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Researchers Sour on Vista Service Pack 1 Performance 339

Posted by Zonk
from the bit-of-a-bore dept.
Stony Stevenson passed us a link indicating that a group of researchers has described Microsoft's upcoming Windows Vista Service Pack 1 as basically a performance dud. Researchers from the Devil Mountain Software group is claiming that a series of in-house benchmark tests showed that users hoping to receive a speed boost from the update will be disappointed. "Devil Mountain ran its DMS Clarity Studio framework on a laptop Barth described as a "barn burner" -- dual-core processor, dedicated graphics, and either 1GB or 2GB of memory -- to compare performance of the SP1 release candidate that Microsoft released last week with the RTM version that hit general distribution last January. The Vista RTM was not updated with any of the bug fixes, patches or performance packs that Microsoft has pushed through Windows Update since the operating system's debut. 'One gigabyte, 2GB [of memory], it didn't make a difference,' said [CTO Craig] Barth. 'SP1 was never more than 1% or 2% faster.'"
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Researchers Sour on Vista Service Pack 1 Performance

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    nobody gives a shit about vista and neither should you.
  • Straw Man? (Score:5, Funny)

    by lseltzer (311306) on Friday November 23, 2007 @12:45PM (#21455027)
    Did Microsoft say it would improve overall system performance?
    • Re:Straw Man? (Score:5, Informative)

      by faloi (738831) on Friday November 23, 2007 @12:54PM (#21455095)
      Yes, they did. In the SP 1 white paper [microsoft.com]. They talk a lot about some of the specific improvements, and are sort of vague on exactly why there'd be an overall performance increase. They certainly give the impression it would improve overall performance.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by lseltzer (311306)
        Here are the specific claims about performance from the white paper:
        • Improves the speed of copying and extracting files.
        • Improves the time to become active from Hibernate and Resume modes.
        • Improves the performance of domain-joined PCs when operating off the domain; in the current release version of Windows Vista, users would experience long delays when opening the File dialog box.
        • Improves performance of Windows® Internet Explorer® 7 in Windows Vista, reducing CPU utilization and speeding JavaScript
    • Re:Straw Man? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Friday November 23, 2007 @03:54PM (#21456751)
      Here is what Microsoft specifically claimed about SP1 performance (thanks to faoli for the link):

      Performance
      The following list describes some of the performance improvements that Windows Vista SP1 will include
            Improves the speed of copying and extracting files.
            Improves the time to become active from Hibernate and Resume modes.
            Improves the performance of domain-joined PCs when operating off the domain; in the current release
              version of Windows Vista, users would experience long delays when opening the File dialog box.
            Improves performance of Windows® Internet Explorer® 7 in Windows Vista, reducing CPU utilization and
              speeding JavaScript parsing.
            Improves battery life by reducing CPU utilization by not redrawing the screen as frequently, on certain
              computers.
            Improves the logon experience by removing the occasional 10-second delay between pressing CTL-
              ALT-DEL and the password prompt displaying.
            Addresses an issue in the current version of Windows Vista that makes browsing network file shares
              consume significant bandwidth and not perform as fast as expected.

      Hmm, file shares are slow? Perhaps Microsoft should switch to Samba, which is fast.
      • Samba is fast? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770)
        Not in my experience. On the Macs at work that connect to the NetApp CIFS shares are quite slow using the built in Samba client. Buying ADmitMac speeds them up a bunch and is in fact what NetApp themselves recommend. Likewise we have a Samba server and it is notably slower with Windows XP clients than a Windows 2003 server with similar hardware and lesser IO. I certainly don't find Samba to be speedy and indeed we use NFS between our UNIX systems and the NetApp for this reason.
  • Are we shocked? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by faloi (738831) on Friday November 23, 2007 @12:46PM (#21455039)
    Microsoft has all but given up on Vista. A lot of corporate customers are going to sit it out and wait for the next iteration of the OS to come out. People who have it generally aren't that impressed, at least among the family and friends I've spoken to about it (not a large sample set, I'll grant you). Vista is the new ME, the sooner it dies and MS dumps it the better off we'll all be.
    • by king-manic (409855) on Friday November 23, 2007 @01:08PM (#21455229)

      Vista is the new ME, the sooner it dies and MS dumps it the better off we'll all be.
      Vista would have to re-animate the dead into blood thirsty zombies before it could rival the utter horror of ME.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by cronot (530669)

        Vista would have to re-animate the dead into blood thirsty zombies before it could rival the utter horror of ME.

        Gosh, I sure wouldn't like to meet you.

