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Test System And Benchmarks

Windows 8 Versus Windows 7: Game Performance, Benchmarked
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Testing for this article was performed on a high-end Sandy Bridge-E-based system at 4.2 GHz. We chose the Radeon HD 7850 1 GB and GeForce GTX 660 to represent performance from AMD and Nvidia.

Because Windows 7 and 8 employ the same graphics drivers, that variable remains constant between both operating systems. The only thing changing is the OS itself.

As an aside, we're testing AMD's new Catalyst 12.11 build for this comparison. The company claims significant performance increases from this version, so we're curious to see if it brings the Radeon HD 7850 1 GB any closer to Nvidia's GeForce GTX 660.

Test System
CPU
Intel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E), 3.3 GHz, Six Cores, LGA 2011, 15 MB Shared L3 Cache, Hyper-Threading enabled, Overclocked to 4.2 GHz
Motherboard
ASRock X79 Extreme9 (LGA 2011) Chipset: Intel X79 Express
Networking
On-Board Gigabit LAN controller
Memory
Corsair Vengeance LP PC3-16000, 4 x 4 GB, 1600 MT/s, CL 8-8-8-24-2T
Graphics
Reference GeForce GTX 660
980/1033 MHz Base/Boost GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1502 MHz

XFX R7850 Core Edition, Radeon HD 7850 1GB
860 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1200 MHz

All overclocked cards reduced to reference specification for testing
Hard Drive
Samsung 470-Series 256 GB (SSD)
Power
ePower EP-1200E10-T2 1200 W
ATX12V, EPS12V
Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 x64, Service Pack 1
Microsoft Windows 8 RTM x64
DirectX
DirectX 11
Graphics Drivers
Nvidia: 306.97 WHQL
AMD: Catalyst 12.11 Beta
Benchmarks
Battlefield 3
Campaign Mode, "Operation Swordfish" 60-second Fraps
Crysis 2
DirectX 11, 60 second Fraps
Batman: Arkham City
Version 1.0.0.0, Built-in DirectX 11 Benchmark
Metro 2033Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene
DiRT Showdown
Version 1.0.0.0, DirectX 11 Benchmark
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Update 1.4.27, THG Benchmarks save, 25-second Fraps
Max Payne 3
Version 1.0.0.4.7, Chapter 3, save 16, 65-second Fraps
World Of Warcraft
DX 11, Elwynn Forest area, 30-second Fraps
Sleeping Dogs
High Detail Preset, Built-in Benchmark
Borderlands 2
Highest Settings, 8x AF, PhysX low, Fraps
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Top Comments
  • 48 Hide
    saintjimmy , October 27, 2012 4:49 AM
    I still plan on sticking with Windows 7 for a few more years...
  • 41 Hide
    mubin , October 27, 2012 4:42 AM
    Only the fast boot time is noticeable in win 8. But still win7 is great and i love it as its 1years+ old running in my system, no crash, still fast.
  • 28 Hide
    ojas , October 27, 2012 4:53 AM
    Hmmm...wasn't expecting anything else.

    No compelling reason to upgrade for me yet.

    Windows NT 7 is where it's at. B-)



    EDIT: I KNOW Vista, 7 & 8 are NT 6.
Other Comments
  • 41 Hide
    mubin , October 27, 2012 4:42 AM
    Only the fast boot time is noticeable in win 8. But still win7 is great and i love it as its 1years+ old running in my system, no crash, still fast.
  • 21 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , October 27, 2012 4:48 AM
    It's good to see that there aren't any major performance deficits when moving to Windows 8, like some past Microsoft OS's. For the most part everything looks to be within the margin of error.
  • 48 Hide
    saintjimmy , October 27, 2012 4:49 AM
    I still plan on sticking with Windows 7 for a few more years...
  • 25 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , October 27, 2012 4:49 AM
    steve360Another reason NOT to buy Windows 8...I mean Windows Vista 2.

    And what reason is that? It seems pretty positive from a performance standpoint, which was the purpose of this article.
  • 28 Hide
    ojas , October 27, 2012 4:53 AM
    Hmmm...wasn't expecting anything else.

    No compelling reason to upgrade for me yet.

    Windows NT 7 is where it's at. B-)



    EDIT: I KNOW Vista, 7 & 8 are NT 6.
  • 13 Hide
    lockhrt999 , October 27, 2012 5:05 AM
    My current win7 installation is more than 2 years old. I never used windows installations that are older than 4-5 months. Yes, win7 ages too but it's too slow and well managed compared to old windows OS.

