graphics, but the information is context sensitive depending on where you click or even hover.

Another surprise Windows Presentation Foundation will be available not only on Windows Server 2008, but also Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 as well as all future releases of the Windows operating system.

It is no shock that you need a high, or at least medium performance graphics cards.  It is the speed of the card and the amount of memory that will affect performance, particularly with games and movies.   Try and avoid low-spec cards, for example, nVidia 5200 and ATI 9200, where possible, choose high-end 6800 or X800.  Apparently if you have an old graphics card, Longhorn and Windows Presentation Foundation are clever enough to emulate the better cards, so at least you get the AERO effect – if a little more slowly in the case of games.

DX9 Pixel Shader 2.0 cards will give crisp results.  Pixel shaders come from the games world, they give the texture and fade effects which give AERO its personality.

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RemoteFX in Windows Server 2008 SP1

If you have used Remote Desktop then you will have been disappointed with the graphics experience compared with running Windows 7 locally.  SP1 introduces an updated client to supply RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) connections with RemoteFX.

With Windows 7 SP1, RemoteFX improves the Remote Desktop experience by supporting Windows Aero, full-motion video, and 3D graphics.  To reap these benefits make sure the Windows 2008 Server has a DirectX 10.0 graphics card to support the Windows 7 SP1 guest operating system.

Incidentally, this technology has undergone more re-naming than any other Windows component, what used to be called Terminal Services is now Session Virtualization.

See a Review of Windows Server 2008 SP1

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