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Windows 8 Versus Windows 7: Game Performance, Benchmarked

Test System And Benchmarks

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
CPUIntel 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
MotherboardASRock X79 Extreme9 (LGA 2011) Chipset: Intel X79 Express
NetworkingOn-Board Gigabit LAN controller
MemoryCorsair Vengeance LP PC3-16000, 4 x 4 GB, 1600 MT/s, CL 8-8-8-24-2T
GraphicsReference GeForce GTX 660980/1033 MHz Base/Boost GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1502 MHzXFX R7850 Core Edition, Radeon HD 7850 1GB860 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1200 MHzAll overclocked cards reduced to reference specification for testing
Hard DriveSamsung 470-Series 256 GB (SSD)
PowerePower EP-1200E10-T2 1200 W ATX12V, EPS12V
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 x64, Service Pack 1Microsoft Windows 8 RTM x64
DirectXDirectX 11
Graphics DriversNvidia: 306.97 WHQLAMD: Catalyst 12.11 Beta
Benchmarks
Battlefield 3Campaign Mode, "Operation Swordfish" 60-second Fraps
Crysis 2DirectX 11, 60 second Fraps
Batman: Arkham CityVersion 1.0.0.0, Built-in DirectX 11 Benchmark
Metro 2033Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene
DiRT ShowdownVersion 1.0.0.0, DirectX 11 Benchmark
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimUpdate 1.4.27, THG Benchmarks save, 25-second Fraps
Max Payne 3Version 1.0.0.4.7, Chapter 3, save 16, 65-second Fraps
World Of WarcraftDX 11, Elwynn Forest area, 30-second Fraps
Sleeping DogsHigh Detail Preset, Built-in Benchmark
Borderlands 2Highest Settings, 8x AF, PhysX low, Fraps
  • mubin
    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.
    Reply
  • steve360
    Another reason NOT to buy Windows 8...I mean Windows Vista 2.
    Reply
  • dragonsqrrl
    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.
    Reply
  • saintjimmy
    I still plan on sticking with Windows 7 for a few more years...
    Reply
  • dragonsqrrl
    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.
    Reply
  • ojas
    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.
    Reply
  • lockhrt999
    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.
    Reply
  • mafisometal
    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.
    Reply
  • A Bad Day
    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.
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply