Windows Vista Service Pack 1: A performance check

The story of Windows Vista is one fraught with tragedy (at least, as tragic as software can get). The operating system had a difficult birth, with Microsoft scrapping its work and starting over again about half-way through the development cycle, shedding many promised features in the process. Once out in the market, Vista had an even rougher childhood. Drivers weren’t ready in time, users perceived Vista as nothing more than a more resource-hungry version of XP with a prettier user interface, and many reviewers gave it a thumbs down.

However, as far back as January 30, 2007—Vista’s retail launch date—users disappointed with the new OS looked to a future first service pack to make everything right. Back then, nobody even knew what SP1 would bring to the table or when it would come out, but folks’ experience with Windows release cycles suggested that SP1 would fix most of Vista’s little imperfections. Some couldn’t be bothered waiting and switched anyway, finding out in the process that Vista wasn’t anywhere near as bad as everyone was saying. Others stuck with Windows XP and kept waiting.

Over a year and more than a hundred million Vista sales later, SP1 is finally out. It, too, had somewhat of a rough start, since Microsoft was forced to postpone it by about a month due to driver compatibility problems. Then, on March 18, SP1 finally appeared on Windows Update. Would it really fix everything disillusioned Vista users expected?

What’s new in SP1

A quick glance through the service pack’s quite considerable list of fixes, changes, and new features suggests that SP1 is indeed meant to improve Vista substantially—and not just by rolling all previously released updates into a single, neat package. High on the list are a handful of storage-related performance enhancements that cover copying files, extracting archives, or doing many kinds of file operations at once. According to Microsoft, SP1 is 25% faster when copying files within a single disk, and the “calculating time remaining” phase of file operations has been reduced to around two seconds.

Along with these welcome speed boosts, the new service pack brings a very long list of reliability, security, and power-saving improvements. That list is a little too long to sum up here, but users can look forward to everything from more consistent hard drive spin-downs, which should improve battery life on notebooks, to better driver stability in default drivers, and new application programming interfaces to help developers write more secure apps and better anti-malware tools.

Last, but certainly not least, SP1 introduces support for a number of new technologies and standards. There’s the new Direct3D 10.1 application programming interface, support for Intel’s Extensible Firmware Interface on 64-bit systems, and support for the exFAT file system for flash devices, just to name a few. Direct3D 10.1 should allow developers to tap into the features of AMD’s new Radeon HD 3000-series graphics processors, while EFI support should theoretically pave the way for BIOS-free PCs—at least as long as hardware manufacturers follow suit. Meanwhile, exFAT brings support for file sizes of up to 16 exabytes and more than 1,000 files per directory, where FAT is limited to 1,000-file directories and 4GB files.

We won’t devote an entire page to detailing each and every one of SP1’s improvements, since Microsoft itself takes cares of that in the official SP1 changes list. What we will do, however, is probe how SP1’s plethora of under-the-hood changes translate into performance.

Test notes

To assess SP1’s impact on performance, we performed a clean installation of the “release-to-manufacturing” (i.e. original retail-boxed) edition of Windows Vista Home Premium x64 on our test system, and we ran a first round of benchmarks with no patches and only necessary drivers applied. Then, we downloaded the x64 Service Pack 1 standalone installer from Microsoft’s Download Center, installed it, and ran our suite of benchmarks again.

Our testing methods

As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Tests were run at least three times, and the results were averaged.

Our test system was configured like so:

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13GHz
System bus 1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped)
Motherboard MSI P965 Platinum
BIOS revision 1.8
North bridge P965 MCH
South bridge ICH8R
Chipset drivers INF update 8.3.1.1009
Memory size 4GB (4 DIMMs)
Memory type 2x 2GB Corsair ValueSelect DDR2-667 SDRAM
CAS latency (CL) 5
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 5
RAS precharge (tRP) 5
Cycle time (tRAS) 15
Command rate 2T
Audio Integrated ICH8R/ALC883

with default Windows drivers

Graphics Zotac GeForce 8800 GT Amp! Edition

with ForceWare 169.25 drivers

Hard drive 2x Western Digital Caviar SE16 320GB SATA
OS Windows Vista Home Premium x64
OS updates Service Pack 1 (where noted)

The test system’s Windows desktop was set at 1680×1050 in 32-bit color at a 60Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The tests and methods we employ are usually publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.

