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32bit Win7 Vs. Vista Vs. XP 641

Posted by kdawson
from the getting-a-feel-for-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes tested the latest Win7 build against XP and Vista and came to a surprising conclusion: Win7 performs better than the other 2 OSs in the vast majority of the 23 tasks tested. Even installation. 'Rather than publish a series of benchmark results for the three operating systems (something which Microsoft frowns upon for beta builds, not to mention the fact that the final numbers only really matter for the release candidate and RTM builds), I've decided to put Windows 7, Vista and XP head-to-head in a series of real-world tests...'" This review shows only a 1-2-3 ranking for each test, so there's no sense of the quantitative level of improvement.
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32bit Win7 Vs. Vista Vs. XP

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  • by Tubal-Cain (1289912) * on Saturday January 03, 2009 @09:22PM (#26315835) Journal

    Take results with a grain of salt. He ranks Vista as better than XP on the AMD machine and as nearly equal on the Pentium machine.

    Of course, the AMD machine has 4 GB of RAM and the Pentium machine has 1 GB, so that could have something to do with it.

    • by N!NJA (1437175) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @09:34PM (#26315941)
      WTH! if i had run those tests and come to the conclusion that Win7 installs faster than XP, i would have rushed to the basement, grabbed my Win3 floppies and performed a "3 vs 7 Install Death-Match"!

      that just sounds like a fisherman tale....
    • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Saturday January 03, 2009 @09:38PM (#26315981) Homepage Journal
      But the only number-one score for XP was on the Pentium machine - Move 100 MB files a quick glance through the results seemed to imply that XP usually came in second place for moving/opening smaller files, shutting down, and performance of few other tasks which would be attributed to a "stupider" computer. XP did come on second roughly half the time across both machines(from a quick glance, YMMV). It's nice that his charts are simple and straight-to-the-point instead of the usual spreading of the results across 10 pages, but I still find the results hard to believe.

      It's possible that the people who compiled the test results rated the OS's from 1 to 3 with 3 being the best ;) and Mr. Hughes confused the data when he wrote the article. And even if he didn't confuse the results, the 1-2-3 standings aren't very meaningful when the first-place OS opened the file in 1.255 seconds and the second place OS opened the same file in 1.26 seconds.
    • by purpledinoz (573045) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @09:44PM (#26316037)
      If he tested all 3 OSes on the exact same hardware configuration and compared those results, then the tests results are valid.

      My major problem with these test results is that he ranked them 1, 2, and 3. He should have put in the actual amount of time these tests took so we could see how much big of a difference it is. 1, 2, 3 tells me nothing. The difference between 1 and 2 could be 0.01% or 5000%.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jhol13 (1087781)

        If he tested all 3 OSes on the exact same hardware configuration and compared those results, then the tests results are valid.

        Kindly disagree. There are billion different ways to make or tune benchmarks so that your favourite (OS, language, whatever) will look better.

        The results shown are 100% meaningless.

    • by Skal Tura (595728) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @09:55PM (#26316139) Homepage

      i've found out that generally speaking ZDNet articles are total bullshit, with no relevance to the real world.

      This article and your example is just one example of that.

    • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @10:28PM (#26316375)

      Take results with a grain of salt. He ranks Vista as better than XP on the AMD machine and as nearly equal on the Pentium machine

      Sadly, as much as the SlashDot world not like to believe, this is accurate.

      If you have 1GB of RAM even on old hardware, Vista is as fast as XP, as the extra RAM offsets the Vista features overhead and Superfetch and other tricks of Vista help make up performance gains.

      With 2GB of RAM, Vista will be faster, even if you have a 800mzh PIII and a 1998 ATI video card.

      Vista or should we say the NT kernel in Vista is not slow or bloated, it is the extra features that Vista is doing that consumes RAM that offsets its performance gains over XP. (Search Engine, etc.)

      The CPU cycles for the Vista features are light, it is all about RAM. Just like with virtually every Windows and known OS update in history, they want more RAM for the features they add.

      - Even for Leopard to perform as fast as Tiger you need 1GB of RAM, which is funny considering Apple was making fun of Vista for the exact same reason.

      Here is how it works:

      512MB RAM - XP > Vista
      1GB RAM - XP = Vista
      1.5GB+ RAM - Vista > XP

      Windows7 so far is showing that even on 512MB is faster than XP in many cases, which is the result of the event based service manager, that unloads processes/services when not needed and saves RAM.

