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XP vs Vista vs sp1 vs 2008 vs 32 vs 64 benchmarked

Discussion in 'Windows OS and Software' started by trebuin, Apr 22, 2008.

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  1. trebuin

    trebuin Notebook Evangelist

    Oct 24, 2006
    After seeing enough benchmarks out there that have been mis-run or talk without proof, I have finally finished benchmarking several versions of Windows to show the differences.
    I conducted each test using an Dell XPS m1330 with the following specs:

    200GB 5400RPM Hard Disk in ATA, not AHCI mode
    2 Gigs RAM
    Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz
    NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS
    174.94 GeForce Drivers

    The test was conducted by wiping the previous partition, installing the operating system, installing the chipset and all drivers, installing the benchmark, and rebooting prior to testing. This allowed for each operating to start on an equal playing field.
    The test itself was conducted running Pasmark's Performance Test as a 32-bit test on 32-bit operating systems and 64-bit on 64-bit operating systems, with the exception of all graphics tests running as 32-bit. This allowed me to test the 64-bit capability of the systems, unlike most tests out there. Tests conducted on PCMark as well as many older 32-bit benchmarks tests the emulating capabilities of the 64-bit systems, rather than the 64-bit system itself. This has led to the misconception of 32-bit systems running faster than 64-bit systems.
    3DMark and similar graphics benchmarks including in game benchmarks test 32-bit graphics as well as 32-bit system performance, thus testing the emulation capabilities again. Unfortunately, Passmark only tests 32-bit graphics as well, but this will be applicable for almost every game out on the market. There have been a few games (to include Half-Life 2) and several 3D applications that have been ported to 64-bit to experience the improvements the 64-bit throughput can give; however, this will not be tested today.
    The test compared Windows XP, XP 64-bit edition, Vista 32-bit and 64-bit Home Premium, Vista with SP1 upgrades, and Server 2008 Enterprise 32 and 64-bit editions. This test gives the most common operating systems and tackles the 64-bit as well as the latest claims of Windows Server 2008. Vista was set up using full Aero as well as Server 2008 being set up using the Desktop experience and full Aero.

    I apologize for the massive test results, but there's a lot of information included:

    Summary of test results:
    All 64-bit OS dominates with the exception of Prime Numbers and SSE.
    Best-Worst: 2008, Vista, XP

    2D Graphics:
    64-bit performed better. XP tested very well with the exception of 2d shapes.
    Best-Worst: XP, 2008, Vista

    3D Graphics (no full screen):
    32-bit performance better except with 2008.
    Best-Worst: XP, Vista, 2008, Vista SP-1

    3D Graphics (full screen/complex):
    64-bit performance better except Vista SP-1
    Best-Worst: Vista, 2008, XP 64, Vista 32, Vista 64, XP 32

    64-bit performance better
    Best-Worst 64: XP, Vista SP1, 2008, Vista
    Best-Worst 32: Vista, Vista SP1, 2008, XP

    32 vs 64-bit had little difference except with Vista's sequential writing. 64-bit performed better there.
    XP and Server 2008 both showed even, but noticeable faster results vs Vista.

    64-bit is improving and shows a better overall average performance. The 3D graphics are dependent upon the drivers released and I have seen consistently improving performance with nVidia's drivers. The 64-bit performance has exceeded in this benchmark which surprised me. The push for Vista has finally exceeded XP's performance, but SP1 has been a step back for gaming in vista. I've also noticed this in 3dMark tests I have run.

    Vista has provided more stability with more compatibility per year of existence vs XP. I could never install XP 64 with 100% drivers on any of my computers until last year. I could install Vista 64 years before that. I noticed XP would constantly become corrupted after certain software was installed. Beta software could actually damage the operating system. I have not once run into this for Vista. Furthermore, Vista has been much more tolerance to installing and uninstalling tons of trial software. XP would constantly become slower without an install monitor to protect it. This prompted me to reinstall XP about once ever four to six months. I only reinstalled vista because I accidentally hit the magic "format me" media direct button included with the M1330.

    Server is not designed to be a desktop operating system, but it is designed to be very stable. Currently, you can use Vista drivers, but as changes continue, this may not be an option. Server did perform noticeably better than Vista or XP having been in development longer than any other Windows operating system. Server 2008 would probably be the better choice over XP 64 due to XP 64's compatibility issues it still suffers from. The only real downside would be the cost of obtaining a server software.

