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Windows XP vs. Vista: The Benchmark Rundown

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January 29, 2007 12:14:27 PM

We already know that Windows Vista offers tremendous improvements in usability, but isn't that good a choice for gaming - at least not yet. How is its application performance compared to Windows XP?
January 29, 2007 12:34:40 PM

the value of my XP license just went up
January 29, 2007 12:39:46 PM

i think over time performance is going to improve, as better products come out

-ddr3
-better DX10 card's
-faster CPU's
-the hybrid hard drive thingy
-multithreaded apps (<--- big one )
-update's for vista ( service packs )
Related resources
January 29, 2007 12:44:55 PM

Oh boy. The synthetic results kinda killed it.

I did try out an RTM version a while ago, and it was ok for everyday tasks, but some games wouldn't run so I gave up on it.

I also didn't like the fact that it started reading all the files in the folder once i opened it even if it was in list mode. To get rid of that I had to disable some visual appearance stuff, which made it look like win2k, dammit.

Ain't gonna install till sp1 even if it's free.
January 29, 2007 12:45:37 PM

How does Windows Vista perform if you take out stuff you don't need with vLite? And compared to a stripped down version of Windows XP? (nLite)

To quote the author of vLite:
Quote:
Depending on the OS image used it can go down to about 650MB ISO, while the Ultimate version is around 675MB, with all removed. On top of that with all removed you still have almost all the functionalities of a full XP.

Looked at some stats and it turns out that when a 1GB machine is used with the Vista Lite, vLite can save you up to a 600MB ! of free space in the RAM memory compared to a full version. I find that amazing, and the general usage is much faster even on my Core 2 Duo. Not to mention the 5GB smaller install.

(quote was about vLite 0.8 beta, 0.9 beta might be even better)
January 29, 2007 12:52:04 PM

I sure am glad I did'nt run right out and spend $500 on a new DX10 video card.
January 29, 2007 1:02:36 PM

Quote:
We already know that Windows Vista offers tremendous improvements in usability,...


Since I've read about how Vista's DRM system works, I keep having to double-check that people are actually saying usability is improved. Yes, things are prettier and more intuitive, but the same can be said for many Linux distros and Mac OS X. I think a big part of "usability" is in that it actually runs software. Everything I've read shows how it's much more difficult to get software working properly on VIsta.

This difficulty has to do with the DRM. OpenGL isn't supported because of DRM issues. 3D sound designed to take advantage of your sound card doesn't work in Vista because of DRM. Vista goes around the standard sound logic and runs DRM-safe, but highly inefficient, sound reproduction through the CPU. I expect that the way VIsta bungles up sound in games to be one of the major reasons for the poor performance.
January 29, 2007 1:05:13 PM

Why do Vista articles keep being placed in the Cooler and Heatsinks forum?
January 29, 2007 1:09:10 PM

I don't like Vista. It's currently just a cumbersome OS; way too much junk packed together I think. The only thing that I've read about it that I do like is that Microsoft decided not to allow every bit of code written access to the kernel; though this is probably one reason it's slower. It was kind of bad that Vista was put through all of that checklist and "training" the OS just to have it perform worse than XP. That is way too much trouble in my opinion just to get an OS to do what it should be able to do on its own.

I've used Vista RC1 and really didn't care for it. I prefer just a simple, easy to use, clean OS. I got so irritated at Vista when I had Internet Explorer open and I tried to close it by clicking the X in the top right corner, but that desktop gadgets thing was in the way of the X and I couldn't click on it. And the annoying pop-up every time I do anything that asks me if I really want to do that.



One thing I feel may be in error that the author states,
Quote:
No new Windows release has been able to offer more application performance than its predecessor.