    And yes win8 has better RAM and processor management as touted, but then you lose more time navigating through blocky interface. You complete your work a 3 seconds more with win8 but you had taken 5 more seconds to start that program from blocky interface.
  • 20 Hide
    mafisometal , October 27, 2012 5:15 AM
    lockhrt999My current win7 installation is more than 2 years old. I never used windows installations that are older than 4-5 months. Yes, win7 ages too but it's too slow and well managed compared to old windows OS.And yes win8 has better RAM and processor management as touted, but then you lose more time navigating through blocky interface. You complete your work a 3 seconds more with win8 but you had taken 5 more seconds to start that program from blocky interface.


    You do know that you can use a program called Star8 by StarDock to get your desktop and toolbar back...it works quite well, no problems over here.
  • 20 Hide
    A Bad Day , October 27, 2012 5:18 AM
    mafisometalYou do know that you can use a program called Star8 by StarDock to get your desktop and toolbar back...it works quite well, no problems over here.


    The problem is that Star8 and other 3rd-party tools haven't been able to fully replicate Win7's Start function.
  • 19 Hide
    Anonymous , October 27, 2012 5:30 AM
    looks like M$ is going the route of Apple and making a idiot proof OS, which is, well, good for IDIOTS :)  anyone who actually wants to more than check email and play a game needs to stick to windows 7
  • 19 Hide
    agnickolov , October 27, 2012 5:42 AM
    Seems like DirectX 11 only testing. What about DirectX 9?
  • 6 Hide
    killerclick , October 27, 2012 5:42 AM
    Another myth busted. Even the faster boot times are about making tradeoffs.
  • 10 Hide
    agnickolov , October 27, 2012 5:46 AM
    ojasHmmm...wasn't expecting anything else.No compelling reason to upgrade for me yet.Windows NT 7 is where it's at. B-)

    Well, Windows 7 is actually NT 6.1, while Windows 8 is NT 6.2...
  • 26 Hide
    mykebrian , October 27, 2012 6:13 AM
    what i really don't like on windows 8 is just the start menu. i hope they'll introduce an option if you want to have the metro style or the windows 7 style.
  • 8 Hide
    wildkitten , October 27, 2012 6:18 AM
    The main concern over Win8 is the question that is still unresolved...what is MS's approach to their Windows Store going to be. If they intend to try to close off outside development, well, it will kill Windows. What they need to do is come out and answer the question one way or another or else Win8 may very flop to begin with.

    I'm still confused about the interface and UI. Some articles say MS is trying to make it hard to have a classic desktop yet I've seen articles with screenshots showing a very Windows 7 like desktop.
  • 11 Hide
    tomfreak , October 27, 2012 6:18 AM
    lol I am pretty sure I get more performance upgrading RAM than paying upgrade cost to upgrade from win7.
  • -5 Hide
    ojas , October 27, 2012 6:32 AM
    agnickolovWell, Windows 7 is actually NT 6.1, while Windows 8 is NT 6.2...



    I meant Win NT 7 when it releases.
  • 6 Hide
    Bloob , October 27, 2012 6:43 AM
    wildkittenThe main concern over Win8 is the question that is still unresolved...what is MS's approach to their Windows Store going to be. If they intend to try to close off outside development, well, it will kill Windows. What they need to do is come out and answer the question one way or another or else Win8 may very flop to begin with.I'm still confused about the interface and UI. Some articles say MS is trying to make it hard to have a classic desktop yet I've seen articles with screenshots showing a very Windows 7 like desktop.


    Win 8 is pretty much identical to Win 7, Start menu has just been replaced with Start screen. Win RT does not allow applications to be installed to desktop ( people would just get confused why their x86 applications don't work on ARM ). Every store that currently works on Win 7, will work on Win 8.
  • 22 Hide
    Todd Sauve , October 27, 2012 6:47 AM
    I've been using the Win 8 Release Candidate for several months now on a spare PC I built out of used parts, with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+ CPU and 2 gigs of RAM. It works fine, though I hate the new interface and use the free Start8 utility to do away with it.

    After all is said and done I find that the only real advantage it has over Win 7 is that it starts and closes faster.

    To which I must conclude "So what?"

    If that is all there is to Win 8 I will gladly keep Win 7 and save myself a lot of aggravation and money.
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