      An example on a running test system with 3Ghz P4 and 1GB RAM:
      Vista 41% - OS Consumed RAM
      Win7 20% - OS Consumed RAM

      See how that might help the Vista RAM overhead and put Win7 back in line with XP?

      PS And on this test system Vista is faster than XP - even in gaming with a Geforce 5600 video card.

      • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @11:09PM (#26316607)

        Take results with a grain of salt. He ranks Vista as better than XP on the AMD machine and as nearly equal on the Pentium machine

        Sadly, as much as the SlashDot world not like to believe, this is accurate.

        Here are some benchmarks right over at tomshardware [tomshardware.com] that show that the "SlashDot world" in this case is accurate (amazing!).

        Conclusion: K.O. For Windows Vista? Windows Vista clearly is not a great new performer when it comes to executing single applications at maximum speed. Overall, applications performed as expected, or executed slightly slower than under Windows XP. There are some programs that showed deeply disappointing performance.

        This was on a system with 2 GB of RAM, so according to you Vista should have been faster, but it wasn't. So your idea that it's the RAM that's the problem is bollocks.

        Anecdotally, a colleague of mine was complaing her brand new lenovo thinkpad with Vista was slow compared to her imac -- she was kind of amazed that the they had the same processor and memory.

    • by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @12:04AM (#26317071)

      Take results with a grain of salt

      Salt is forbidden by the EULA......and my doctor.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by venuspcs (946177) *
      I have been using Windows 7 Beta 1 (Build 7000) for 3 days and am utterly surprised. Here is a quick overview of the experience to date. On Wednesday I finished downloading the ISO and burned it to disc using Nero 9. Once burnt I removed the hard drive from my Toshiba Satellite A215-S5818 laptop and replaced it with a blank 120 GB SATA 4300 RPM drive with only 4MB Cache. I had previously upgraded my ram from 2 GB DDR2 to 4 GB DDR2 while using Vista and it had no discernible effect on performance. After ins
  • Still making 32 bit? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @09:23PM (#26315841)
    When are 32bit OSes going to start going away?
    • by Tubal-Cain (1289912) * on Saturday January 03, 2009 @09:24PM (#26315855) Journal

      I agree. Nobody is selling 32-bit processors anymore.

      Linux can handle 32-bit applications on 64-bit OSes. Surely MS can do the same?

      • by vux984 (928602) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @09:32PM (#26315917)

        Linux can handle 32-bit applications on 64-bit OSes. Surely MS can do the same?

        Of course they can, and do. Vista x64 runs 32 bit apps just fine.

        Unfortunately MS doesn't have the source for all the devices out there, and can't just recompile all of those to be 64-bit, and the 3rd party vendors that can do it, would rather not spend the effort -- hell, they kicked and screamed and did a half-assed job of updating their drivers to work with Vista in 32 bit (the main source of most real Vista woe).

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by UnknowingFool (672806)

          Since MS adopted the LLP64 [wikipedia.org] model, there really isn't a need to recompile 32 bit code to make them run on a 64bit OS. This model maintains maximum backwards compatibility but sacrifices it for forward compatibility. A 64 bit program would have to be rewritten for a 32 bit OS in this model. So companies would have to write and maintain two different source code trees for separate compiled versions.

          Unix and Linux went with a LP64 model. Forward compatibility is stressed instead of backwards compatibility.

      • Linux can handle 32-bit applications on 64-bit OSes. Surely MS can do the same?
        To some extent they can. The problem comes when an app relies on a custom driver (either because it really deals with hardware, to help it enforce it's drm, to provide drive mappings or whatever). 64 bit versions of both windows and linux need 64 bit drivers.

        For example it is only recently that a netware client has appeared for 64 bit windows and it seems they still don't support 64 bit XP. And it looks like my first generation M

      • by DA-MAN (17442) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @10:33PM (#26316403) Homepage

        I agree. Nobody is selling 32-bit processors anymore.

        Intel's Atom processor is 32-bit.

        Linux can handle 32-bit applications on 64-bit OSes. Surely MS can do the same?

        It's the proprietary drivers that make it hard for MS to do the same. In Linux the vast majority of drivers are maintained in source, so this isn't as much of a problem.

    • by bhpaddock (830350)

      1) Netbooks. The Atom processors in most netbooks are 32-bit only. Also consider any other embedded scenario where 64-bit CPUs are not available, practical, or where 64-bit addressing is not necessary.