Windows XP seemed to run applications faster than Windows 2000; though this was my perception, I didn't benchmark it.
January 29, 2007 1:10:09 PM

Quote:
Why do Vista articles keep being placed in the Cooler and Heatsinks forum?


lol, I wondered that too.
January 29, 2007 1:12:13 PM

well, I guess DRM or something like it has to be in place when movies are involved, but when it comes to music - I'd agree with John Frusciante's take on it: music IS ultimately for the people, and when you get preoccupied with making more money by disabling access to it - you start writing crap instead of music.

so, as of now: there's poor performance compared to XP, sound problems, comptibility problems - god knows what else. Doesn't quite justify spending slightly under 1k to buy Vista and a DX10 card.
January 29, 2007 1:17:25 PM

The comparison isn´t quite fair, if you ask to RUN Vista ona system, they demand a heavy 3D video card, XP don´t.
Also a heavy proc. (duo) and a lot of mem (2G). is not a waste on a Vista.

I am telling this, do you think that offices will buy systems with a heavy video card? Don´t think so. Ofcourse this articel was written with a gamer in mind. But when you write this articel pure about office app, then you get a different result.
January 29, 2007 1:19:37 PM

I think you all are missing the most significant thing here.
Windows vista isnt that bad...
remember when XP first came out, ill bet my wallet that you were one of those people who swore they would never upgrade.. and now look at the situation: XP is very refined and polished espically with people designing programs for XP OF COURSE THEY WILL RUN FASTER. You should just be happy that Vista even supports your old programs and hardware.

preformance will improve over time. get over it..
January 29, 2007 1:22:33 PM

is opengl eventually going to be supported by vista?

if it isnt, then thats a problem for some current games, but they'll move away from opengl in that case and you'll get something new replacing it.

i figure you'll see benefits when more vista specific application start popping up. if im not mistaken, most of the stuff in the benchmarks is for stuff that will work on both system, correct? so its old stuff thats had a patch or something thrown into it to make it work with vista, its not optimized stuff.

i dont think this is KO for or to vista. just give it a few months. probably by summer youll start seeing some improvements.

i guess this means though that i need to get my damn xp home key working. damn you microsoft and your not allowing me to reinstall my OS!!!
January 29, 2007 1:22:36 PM

I agree. when XP came out, people were throwing similar tantrums. my programs dont work, games arent as fast, etc... anyone here still game on 98?
January 29, 2007 1:24:43 PM

Good thing you didn't actually bet your wallet, 'cause it'd end up changing hands.
When XP came out I wasn't even in on it (didn't follow tech stuff at that time). I just came over to my friend's place, saw that he was running a new OS, said smth. like "I want!" He burned me a copy, I went back to my place, installed it, and was happy ever since. Never ever since the first install had I any thoughts about coming back to 98. ))
January 29, 2007 1:25:51 PM

Quote:
The comparison isn´t quite fair, if you ask to RUN Vista ona system, they demand a heavy 3D video card, XP don´t.
Also a heavy proc. (duo) and a lot of mem (2G). is not a waste on a Vista.

I am telling this, do you think that offices will buy systems with a heavy video card? Don´t think so. Ofcourse this articel was written with a gamer in mind. But when you write this articel pure about office app, then you get a different result.


You don't need a "heavy" cpu or cpu to run Vista. With a 128 mb video card and a athlon xp you'll run it fine.
January 29, 2007 1:27:11 PM

What I'd like to know is if Vista is ever going to support OpenGL. I believe the answer is no. Also, support for 3D sound will not be allowed unless Vista drops the DRM, which isn't feasible.

The point of buying Windows is because MS has always kept compatibility as a top priority. Apple went a very different direction, which is why their OS is so much more advanced. Vista tries to do everything at once, and the fact anything works at all is impressive in that light. However, if I have to give up my old programs to move over to Vista, then it's just as easy for me to move over to Mac or Linux. Any of these is a fresh start.
January 29, 2007 1:28:37 PM

word
January 29, 2007 1:36:25 PM

The performance difference is so small in the games that it will be better with better drivers. As for office applications i am using SolidWorks and the sales rep told me that they recommend Windows 2000 not even XP to run the software flawlessly. Since Vista is built around DX10 it's no surprise to me that all the OpenGL heavy software are having poor performance.