      • by WombatDeath (681651) on Friday November 23, 2007 @01:53PM (#21455593)
        Won't happen - they wouldn't give users the ability to reanimate the dead without the permission of the copyright holder (presumably FSM or Odin or someone). I suppose they could get official backing by releasing something (Holy Windows?) which makes you pray for half an hour before booting but, now that I think about it, that's pretty much the current position... ...oh, shit.

        Can someone lend me a cricket bat, please?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lachlan Hunt (1021263)
        Although it certainly had it's problems, at least Win ME was usable. Vista gets in the way of absolutely everything! I have never been so irritated with an OS in under 5 minutes of use, until vista came along.

        Using a friend's laptop running vista, logged in as an administrator, trying to copy harmless files from a public folder on my mac to the my documents folder on vista was forbidden. I had to copy to my Win XP machine first and then from there to Vista. Once tried to use ipconfig /release and /renew
  • Optimization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ktappe (747125) on Friday November 23, 2007 @12:47PM (#21455049)
    50 million lines of code and they couldn't find anything that needed optimization?? Or were their priorities elsewhere? These days, optimization always seems to be relegated to "low man on the totem pole."
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2007 @12:51PM (#21455071)
      Well I did go with a compsci degree but I'm sure I could find something. Here's my proposed patch:

      +/*

      40 million lines of DRM, WGA, Windows Media Ultra Control Restricted Mode Crap

      +*/

      Done!
    • Re:Optimization (Score:4, Insightful)

      by arth1 (260657) on Friday November 23, 2007 @12:54PM (#21455093) Homepage Journal
      Most worthwhile optimisation is done by rethinking the design, and to a lesser degree hand-coding parts where you know the realities better than the compiler can guess, and just how to exploit that.
      Neither is something Microsoft is likely to do -- the first costs too much (including accepting incompatibilities and devising workarounds for them), and the second requires ace programmers, not run-off-the-mill visual-anything. Changing a few compiler flags here and there, or re-compiling with a new compiler version is cheap, but usually won't have much noticeable effect. However, it's what you're most likely to see from huge corporations.
      • Re:Optimization (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday November 23, 2007 @02:06PM (#21455717) Journal

        Most worthwhile optimisation is done by rethinking the design, and to a lesser degree hand-coding parts where you know the realities better than the compiler can guess, and just how to exploit that.
        Micro-optimisations in the right place (not even at the assembly level, just tweaking a few algorithms or data structures, or even the code layout) can give huge benefits. I got a 25% speed gain from some code I was working on a few years ago just be moving a couple of functions into a header and marking them as static inline so the compiler could inline them. Memoisation of frequently-called functions can also give some benefits.

        The hard part is usually not the optimisation, it's working out where the optimisations need to go. This typically involves wading through huge amounts of data from profiling runs.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by billcopc (196330)
          As a guy who used to write entire applications and games in pure assembler (a loooong time ago), optimization is something I do on-the-fly, but to some degree of restraint. If something can be dramatically improved with one or two extra lines of code, I do it, otherwise I leave it as-is.

          Keep in mind that only one other person ever sees my code, and he tends to figure out my hacks with relative ease (or asks me if he's stumped). If I were at Microsoft, such code-level optimization would be murder as I'd be
      • by azrider (918631)

        Most worthwhile optimisation is done by rethinking the design, and to a lesser degree hand-coding parts where you know the realities better than the compiler can guess, and just how to exploit that.
        Laugh but try 100x3 long 2d array. First do it using standard i/j loop. Then handle the loop yourself [ie (when i == 100) i = 100). Check the timing (>30% on my tests).
      • I'm pretty sure Microsoft made their own compiler for Visual Studio (IIRC, it's named msbuild).
    • Re:Optimization (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sumdumass (711423) on Friday November 23, 2007 @01:37PM (#21455467) Journal
      Well, seeing how this machine was so "hot" in the hardware section, it could be that the bottleneck wasn't in the OS at all. IT could be that it has cycles to spare but is waiting on the memory bus to see any increase in performance. They could have been maxing out everything that would have restricted the OS from performing and never saw the "issue" in the first place.

      Of course there was/is an issue, Vista just seems slow. In the former example, they wouldn't have seen the issue because something else would be slowing it down. But on a lesser machine, I'm wondering if the optimizations would have a more dramatic effect. I mean a machine where the memory or processor is limited and the actual execution of the code was keeping it slow. Will it allow the code to be executed faster on a processor that is maxed out all the time?
    • by PFAK (524350) *
      DRM vs. Optimization

      Guess what will win? DRM.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by daviddennis (10926)
      Not always.