WorldBench

WorldBench is a good way to get a feel for how SP1 affects real-world Vista performance. This benchmark uses scripting to assess the performance of eight major Windows applications, from Firefox 2 to 3ds max 8, in a variety of different usage scenarios. We’ll start with the overall score, which rates a system based on how well it runs the entire suite of WorldBench applications tests, then we’ll look at how each app fared on its own.

Yes, Service Pack 1 is one whole WorldBench score point faster than the release-to-manufacturing version of Windows Vista. Before we draw any hasty conclusions, though, let’s first have a look at individual application performance.

Productivity and general use software

The following results cover WorldBench’s desktop productivity application benchmarks. These tests should do a good job of mirroring day-to-day usage scenarios like web browsing, word processing, or multitasking with a CPU-heavy app in the background.

Microsoft Office productivity

Firefox web browsing

Multitasking – Firefox and Windows Media Encoder

WinZip file compression

Nero CD authoring

Individual apps show more pronounced changes, but we see no clear pattern emerging. SP1 is sometimes faster, sometimes slower, and sometimes the same as the RTM version.

Users working in Microsoft Office or authoring CDs and DVDs in Nero will see slight performance benefits from SP1, but those running Firefox 2 either on its own or with a copy of Windows Media Encoder doing its thing in the background will see a slight performance decrease. As for folks extracting files with WinZip, they should see no changes.

Of course, we ought to point out that differences are smaller than 5% in all of these tests. As such, users may be hard pressed to notice any performance increases or decreases at all.

Media editing and encoding, 3D modeling and rendering

The next few tests span the more heavy duty, enterprise front of WorldBench. These probably aren’t apps your average home user is going to run everyday, but they give us a glimpse of how fancier, more processor-bound tasks fare with Service Pack 1 installed.

Photoshop image editing

Roxio VideoWave movie editing

Windows Media Encoder video encoding

3ds max DirectX visualization

3ds max 3D rendering

In media editing, encoding, and rendering tasks, Service Pack 1 performance is even closer to that of the release version of Vista. The largest difference is in 3ds max 3D rendering, with a 9-second gap between Vista SP1 and RTM. However, that only amounts to a ~1% change in total rendering time.

Gaming and desktop file operations

Team Fortress 2

A round of desktop benchmarks wouldn’t be complete without some gaming tests, and we’ve selected Valve’s multiplayer first-person shooter Team Fortress 2 for that purpose. To test TF2, I recorded a demo of myself playing as Pyro and Soldier in a ~30-player match on the game’s cp_dustbowl map, then played it back using the “timedemo” function three times for each test.

We tested at a 1680×1050 resolution with the game’s detail levels set to their highest settings. HDR lighting and motion blur were enabled. Antialiasing was disabled, and texture filtering was set to trilinear filtering only.

We see the same result in Team Fortress 2 as in our previous benchmarks. In this case, SP1 actually improves performance by a fraction of a frame per second, but even die-hard gamers probably can’t detect such a minute change.

Drive-to-drive file copy testing

For this test, we copied a 700MB video file from one 320GB Western Digital Caviar SE16 hard drive to another hard drive of the same model, and we recorded the transfer time using our stopwatch. As with all our previous tests, we ran each file copy three times and averaged the results to rule out any flukes in testing.

For the first time, we see SP1 actually distance itself from the RTM version. Microsoft’s claims of higher file operation speeds check out at least in this particular instance, where performance goes up by almost 24% from Vista RTM to Vista SP1.

Time and hardware constraints prevented us from running additional file copy and network copy tests, but other benchmarks we’ve seen around the Web suggest single-disk or disk-to-disk file operations are indeed quicker overall (but not always) in SP1. The picture for network copies is a little foggier, though, since one of our editors has run into performance issues with network shares on his own system following an update to SP1.

Conclusions

Somewhat fittingly, Service Pack 1 very much mirrors Windows Vista itself in the way it delivers (or fails to deliver) on users’ expectations. If you were looking for across-the-board system performance improvements or major new features, prepare to be disappointed. Our benchmarks suggest SP1 does significantly speed file manipulations, and we confirmed those results with our seat-of-the-pants tests while copying and deleting local files during everyday usage. However, like Vista, most of the service pack’s improvements are under the hood and probably won’t be immediately obvious to the average user.