    I expected XP to perform better in graphics but the push has been making some headway with Vista. The only real show of XP's performance is on the disk performance and non of the tests I conducted included a boot timing. PCMark does include a boot speed test, but can be inaccurate due to AHCI drivers and DMA changes during the boot process. The best result you can obtain would be to use a stopwatch and time the boot, but this can even change due to prefetching.

    The boot results differs between computers with different performances. My M1330 Boots Vista faster than XP and about the same as Server 2008. My wife's HP dv2000 boots much faster in XP than in Vista. The drives are the same speed, but she has 1GB of RAM and a slower CPU. I don't have an answer to that swing in performance, but my guess is that it has to do with Vista using more RAM than the pagefile.

    Another important thing to note is that even though Vista without SP1 performs better in these tests, I would not recommend staying that way due to several bugs such as transfers between drives going 10% of the speed of XP. The same logic is applicable with running games on windows 98 to gain even more performance.

    For those who think the plunge into 64-bit will leave you missing drivers and having compatibility issues, don't worry. Most computer vendors do not provide 64-bit drivers or are very slow to update them, but with a little googling you will find around 95% of Vista 64's drivers, if not all. The drivers for XP 64 tend to be more difficult to find. The 64-bit side does not support 16-bit software (it won't function at all) and drivers have to be digitally signed. Be aware that while most software will work, there may be issues with custom software schools use for VPN or similar.

    Work pending, I may provide additional benchmarks using Vista Business and Windows SP3 and include 3dMark benchmarks. I could not perform that this time due to the M1330 downclocking due to heat in 3DMark. It takes a bit more time to set a profile to prevent that.

    Until next time, have a great day.

  2. Les

    Les Not associated with NotebookReview in any way

    Jul 7, 2007
    Wow Treb.... Thats alot of work! It is nice to see you back again.

    With respect to the testing, I didn't find many surprises as I have been an avid supporter of 64 bit. Not being a gamer, I also believed the word of pretty much every gamer out there that the graphics were better in XP. I think you may see some XP gamers running to make sure they get 64bit installed with the outstanding performance of XP64 in graphics.

    There is alot of work here; something that should be considered for front page news. After all, I believe its probably the most comprehensive report as such I have seen anywhere.

    Again... Kudos and a job well done! Now go and protect our skies big guy.
  3. swoley2k

    swoley2k Notebook Deity

    Jun 22, 2007
    Thats extremely interesting....great job...I mean it...
  4. Sac9700

    Sac9700 Notebook Consultant

    Mar 15, 2008
    Wow! Thanks for the thorough comparison. Much appreciated.
  5. Thund3rball

    Thund3rball I dont know, I'm guessing

    Feb 7, 2008
    Wow that is pretty darn thorough. You did a lot of work. I am sad that SP1 actually hurt performance. But I guess that can come hand in hand with stability? I doubt I;ll take the 64bit plunge yet. The performance looks good but I just don't know enough about support for all the software I need. And I don't need to buy another OS.

    Great job thanks! Repped :)
  6. SonDa5

    SonDa5 Notebook Deity

    Feb 19, 2008
    Thanks for the numbers.

    I feel safe using XP32. :D

    However I know that 64bit is the future and hopefully sooner or later all Windows OS will go that way.

    I'd like to see how how XP 32 with SP3 compares.
  7. kozzney

    kozzney Notebook Evangelist

    Jun 21, 2007
    Wow good work here
  8. Shyster1

    Shyster1 Lazy as the Day is Long

    Jul 7, 2006
    That's a very impressive body of work - congratulations! One point I would add, however, is that the short-term operating behaviour of _Vista may not be a good measure of it's long-term behaviour, particularly with respect to I/O and especially disk I/O. The I/O manager in _Vista is an adaptive manager that over time will adjust the way in which it schedules and manages behind-the-scenes tasks like disk I/O in order to optimize the visual appearance of performance - sometimes at the expense of actual through-put performance.

    Basically, because of the adaptive feature, the initial performance times you get with _Vista when you first install it will be different from the performance times you eventually get when the I/O manager learns enough about the user's habits to modify the I/O scheduling. There's a whitepaper on this somewheres on the MS website, but I don't have the link (or the title) handy right now.
  9. Xirurg

    Xirurg ORLY???

    Feb 19, 2008
    Great job,thx!!!!
  10. unnamed01

    unnamed01 Notebook Deity

    Nov 18, 2006
    Errr...what happen to SP3 for XP?
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