      Mac OS X Leopard is faster than Tiger, which was faster than Jaguar.

      Apple's a bloody impressive company nowadays :-).

      D

  • To paraphrase a certain 90's scifi series "SP1 was Vista's last, best hope for sales. It failed. But in the year of OS X Leopard it became something greater, Apple's last, best hope for victory".

    Of course, Microsoft want to force everyone have to buy Vista after June 2008, so Moore's law has got to get a shift on to make sure that PCs are going to be fast enough to actually make it usable. Or perhaps it will encourage Microsoft to extend XP's availability. Or perhaps's it's time to stock up XP licenses if

  • by Hymer (856453) on Friday November 23, 2007 @12:50PM (#21455065)
    "This is a BETA, it is not finished yet. Everything will be alright when it is released."
  • by djupedal (584558) on Friday November 23, 2007 @12:54PM (#21455099)
    Last one out of Redmond, please turn off that god damn useless big ass table [youtube.com]...
  • by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Friday November 23, 2007 @12:54PM (#21455105) Homepage

    Without wishing to troll, when has a Window service pack ever improved the speed of a Windows OS?

    In fact, and I'm sure someone on Slashdot has raw data on this (that perhaps even shows I'm wrong), Apple are the only company who has ever achieved this on a regular basis.

    I've found in my rather short development career is something scarily similar to the first law of thermodynamics: "Bad code once created can never be destroyed." In most commercial situations, the risk of breaking a routine far outweighs the benefit the change brings.

    We've built an entire area of study, refactoring, on trying to sell the importance of keeping code clean. I'm still not 100% convinced that the case for refactoring has been made. If you spend three months refactoring, is the simpler overall structure really going to speed up development sufficiently to justify the capital outlay? In all but the very worst code-bases, the answer is unclear.Bear in mind, refactoring my cause you to notice bugs that you can't fix because it would break an interface. Now your code has to be badly structured to support this bad business logic. This can be enough to render the effort useless.

    This is why service packs rarely improve functionality or performance. Windows XP SP2 is a notable exception. The risk is simply too great.

    Simon

    • by xant (99438)
      I agree with most everything else you say, but come on:

      Bear in mind, refactoring my cause you to notice bugs that you can't fix because it would break an interface. Now your code has to be badly structured to support this bad business logic. This can be enough to render the effort useless.

      When is noticing bugs ever a bad thing? It's true you might have to continue to support a bad interface for a while, but a correct refactoring can allow you to document and isolate the bad interface, deprecate it, and eve

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by drsmithy (35869)

      In fact, and I'm sure someone on Slashdot has raw data on this (that perhaps even shows I'm wrong), Apple are the only company who has ever achieved this on a regular basis.

      And one should not lose sight of the fact the only reason Apple *could* do this was because OS X was so godawful slow to start with (and for years afterwards).

      When OS X was released, it was a dog on even the fastest Macs available (and remained "slow" until the G5s). Vista runs happily on machines that were merely high-end (not even

    • by toddestan (632714)
      In fact, and I'm sure someone on Slashdot has raw data on this (that perhaps even shows I'm wrong), Apple are the only company who has ever achieved this on a regular basis.

      I actually thought Microsoft was going to copy Apple on this. In other words, release a slow, bloated, unusable piece of crap OS like Apple did with 10.0, then wow everyone as they optomize the heck out of it. Which is why I'm a bit surprised that Vista SP1 supposedly doesn't have much of an improvement.
  • by pwnies (1034518)
    ...that a large amount of their userbase doesn't even know that there are alternatives. It's a shame really. Because I guarantee if Microsoft had less of a market share they would focus more on these details like optimization and straight up good code because if they didn't they wouldn't survive. Now it just seems they do only the amount of work required to keep the train rolling and their riders complacent. I'm in a workplace where 99% of the computers run Windows XP, and the sad thing is that it's a techn
  • by Mascot (120795) on Friday November 23, 2007 @01:03PM (#21455175)
    Vista has one great selling point as far as I'm concerned: DX10. It's inevitable that games will eventually require it, though so far it's not exactly a big deal.

    So I notice Crysis has a "Very High" setting that's disabled for me in XP. Ok, I think, the first half or so of the game runs ok with High settings, so maybe it might just barely be playable on Very High. Just to be able to see what it looks like.

    I boot into Vista and install the game there. Lo and behold, it runs at almost exactly half the FPS on High compared to in XP. Had to drop it to Medium to be even remotely playable. Needless to say, Very High is what I'd need to be to enjoy it with everything at max.