Of course, those under-the-hood improvements are plenty, and they include a host of reliability and security fixes as well as a good number of changes we didn’t get around to testing, such as greater power efficiency for notebook systems and support for third-party desktop search software. Where the average desktop user may not notice many changes, perhaps folks with different needs and usage patterns will. Should you switch to SP1 regardless? Unless you run one of the drivers listed on this page or have another good reason not to, it probably won’t hurt. Besides, you’ll probably need to upgrade eventually in order to stay fresh on the security front.

SP1 is also of interest to users who’ve stuck with XP and are waiting for Vista to mature before making the jump. The answer there is that Vista’s maturation process has been a gradual one. Much of that process has depended on third-party developers and hardware makers, who’ve taken their sweet time adapting their software and releasing Vista-compatible drivers. Although I personally didn’t find many faults in Vista when it came out, there’s no question that third-party support has considerably improved over the past year, and that Microsoft’s successive patches have taken care of many little initial problems.

If you’ve waited all these months to move over to Vista, don’t count on SP1 to make everything magically better—the service pack is very much part of Vista’s gradual maturation, and it’s not a sudden step up. However, with a few exceptions (you’ll want to double-check that for yourself before switching), hardware and software support in Vista isn’t much of a problem anymore, and the operating system is more than stable and reliable enough for day-to-day usage. Really, now’s as good a time as any to switch.

Or you could start waiting for Service Pack 2.

Comments closed
    • michaelmcgo
    • 11 years ago

    I built my new computer two months ago and put Vista on it to run the new DX10 games (Crysis being one of them, but I’m seeing a lot more games being released as DX10 only). I’m running an E2180 with 2 gigs of RAM and an 8800GT. I am very happy with Vista and will never go back to XP. The speed is great for me, maybe I’m not doing the “right” things to slow it down. The stability is far supirior to XP for me, but once again, maybe I’m not doing the “right” things to crash it. I am going to get SP1 when it automaticlly updates, but I’d be happy without it.

      • indeego
      • 11 years ago

      you got Vista after the rest of us beta tested it for you. If you loaded it up in January/Feb of last year, you would not of sung so happy a tuneg{<.<}g

    • Fighterpilot
    • 11 years ago

    Oh really/…so let’s see you tell the TR guys that they are wrong then.
    Talk is cheap Z-Man….
    As for the “little new functionality” perhaps you can remind me of how well Media Center works in XP.
    Then give us a rundown on the DX 10 performance.
    Follow it up with how XP security does in comparison to Vista.
    Finally a few words about how the old prefetch setup of XP is superior to Superfetch oughta do it.
    ps don’t forget a quick rant on how much better disc management is with XP
    in comparison with Vista’s ability to adjust partitions on the fly…..

    • Daveburt714
    • 11 years ago

    I didn’t notice it mentioned anywhere.

    Just a warning for folks running a Phenom revision B2 CPU…

    Vista SP1 installs the TLB fix and even overrides any bios option to disable it, seriously reducing Phenoms performance.

    As Cyril said, SP1 is worth upgrading too, but if your running a B2 Phenom you may want to check out Forums/Processors for a way to turn the fix off again and regain full speed.

    • PetMiceRnice
    • 11 years ago

    Cyril, as usual, is correct in his articles. But speaking as someone who does not game very much at all anymore, there’s really no compelling reason to dump Windows XP.

    • Magnus
    • 11 years ago

    SP1 installed and working fine.

    I have run this same computer on xp and Vista is <gasp!> my prefered choice. Vista is running just as fast as xp ever did(if not faster). Guess i must have done something wrong since everyone says that Vista is unstable and slow.

      • Fighterpilot
      • 11 years ago

      No,just the uninformed and the people with obvious anti MS bias.
      Cyril did indeed get it right,much to the embarrasment of the Vista haters here.
      Watch them squirm everytime another nail gets hammered into their tired old routines….

        • Saber Cherry
        • 11 years ago

        Today, I learned that people who like Windows XP have an obvious anti-MS bias.

          • Fighterpilot
          • 11 years ago

          So of course that means people who like Vista hate XP….duh
          Keep learning Capt.Obvious.

            • zgirl
            • 11 years ago

            Can you please post something with substance? Really what tired old routines are these? People point out specific issues they have with vista and all you ever do is post none specific retorts.

            All you ever do is attack anyone who’s view points without any substance to back it up.

            Maybe you should do some learning of your own, genius.