Again the game performance gain in XP could even come from the simple fact that the games in Vista using more CPU since EAX is not working in Vista so the CPU has to generate the 3D audio. Also we only have beta audio drivers. Like i already said that a few times give Vista a few months to get better driver support, and you will see the performance will get better as well.

As for the guy above who was glad he didn't run out to get a $500 DX10 video card well all i can say is that you should not run out to get a DX10 video card anyways until the ATI DX10 video card comes out at least so the prices on the current DX10 cards would drop to affordable levels.


Thats just my 2 cents
January 29, 2007 1:36:44 PM

Define "fine". They recommend at LEAST a 128 MB card for vista, with 2 gigs of ram as well. If you ask me thats quite a bit higher than the 256 or whatever that XP recommended. What i think he was trying to say was in order to get the best performance you need to start upgrading to higher end components.
January 29, 2007 1:37:26 PM

I guess I'll just have to wait with Vista hardware for the upgrades, along with Vista games, which probably would be the only reason I would go for the Vista and hardwares. Good benchmarking info. Thanks. :) 
January 29, 2007 1:38:55 PM

Quote:
What I'd like to know is if Vista is ever going to support OpenGL. I believe the answer is no. Also, support for 3D sound will not be allowed unless Vista drops the DRM, which isn't feasible.

The point of buying Windows is because MS has always kept compatibility as a top priority. Apple went a very different direction, which is why their OS is so much more advanced. Vista tries to do everything at once, and the fact anything works at all is impressive in that light. However, if I have to give up my old programs to move over to Vista, then it's just as easy for me to move over to Mac or Linux. Any of these is a fresh start.


OpenGL is suppoted by the GPU manufacturers' drivers.

On Direct Sound, the latest I've heard about it is that OpenAL works on Vista and that at least for Soundblaster users, Creative had created a way to make Direct Sound to work.
January 29, 2007 1:40:49 PM

that's what happens when you stop caring about consumers , and instead of writing efficient and compact code - force them to upgrade their hardware. Yes, there's a bunch of new features in Vista, but they don't justify the amount of harddrive space it requires, compared to XP
January 29, 2007 1:43:23 PM

This article reflects most reviews i have ever read lately.

Lets just take a machine, run some standardized benchmarks on it, then report the result.

How about doing some REAL investigation?

How about reporting how much overhead the new DRM takes on the DX 3D rendering process and if the drivers are still not optimized for the new version of DX (maybe interviewing someone from NVidia?)

How about reporting the CPU overhead of Vista vs XP?
Say report the CPU utilization while idle in both? Or report how much faster the CPU needs to be in Vista to handle the overhead?

How about reporting on RAM usage?
ie. how much ram is free on Vista vs. XP and how much more ram you need on Vista to get the same memory usage and paging overhide?
ie a simple Vista needs 256MB or 512MB more ram to be equivalent to XP.

How about reporting on disk usage?
How much disk activity is Vista doing that XP isn't?
Someone reported that Vista reads every file in a folder when opening Explorer. Is that the anti-virus? My Mcafee does the same thing on XP.

The whole point is that Vista is a new OS with new overhead and new requirements. Someone needs to measure what is needed to make it as fast as XP (ie so much cache, so much more ram, so many MHZ faster CPU, so much faster video card or video driver, and maybe what optional services can be turned off to boost speed).

How about a REAL review someone?
I wish i had the resources and time or i would do it myself.
January 29, 2007 1:43:32 PM

For me other than DX10 there is no other "feature" in Vista that i want/need that XP does not have already.
January 29, 2007 1:46:38 PM

As an engineer using Solidworks and with friends using UGS, Pro/E, etc. I will have to warn all of my engineering friends and colleagues to AVOID Vista at all costs. I will also try to warn the purchasing managers to avoid purchasing Vista systems as it will significantly hinder professional engineering work.

What an abysmal decision by Microsoft, many engineers will surely end up with Vista systems trying to run Open GL specific CAD/Analysis software and they will suffer for it unknowingly. I suspect there will be a strong backlash from the engineering/professional community.