      2) Upgrades. Windows does not support upgrading from a 32-bit OS to a 64-bit OS (you have to choose the "clean install" option). If you want to sell upgrade discs to the vast majority of current customers, you need to sell 32-bit copies.

    • The last 32-bit only processors were sold about 2-3 years ago so I imagine that most OSes are going to continue to support regular x86 for a long time hence.

      Most owners of the original macbooks (Intel Core Duo) would be pretty pissed if Snow Leopard didn't support them because their processors aren't x86-64 compatible.

      • by cgenman (325138)

        Actually, Apple does this on a pretty routine basis. My girlfriend's powerbook is PowerPC based, so Snow Leopard won't run on it. My even older powerbook was 603e based, and couldn't run OSX. My desktop was 680x0 based, and couldn't run OS9.

        Apple has transitioned many times throughout their history, each time adding a virtualization layer so that older applications could continue to run on new hardware. This didn't help older hardware run the new OS, but that has been seen as an acceptable compromise.

    • by DigitAl56K (805623) * on Saturday January 03, 2009 @09:50PM (#26316087)

      What bothers me about Vista 64 is that Microsoft do not let you load unsigned drivers. Got a driver from a vendor that's not signed? You have to go through the trouble of signing it yourself and kicking your OS into test mode. The problem became worse with SP1 when MS made several known workarounds disappear.

      I understand they're trying to work against root kits but I'd rather be able to easily install any drivers I choose on my own system then have Microsoft protecting me against myself and causing me all kinds of grief. I've also never been hit by a root kit and I would guess that regular viruses are just as problematic and more common for nearly everyone.

  • Completely useless (Score:2, Insightful)

    by beef3k (551086)
    This review shows only a 1-2-3 ranking for each test, so there's no sense of the quantitative level of improvement.

    In other words a totally subjective opinion with no numbers/statistics to back it up, also known as Totally And Utterly Useless.
    • by bhpaddock (830350) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @09:41PM (#26316009) Homepage

      It isn't useless. It isn't "subjective" since it's based on actual objective measurements. It conveys the indication that Windows 7 has *broad* performance improvements.

      It has been suggested that exact numbers were not given due to the beta's EULA clause that prohibits benchmarking against the pre-release build.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by poetmatt (793785)

        You can dance all you want, but the truth is we have no evidence that they even performed testing since there are no numbers. That's not subjective, it's called an editorial/not factual.

        If there are numbers out there, other people can compare and go "hey, that isn't what I got using the exact same setup as you tested with", etc.

        The eula literally says "NO BENCHMARKING ALLOWED" so this means that this guy isn't even allowed to benchmark. It doesn't say "no posting of a benchmark", it says no benchmarking per

        • by Shadow7789 (1000101) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @11:09PM (#26316613)
          No, you're wrong. Read the EULA.

          You may not disclose the results of any benchmark tests of the software to any third party without Microsoft's prior written approval.

          What the author did was within the bounds of the EULA since he didn't disclose the results (the numbers).

          What really frustrates me though is that you would suggest that the author is LYING. What gives you the right to make such accusations? Are you working on some kind of historical precedent? Do you know the author personally? Has he lied before? Or are you just being a douche? I can completely understand if you want to see the raw data, so do I. But really, I thought Slashdot attracted a smarter caliber of readers who don't have to result to personal attacks. Apparently, I was wrong.

          For the record though, the relative performances he gives us are a valuable indicator. Are you saying that a race scored based upon who crossed the finish line first instead of a stop watch is not a valid way to measure the performance of the athletes in it, because I can think of plenty of sports (even a few Olympic ones) that are scored this way. That makes no sense. Maybe next time, you should think before you post.

  • win7 rocks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by moniker127 (1290002)
    I'm using build 7000 right now. And yes, it is clearly quicker than XP, and there arent as many point where it has the potential to stop. It feels very fluid. Its the best windows version yet but a fair margin.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @09:40PM (#26315995)

    Do a 64bit test as well as most system today with with 3-4gb ram + video ram and other system stuff go over the 4gb limit 32bit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 03, 2009 @09:49PM (#26316077)

    Windows Vista 3rd
    Windows XP 2nd
    Windows 7 1st

    Windows 7 wins... it uses the least number of letters.

  • by tkrotchko (124118) * on Saturday January 03, 2009 @09:51PM (#26316099) Homepage

    Their 64 bit version of Vista is actually the best consumer level OS they've done so far. It's the version that should become Windows 7. It's stable, fast (way faster than the 32 bit version on my machine), and its backwards compatible with almost every application that I've tried.