    Is the culprit crap drivers for my hardware, general performance drain by Vista, or DRM using everything it can to make sure I'm actually allowed to use the computer today? I don't know, but I do know Vista has made me seriously try a Linux on a desktop for the first time (only used it for servers until now). If only more games supported it, or ran under Wine, I'd be happy as can be.
    • So I notice Crysis has a "Very High" setting that's disabled for me in XP.

      Well, unless you activate it [extremetech.com].

      Planned obsolescence crap like that makes me glad I'm not on the Windows treadmill.

    • by Mattsson (105422)

      DX10. It's inevitable that games will eventually require it,

      It will probably be quite some time before DX10 is required to play a non-microsoft game.
      There are only four reasons for any company to ever limit a game to only DX10.
      1 Vista promotion.
      2 Being DX9-compatible doesn't add any significant market. (Kind of like being DX6 compatible today)
      3 The game require a lowest level of graphics that can not be done in DX9, or would require lots of man-hours to implement for DX9.
      4 Windows is no longer DX9-compatible.

      The only company that would use reason 1 is, of course, M

    • Re:DX10 (Score:3, Insightful)

      "DX10. It's inevitable that games will eventually require it"

      Why? To get an extra 10 fps? The normal hardware upgrade cycle will fix that, and let game manufacturers continue to ship with DX9. Heck, there are still games being sold that run fine under Win9x.

      As Nintendo showed, its not necessary to require the latest and greatest hardware to have the best product.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AbRASiON (589899) *
      I can give you 2 pieces of information.

      Firstly, I can confirm for you, yep Vista sucked for me too, same driver versions, fully patched machines and the Vista install has several bullshit disk thrash services disabled, it still ran at 34 FPS avg in the benchmark at X settings.

      XP ran at 45 FPS avg, same system, same benchmark and settings.

      Also the "DX10" features in Vista ARE available in XP with some ini hacking, do a google on it, I think DIGG covered it.
      Vista, more like shitsta.
  • by Toreo asesino (951231) on Friday November 23, 2007 @01:06PM (#21455209) Journal
    Do some research and you'll find you don't need a service pack to tune Vista:

    Turn off: Volume Shadow Copy (files won't be versioned automatically any more), indexing service (rapid searching won't work any more), and SuperFetch (apps wont be pre-loaded and so will start slower, but you'll have more "free memory" on average - a debatable benefit anyway).

    You'll notice XP levels of disc activity (barely any) and lot's more free memory. That's because Vista's not doing anything. Personally, I like to be able to search instantly, have apps load instantly, and have my critical files backed up transparently; so I don't mind the "bloat".

    Anyway, if you actually know how Windows works, you'll know what you don't want running and what you do. Turn off the stuff you don't want, but most people are fine with the defaults even if it means using more resources.
    • by j.sanchez1 (1030764) on Friday November 23, 2007 @01:34PM (#21455441)
      Do some research and you'll find you don't need a service pack to tune Vista:

      I agree...Black Viper [blackviper.com] to the rescue. I printed out his list of services for XP [blackviper.com] and still use it to this day when tweaking systems for friends/family.
    • by Drencrom (689725) <jorge.merlino@gmaiBLUEl.com minus berry> on Friday November 23, 2007 @01:52PM (#21455589) Journal
      It seems you have to do a lot of research to get vista working decently. I guess this proves that it is not yet ready for the desktop :)
      • Not at all. My point was you can make Vista use less memory, cpu and disk i/o but the gains are small/none-at-all/negative (depending on your point of view), hence they're enabled by default.
      • Configuration necessary for customising Vista!

        Story at 11...
    • by compro01 (777531)
      one thing to keep in mind is that turning off the "Volume Shadow Copy" service causes some backup software to have fits.
    • by stewbacca (1033764) on Friday November 23, 2007 @02:47PM (#21456061)

      Anyway, if you actually know how Windows works, you'll know what you don't want running and what you do.
      I think that sentence basically makes the point for all Mac users on the planet.
    • by MightyYar (622222)

      Turn off the stuff you don't want, but most people are fine with the defaults even if it means using more resources.
      Except that, according to the site that you linked, you have to turn all of the services back on each time you run Windows Update! That is way too tedious.
  • by trifish (826353) on Friday November 23, 2007 @01:11PM (#21455249)
    Researchers Sour on Vista SP1 RC1 Performance
  • http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/11/18/188235 [slashdot.org]

    Only, that one was from PC World Canada.
    AND... they at least listed the RC's version (0.275) and explained the tests (well, kinda...),the difference in performance AND the hardware used. http://www.pcworld.ca/news/column/3eef651f0a010408008b33e8065121c5/pg1.htm [pcworld.ca]
    WTF is a "barn burner"?