Though OpenGL can be run, it takes a MASSIVE performance hit. Apparently there may be a driver directly from OpenGL that will offer superior performance but it will not be installed with windows so most users will still not know to add this driver to obtain reasonable OpenGL performance.
January 29, 2007 1:50:54 PM

honestly. Software developers should be legally obliged to publish something like a Good Faith Estimate when releasing new products. So instead of being told to "sit back and enjoy while a faster and more reliable version of windows is being installed" you actually find out what you're in for
January 29, 2007 1:53:23 PM

Quote:
Define "fine". They recommend at LEAST a 128 MB card for vista, with 2 gigs of ram as well. If you ask me thats quite a bit higher than the 256 or whatever that XP recommended. What i think he was trying to say was in order to get the best performance you need to start upgrading to higher end components.


The minimum specification for Vista is:

800 MHz processor
512 MB of RAM
20 GB hard drive with 15 GB of free space

If you want the fancy interface you'll need also a DirectX 9 compatible card with 128 MB. Which isn't any hard to get or expensive part.

These are the recommended requirements from MS site:

1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
1 GB of system memory
40 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space

Support for DirectX 9 graphics with:
WDDM Driver
128 MB of graphics memory (minimum)
Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware
32 bits per pixel

It's more than Win XP, but this one also only runs smoothly with 1 GB of RAM.
January 29, 2007 1:53:54 PM

OpenAL does work on my system, and I am waiting on ATI to release some good drivers for openGL. true it is kind of messed up, but the way they wrote the new interaction, it kinda screwed over opengl support. but it can be run.


also, DRM is something that the RIAA, MPAA and all the others came up with, Microsoft is throwing in support for it so you can play back Bluray, HD-DVD, protected content etc. it HAS NO BEARING ON OTHER MEDIA. I repeat, I can play back my entire media library with no problems! sides, bluray and hd-dvd have already been cracked. on the other hand, I wouldnt mind seeing it bite the dust. ;) 

overhead? I will throw up a screenshot, but right now at idle I am using 1-5% cpu and 842MB memory on a E6400 and 2 gigs of ram with all the aero stuff on full and basic background apps. a little more memory than XP but imho it is a tad snappier.

Overall I am not displeased with Vista, and I am hoping that the other vendors get off their bums and actually write some drivers that are worth there two bits. :p 
January 29, 2007 1:55:46 PM

i got my free copy of Vista Business from partaking in the PowerTogether program. I'm still not sure of it I like parts of it, but then theres others i don't.

My System:
AMD Athlon X2 3800+ (939)
X1900 AIW (only using Radeon Beta Drivers)
Audigy 2 ZS (Beta drivers)
2gb of DDR400
160gb of HDD space
my system scored a 4.2

I am having very few issues running apps, i haven't tried many games yet, i can say though Chess Titans (included), doesn't render with my GPU, its odd. I do have oocassional Audio Spikes of static when playing a game, or using Windows Media Player.

I've installed
Office 2003 Pro.
Civilization 4
IceChat (IRC)
AIM Lite
Combined Community Codec Pack
Daemon Tools
Firefox

I will be Installing
Photoshop CS2
Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5
Macromedia Studio 8
can't remember the other apps i use at home.
January 29, 2007 1:57:34 PM

Quote:


These are the recommended requirements from MS site:

1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
1 GB of system memory
40 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space


It's more than Win XP, but this one also only runs smoothly with 1 GB of RAM.


Setting aside 15GB and 1GB RAM is a freaking amount just for the OS. That screams "bloated code" in any language.
January 29, 2007 2:00:50 PM

and you will never need more than 640k ram...
January 29, 2007 2:03:23 PM

Fcuk sony
Fcuk drm
Fcuk vista

When I see stability and performance increasing in all other OSs, demanding even less on the hardware we use, makes me feel like taking a crap at the microsoft's main door.
January 29, 2007 2:06:00 PM

Quote:


These are the recommended requirements from MS site:

1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
1 GB of system memory
40 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space


It's more than Win XP, but this one also only runs smoothly with 1 GB of RAM.