    If they made the default install 64 bits, they'd actually be pushing forward an improvement in their consumer OS. As it is, we'll be living with Vista mk. II.

    I'll bet the folks who work on the 64 bit version are scratching their heads wondering why they bother!

  • by john.picard (1440397) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @09:54PM (#26316123)
    He tested things like moving files around, compression, decompression... This is all good and fine, but it's probably not the thing that most people "feel" when they use a computer. What I would like to know is how snappy or sluggish does the operating system "feel" when using it for every-day tasks? Does everything halt while the hard drive cranks away when you click a menu? Do the GUI animations help use the computer or do they simply slow you down? That's the sort of thing that matters to most users. How often do you really have to move 100 MB or 2.5 GB of files around?
    • by Jugalator (259273) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @10:14PM (#26316285) Journal

      How often do you really have to move 100 MB or 2.5 GB of files around?

      A benchmark like this still probably matters though, as if it's fast on moving 100 MB (a size more easily measurable than 10 MB), it's likely faster at 10 MB too. And it's at these ranges it starts creeping into everyday use and the "feel" you're talking of.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @10:01PM (#26316173)

    I've said the same when people complained about crappy Vista beta results, so I will say it again: Judge the system's speed when it is done. No nanosecond earlier.

    The reason is simple. First, it's plenty possible that there are still parts missing. Parts that can weigh the system down again. In Vista's case, we saw a pretty good improvement in handling, but this can work the other way 'round too if early results are promising (maybe too promising) and optimizing takes a back seat to other matters.

    From what I can see so far, Win7 still has some stability issues. Improving stability often comes at the price of speed. It is entirely possible that MS tried to get a system out for "beta report" tests that is as fast as possible to get these desired effects. Vista's resource hunger and its sluggish handling was one of the core gripes reviewers had, so it was likely the first tests Win7 will be put to will be about speed and handling. Vista had no really crippling stability issues (aside of driver problem which are arguably the hardware supplyer's problem), so this won't be one of the things reviewers will make a big fuss about.

    So what did they produce for a beta review? Exactly what we have here. A system that is as fast as it can be, everything else back to the corner there. Yes, it's maybe crashing from time to time, but it's beta, you know, and Vista already was stable, so they'll get that done by release, no worries. Now imagine it was the other way 'round, stable as a rock but sluggish. Yes, it's beta, so the speed issues could be ironed out, but reviewers would have had a field day with it.

    Bluntly, I don't give a flying fsck about a beta review of Win7. Wake me when it's ready for release. In other words, when SP1 arrives.

  • No extra garbage (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arkham6 (24514) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @10:06PM (#26316213)
    I'm sure the fact that this build of windows does not have tons of extra bells and whistles installed, thus leaving more system resources for doing benchmarking.
  • by hack slash (1064002) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @10:24PM (#26316339)
    Has anyone tested it on an Asus Eee or the like in comparison with performance of XP on the same machine?

    I think that would be an important test what with vendors clinging onto selling XP with laptops/notebooks for as long as possible.
  • It could be (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @10:26PM (#26316351)

    The general feeling around here is that no-one WANTS to believe it is even possible that Windows 7 doesn't suck. Because if that were true, that would sort of devalue everything done to improve Linux the last few years. (because if Windows 7 is fast and stable and lets you play games, that doesn't leave any room for Linux on the desktop)

    It could actually be that Microsoft got it right. It may be that the core of Vista is not as terrible as we all think it is. I've seen posts discussing how Vista uses a completely refactored kernel, with more layers of abstraction and cleaning up of many of the quirks of win32.

    Then, on top of this decent foundation, they overloaded it with poorly thought out gimmicks in an attempt to compete with Apple. In addition, some of their rewrites introduced new bugs, such as the networking problems where Vista machines are unable to talk to shared file servers.

    It's possible that Windows 7 succeeded. If they fixed the bugs, and ripped out some of the bloated, inefficient Vista code then you might have a decent OS after. Microsoft might be a monopoly, but if they sat on their heels for too long, eventually (it might take 10 years) alternatives would overtake them.

    • The general feeling around here is that no-one WANTS to believe it is even possible that Windows 7 doesn't suck. Because if that were true, that would sort of devalue everything done to improve Linux the last few years. (because if Windows 7 is fast and stable and lets you play games, that doesn't leave any room for Linux on the desktop)

      Now that is bullshit. If Microsoft got their act together and made somethign as fantastic as Longhorn was supposed to be it really doesn't have anything to do with linux, a

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