- Jul 15, 2005
I posted a thread a few days ago comparing 64-bit XP and 64-bit Vista as a response to a handful of people on this forum who were claiming that 64-bit XP was amazing and/or that Vista was bloated and slow. Now that the Windows 7 Beta is out I thought everyone might want to see it added to the mix.
Test Rig Specs:
Athlon 64 X2 4200 (2.2 GHz)
2GB DDR 400
ASUS A8N-VM CSM (nVidia nForce 4 Chipset)
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS
250 GB HDD (Seagate ST325062)
I did a clean install of 64-Bit XP, installed drivers (I got the latest nForce/Catalyst/Audigy drivers from their respective websites), installed 64-Bit XP SP2, and installed all availible updates from Windows update. Then I ran the benchmarks. After that I wiped the drive, installed 64-Bit Vista Ultimate, installed drivers, SP1, updates, and did the benchmarks in the same order. I repeated the process again with the 64-bit Windows 7 Beta.
There was no tweaking, vlite'ing, etc. I left 7/Vista's UAC and all services like indexing/superfetch/etc on and in their default configuration.
Microsoft seems to have revamped the Windows Experience Index. The possible scores now go beyond 5.9 and it rated my test system quite a bit lower than Vista did.
Lets get started then :
(In all the screenshots XP is on the left, Vista is centered, and 7 is on the right)
Install time (I paused the timer while entering info)
Compressing 150 MB of Photos with 64-bit 7zip (I uninstalled WinRAR before installing 7zip):
XP: 0:50.2 seconds
Vista: 0:51.8 seconds
7: 0:53.8 seconds
The most important figure is the first one (AES), and its dead even. Re-running the test multiple times shows that all the other benches appear to be a tie as well, with each OS alternating the lead by <1 MB/sec.
Create a 10 GB Encrypted Container in TrueCrypt:
Copy 10 GB Encrypted Container from Desktop to C:\
Transfer a 2GB file from my fileserver to the desktop:
Everyone's favorite game simply refused to run on the Windows 7 Beta.
I'm not sure why Vista and 7 did so much better on PCMark, but running the test multiple times gave similar results.
World in Conflict Built-In Benchmark:
The game defaulted to slightly higher settings on Vista and Windows 7. I went through and changed all the settings to the levels it used on XP. (I took screenshots of the menus to make sure I didn't forget anything).
Crysis CPU Timedemo (64-Bit):
(Even with admin privileges and Vista compatibility mode the Crysis benchmarks refused to save the results under Windows 7, so I did my best to record the final average FPS of the last three runs)
Average FPS from last 3 runs:
Crysis GPU Timedemo (64-Bit):
Average FPS from last 3 runs:
Both Crysis timedemos were done with all settings on medium.
In summary, Vista and 7 outperformed or were even with XP in every test except 3DMark06, transferring files on the local drive, and (just barely) at compressing files with 64-bit 7zip.
Other than the greater disk space requirements 64-Bit Windows Vista and 7 are clearly better than 64-Bit XP. Driver support is very good for the 7 beta, as most Vista drivers work fine on 7. Overall the general impression that Windows 7 is Vista with some performance enhancements and polish is correct.
Vista did outperform 7 on the World in Conflict benchmark (7 actually had the lowest minimum FPS of the three), but I think that's probably a driver maturity/optimization issue as 7 had the best average FPS in both Crysis timedemos and was nearly 4 FPS faster on the CPU timedemo.
The new media center, taskbar, and general look and feel to 7 are great and the OS seems to be coming along nicely. From what I've heard this will be the only Windows 7 Beta before Microsoft starts sending out release candidates. If there weren't compatibility issues with a handful of programs I use (Alcohol 120% in particular) I would switch to the Windows 7 Beta on my main desktop.
It may be too late to save Vista's "reputation," but it's hard to say when 7 will actually be released. If you know anyone who is building or buying a new computer and has to buy an OS you should steer them towards Vista or tell them to wait for 7 if they can.