Setting aside 15GB and 1GB RAM is a freaking amount just for the OS. That screams "bloated code" in any language.

Maybe, but then, there are tons of applicatives out there that take a huge amount of space in disk and memory (Battlefield 2 for instance takes about 700 MB on memory with all features set to max, and the Rational developer's plataform install files are 10 GB - installed are about 15 GB), and nobody seems to make much of an issue because of that.

Also, I found this review from Firingsquad that seems to be quite contradictory with THG review:

http://firingsquad.com/hardware/windows_vista_performance_amd_catalyst_7.1/

Quote:
Fortunately it looks like AMD is well on their way to making Vista a seamless upgrade from the driver perspective. While we did note a few titles with sluggish performance (F.E.A.R. and Half-Life 2 Lost Coast being the most notable), we were honestly surprised to register as many performance improvements as we saw, particularly with the Radeon X1950 XTX and surprisingly enough, with the Radeon X1650 XT as well.
January 29, 2007 2:16:42 PM

Quote:
...Ain't gonna install till sp1 ....


Those are the wisest words ever spoken!!! :) 
January 29, 2007 2:47:28 PM

Quote:
Why do Vista articles keep being placed in the Cooler and Heatsinks forum?


lol, I wondered that too.

+1
January 29, 2007 2:55:28 PM

Quote:
I see the lack of OpenGL support as an attempt to kill OpenGL, personally. MS knows that they control the PC gaming market. What will ID do?


Go Mac :lol: 
January 29, 2007 4:19:09 PM

For the people that are complaining about how much space Vista takes up on the hard drive, keep in mind that hard drives have increased in capacity as well. You can get a 250gb hard drive for 70 bucks. What percentage of the drive does vista use, now the computers commonly come with 160gb and greater drives? What percentage did XP use when computers were shipping with 20gb and 40gb hard drives? I really don't think the storage space is an issue.

On a separate note, when are we ever going to start seeing 64bit and multithreaded applications? Come on you lazy programmers, earn your money!
January 29, 2007 4:26:18 PM

Quote:
We already know that Windows Vista offers tremendous improvements in usability, but isn't that good a choice for gaming - at least not yet. How is its application performance compared to Windows XP?


Nice article. I don't mind some of the necessary tweaking used as it was mostly focused on getting consistent benchmarks re: file-caching.

I would have preferred to see something on the impact that Ultimate should provide with its ability to 'really' support multiple core dispatching... maybe in a quick follow-on article?

Joe
January 29, 2007 4:34:36 PM

Quote:
On a separate note, when are we ever going to start seeing 64bit and multithreaded applications? Come on you lazy programmers, earn your money!


Those who earn their money are working for linux and apple :) 
January 29, 2007 4:56:43 PM

Quote:
You don't need a "heavy" cpu or cpu to run Vista. With a 128 mb video card and a athlon xp you'll run it fine.


Here's the stupid joke of the day: if there was before Athlon XP will AMD lauch the new "Athlon Vista" cpu? ...
My jokes are getting worst everyday... :-)
January 29, 2007 5:00:29 PM

Essa foi um bocadinho seca... 8)
January 29, 2007 5:05:40 PM

Quote:
For me other than DX10 there is no other "feature" in Vista that i want/need that XP does not have already.


Well, IMO Vista has some nice things besides DX10:
- the nice looking "Eros" interface (finally my $300 graphic card will also be used beside the games);
- that interesting new tech thing that uses USB pen drives as a system accelerator (what was the name of this thing??);
- the sleep mode, which allows fast boot (not from scratch of course).

