Windows 7 Versus XP: Which Belongs On Your Netbook?

Application Benchmarks

Things aren’t quite as clear-cut once we move on to real-world applications. Even benchmarks that usually react only to CPU speed show some unexpected results. At the risk of sounding like a broken record: drivers are most likely provoking the slowdowns on the newer OS. Possibly, they cause higher CPU load during disk access, resulting in lower performance.

AVG AntiVirus

AVG is one of the few cases in which Windows RC1 actually overtakes Windows XP, and by a clear margin, too. Since AVG is a multi-threaded application, this could indicate that Windows 7 handles threading more efficiently.

PDF Conversion and File Compression

These are two benchmarks that basically only react to CPU speed. They also allow us to check the hypothesis that Windows 7 is better at dealing with multi-threaded apps. Unlike Adobe’s PDF converter, WinRAR (version 3.80) can use multiple threads.

Interestingly, things don’t go that way at all. While the release candidate is faster at creating our PDF file, Windows XP churns through the WinRAR compression much faster. This can either mean that Windows 7 isn’t that much better at threading after all or--yes, again--that the drivers need some more love and optimization.


Although it can split its workload into two threads, iTunes is another example of an app that loves CPU power. Nonetheless, the older version of Windows comes in a few seconds ahead.


While using Photoshop CS3 is a gross misinterpretation of what the netbook platform is meant to do, this test should give us another interesting data point in the discussion about threading and resource management. Of course, it all depends on the filters you use, as some are multi-threaded while others aren’t. At any rate, Windows 7 is able to best XP this time around.

Benjamin Kraft
  • apache_lives
    LMAO just as i thought - its a vista renamed and flashed up a bit more

    i know - BUY MORE RAM - just might help a little? who knew!
  • duckmanx88
    apache_livesLMAO just as i thought - its a vista renamed and flashed up a bit morei know - BUY MORE RAM - just might help a little? who knew!
    did you even read the article? look at the results. read Benjamin's conclusion. its the moder interface of vista with the functionality of xp. and this is only an RC. who knows what'll happen until the October release.
  • l0st_ins0mniac
    vista sucked ill stick with my xp 02 and 05 till i hear a bit more about win 07
  • mitch074
    personally, I've found the solution:

    neither. I'm a running a Tux on me netbook. I pity da foo' running either da decrepit or da unwashed behind da ears OSes on them netbooks.
  • harshavardhanr
    Windows RC1 installs the ULTIMATE edition by default whereas netbooks that come installed with Windows 7 will have the STARTER edition installed. The Starter edition should be able to perform better and last longer on netbooks because it is (supposedly) optimized for them. Also, it will have far fewer services running in the background compared to the Ultimate edition.

    Hence, the conclusion, THE ABOVE COMPARISON IS POINTLESS.
  • bigdaddycool
    Windows 7 is much improved on Vista. Using Vista on a laptop is ok if you have enough cpu power/ram mostly to back it up.

    Windows 7 on the other hand in a real world test, say opening up like 10 internet explorers, photoshop and other things....... windows 7 will be alot snappier then Vista, also it uses less ram and less gpu power.

    Ontop of that, by default Windows 7 selects the most appropriate power setting for the processor you are using.

    Take notice, low-mid range cpu's will be set to Balanced, where as high performance cpu's like quad cores will be set to High Performance by default.

    Microsoft took Vista (good gui product a lil run down running wise) and for a better word tweaked it out...... much like tuning a car.

    The result is impressive I say for notebook and desktops. However, they really do need to fix their minor network issues and IE8 issues.
    Ultimate edition on a netbook and then complain about battery life. Hmmmm. Tommy is really losing it now. Wonder why I still come back here after the old good Tommy was brutally murdered.
  • empstar
    "after the old good Tommy was brutally murdered."
  • Inneandar
    It would be nice to see some more 'practical' benchmarks like boot time, app launch times or media playback preformance imho... The conclusion already more or less indicates that win7 felt smooth, but this ain't something you're gonna prove running synthetics. I installed win7 recently on an old laptop (p IV, 512 Mb ram!) and to my opinion it is smoother than the xp previously on it (older install, admittedly). Together with the added functionality, this certainly tips the balance for me.
  • pbrigido
    Very good article! I was wondering with regards to the battery life difference between Win 7 and XP if all settings were set to a similar mode. The huge difference between the two OSs seems to be much larger than it should, even without the most current drivers for 7.