    Also, saying "Office-based test script was "statistically insignificant,"...while a multitasking test panel produced results for SP1 less than 1% faster than RTM." doesn't rea
  • Wait for the final version, then measure.
  • ...it will also make Leopard even faster.

    Aggressive Key-Accounting and the general uninformed public will keep MSFT afloat, though.

    Cancel-or-Allow RSI will be on the rise, too.

  • by 3seas (184403) on Friday November 23, 2007 @01:51PM (#21455585) Journal
    I have an old Dell Latitude xp450c that cost someone (not me) probably about $2500 in 1995 but today its not worth anything except to battery, memory and ac adaptor sellers who have more of these to sell, then there are such laptops existing.

    This is a 50Mhz 486dx laptop with a 8megs of ram. What OS can I reasonable run on it besides DOS, baslinux (basic linux - damn small linux is to big). and some floppy based OSs like maybe if I can even QNX demo of i can even find it anymore? To bad I can't get AROS to run on it.

    I also have an Amiga 4000 Toaster that runs at a warp engine speed of 28Mhz though I have more ram in it. and its still useful.

    The point is, when it comes to OSs today the performance is pretty much a dud in a fair comparison to the better OSs of yesterday.

    There has been a code bloat to use up increased speed, memory and storage in OSs today.

    Today you can buy 1 gig thumb drives that could hold your whole system, personal files and duplicate backups of the same and still have plenty of room.

    In fact, we should today have such sub-gig personal thumb drive based systems. Expecially considering what the more common applications are.

    Performance sucks today, and its not just a windows bloatware matter.

       
    • This is a 50Mhz 486dx laptop with a 8megs of ram. What OS can I reasonable run on it besides DOS, baslinux (basic linux - damn small linux is to big).

      Any chance you can bump that up to 12MB? That'll get you OpenBSD 4.2 [openbsd.org], although it probably won't be a screamer.

  • Give up... (Score:5, Funny)

    by DigitalJer (1132981) on Friday November 23, 2007 @01:55PM (#21455603)
    ...Vista is NOT about performance. It's about security. The market demanded a 'more secure' Windows, and Microsoft delivered. The market once demanded speed, and MS delivered Windows 98.
    • The market doesn't demand ONE thing at a time. To think so is just asinine. Microsoft is more than capable of delivering on more than one front. One doesn't necessarily have to give up speed for security; MS for some reason just can't or wont deliver performance, security, and a capable UI all together in one package. They've gotten it right here and there, but it seems like they drop one for the other when they really don't need to.

  • by BearRanger (945122) on Friday November 23, 2007 @02:35PM (#21455921)
    Let's see. . . 95, 98, ME, XP, Vista. . . Yup, only the even numbered releases are any good. Just to be safe they'd best rebrand Windows 7 as Windows 8. ;-)
  • Woo hoo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JRHelgeson (576325) on Friday November 23, 2007 @02:40PM (#21455973) Homepage Journal
    So my DRM is being upgraded? Should I be excited?
    The worst thing Microsoft has ever done was put Mickey Mouse in charge of kernel development. Letting Hollywood dictate the kernel design will prove to be the undoing of the Windows platform.
  • Vista sucks, read all about it!!!!
  • The missed point... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Friday November 23, 2007 @09:33PM (#21459479)
    The things that reviewers seem to be missing...

    1) Some of the performance updates scheduled for SP1 were already released as Updates.

    2) Performance on a System of 1GB (the sweet spot) will see virtually no improvement, and they are reviewing systems with 1GB and 2GB or more. If you baseline the performance difference on a 512mb system the performance difference is more dramatic.

    3) There are also a few optimization that don't affect most users. Readyboost got a significant jump in how it improves performance, and there has been refining of Superfetch as well. This includes not only USB flash, but Solid State and hybrid Drives will see significant boosts.

    4) File copying in RTM did have some performance problems but the majority of the problem was the screen not accurately reporting it was already copying files when it said 'calculating time', so SP1 gets about a 10% boost, but the dialog reports the process more accurately as well.

    If Windows Update wasn't doing its job and the updates hadn't already been being released, SP1 would be more of a one time dramatic increase. Also they need to be looking at lower end system when testing if they want to see more SP1 improvements.

    Finally, older and pre-Vista designed system configurations see more of a bump as well. If you test SP1 on a system that has the specific chipsets and HD Audio, etc that is designed for Vista, SP1 won't add a lot, as the system components were already designed and optimized for Vista.

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