Bad things:
- DX10 that won't run on XP on purpose... :-(
- Heavier... i like to have XP as light and fast, with fast boot, the best i can configure and mantain, and now if i go for Vista i will loose all that...
- Bad benchmarking... yes, for people that care about OC and benchmarking it's really annoying despite we all know each new OS will consume more and more resources.
- Price: c'mon, $200 is too much for the common user... i'd say half of it for common user would be pretty much acceptable... :-(

Just my 2 cents.
January 29, 2007 5:07:16 PM

Quote:
Essa foi um bocadinho seca... 8)


I told you... i warned you! :-)
Mas para a quantidade de barbaridades que às vezes se escrevem aqui, é aceitável! ;-)
January 29, 2007 5:09:24 PM

Quote:
"There is a lot of CPU performance available today! We've got really fast dual core processors, and even faster quad cores will hit the market by the middle of the year. Even though you will lose application performance by upgrading to Vista, today's hardware is much faster than yesterday's, and tomorrow's processors will clearly leap even further ahead."


Wow. Make slower software because there is faster cpu's :) 
When benchmarking cpus, one can declare victory by 5%, and it is a good margin for applications. With vista, you already start behind!

People work hours to get their ram timings to their optimums, yet it only makes, what, %0.5 difference in real world applications. People consider %20 overclock a good achievement, when using stock material. However, just upgrade to vista and you start encoding your mpeg's 20% slower :) 

I hope my english was good enough to point out the contradiction here!
January 29, 2007 5:17:44 PM

Quote:


Bad things:

- Price: c'mon, $200 is too much for the common user... i'd say half of it for common user would be pretty much acceptable... :-(


On this one, no problem. I got coupon discounts at thepiratebay.org eStore :wink:
January 29, 2007 5:22:03 PM

Quote:
"There is a lot of CPU performance available today! We've got really fast dual core processors, and even faster quad cores will hit the market by the middle of the year. Even though you will lose application performance by upgrading to Vista, today's hardware is much faster than yesterday's, and tomorrow's processors will clearly leap even further ahead."


Wow. Make slower software because there is faster cpu's :) 
When benchmarking cpus, one can declare victory by 5%, and it is a good margin for applications. With vista, you already start behind!

People work hours to get their ram timings to their optimums, yet it only makes, what, %0.5 difference in real world applications. People consider %20 overclock a good achievement, when using stock material. However, just upgrade to vista and you start encoding your mpeg's 20% slower :) 

I hope my english was good enough to point out the contradiction here!

Yes, you made your point. We should apply this to game developers also.
The main thing that bugs me is the fact that they can't keep up with mac os' hardware/software performance.
January 29, 2007 5:32:43 PM

Quote:


Bad things:

- Price: c'mon, $200 is too much for the common user... i'd say half of it for common user would be pretty much acceptable... :-(


On this one, no problem. I got coupon discounts at thepiratebay.org eStore :wink:

Pois... that is unfortunatelly the common thought for people that don't buy a computer with OS already installed on it and payed.
Windows should have accessible prices for the common user...
January 29, 2007 5:47:14 PM

Honestly I knew the results would be like this before reading the article. Vista requires MUCH more RAM, uses lots of processing power, and that Aero graphics system really combine together to make it much more strain than Windows XP. The same thing happened with Windows 2000 and XP: XP was slower with applications compared to windows 2000, but eventually updates to software favored XP and so XP was smoother. Was this because the applications were designed primarily for XP, or was it due to improvements in XP performance and application performance in general over time? Hard to say--but one thing is certain: running Windows 2000 with 128MB of RAM is certainly much faster than running XP with 128MB of RAM, and with only 512MB of RAM Windows XP likely destroys Windows Vista as far as performance.

My guess is that once we start adapting programs more and more for Vista, it will become more evident of Vista's newer capabilities and functions, particularly with a high-end PC. Also I believe that THG is EXTREMELY misleading with this article because the Enterprise Edition of Vista is not designed for 95% of the apps they tried to run on it. Think of it as you would Windows 2000 Advanced Server vs. Windows 2000 Professional--the Server version lacks much of the OpenGL support and overall 'client' features, so it can focus on running Server type stuff, and 2000 Pro is designed for the stuff like games and such. Well, Vista Home and Vista Home Premium should be tested with games instead. Those versions will have incredibly different results, I'd bet the farm on it.
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