        • LoneWolf15
        • 11 years ago

        Your flawed logic astounds me.

        /[

    • Bensam123
    • 11 years ago

    I think the question this article fails at addressing is: Is Vista finally faster then XP?

    Very few people actually care about Vista RTM Vs. Vista SP1. If you have Vista, you’re going to get SP1 no doubt. Most of us are holding onto our copies of XP for a lot more reasons then improving a bit of performance over RTM.

    I highely doubt that I will be upgrading to Vista anytime soon and I pitty people whose only option soon will be to get that put on their new PC. It almost makes me wonder if this won’t increase piracy as there will no longer be a legal way to obtain a copy.

    The only reason I’ve ever seen to upgrade to Vista is DX10 and as of right now, the next OS will come out before games with noticeable differences using DX10.

    • fantastic
    • 11 years ago

    I deleted a long tirade I had written about Vista.

    I’ve been installing it for about 5 days in between working and “living”. I’ve had some “problems” with it. Today for giggles I decided that since so many things have problems with 4 GB of RAM I’d try with 2GB and what do you know, EVERYTHING went smooth and easy. I put the RAM back and tested the crap out of it. No problems with WMD or memtest86+. I turned the voltage up to 1.85V to see if that helps. I’m just happy enough to not spew profanity for a few hours. If I have to limp back to 2 GB I might as well have XP on it. Waiting for more errors…

    I was laughing at you guys for how easy you made it sound to throw first Vista on a new computer and then SP1. Now it doesn’t seem so ridiculous.

      • Kulith
      • 11 years ago

      i have 4gb ocz silver edition and I was having problems installing windows with the ram under 2.1 V, but I highly doubt it was because of Vista. cranked up the default voltage from 1.8 to 2.1 and havnt had a problem since

      • Saber Cherry
      • 11 years ago

      I bought a 2x2GB kit for the new (Windows XP Home) computer I built, and initially only installed 2GB because I was rather nervous that with 4GB, terrible things would happen. After a week of no problems, I put in the other module… granted, it only detects 3.25 GB… and applications are limited to 2 GB of that… but everything works fine, there were no hiccups, and multiple copies of memtest (totaling all available RAM) can run for hours without a problem.

      Of course, when I buy RAM, I /[

      • Flying Fox
      • 11 years ago

      There was a hotfix specifically for dealing with more than 2GiB installed. The recommended workaround is to install with 2 GiB and then put the other stick in after installation.

    • tsoulier
    • 11 years ago

    I hate vista , I will skip it all together , If my lappy had drivers for xp i would change it up

    • LoneWolf15
    • 11 years ago

    This report pretty much mirrors my experiences. SP1 showed minor improvements to Vista’s performance, but not enough to raise Vista’s performance above mediocre. This is on a new laptop with a T8300 CPU, and 4GB of RAM.

    After several weeks running Vista Business SP1, I went back to XP Pro. The difference is night and day. I’ll wait for SP2 before trying again; in the meantime, I look forward to XP SP3.

    • donu
    • 11 years ago

    Those bar charts would be a lot easier to interpret if Vista RTM was always the top bar and Vista SP1 was always the bottom bar.

    This is pretty basic human factors stuff. You should know better. Geez.

    • FireGryphon
    • 11 years ago

    What the heck does RTM mean?

      • Krogoth
      • 11 years ago

      Release to Manufacturer

    • herothezero
    • 11 years ago

    q[

    • swaaye
    • 11 years ago

    I’m just happy that one can now control the lame network throttling that it does when you play any sort of media. That was just so annoying.

    • Vrock
    • 11 years ago

    I said I’d “upgrade” when SP1 hit. SP1 hit. I’m not upgrading. I don’t need to. XP works fine, and SP3 is on the way.

      • eitje
      • 11 years ago

      well, i’m just never trusting you again!

        • pedro
        • 11 years ago

        Haha… nice one.

        (Me too incidentally.)

    • kilkennycat
    • 11 years ago

    l[<"Really, now's as good a time as any to switch".<]l l[

      • Logdan
      • 11 years ago

      “One of the many, many blunders in developing Vista was not providing a 100% backward-compatible XP mode.”

      They did, it’s free and all you need is a valid XP license. It’s called Virtual PC 2007. That’s what we did for any end user who needed to run a legacy application in XP. Heck, some packages from Microsoft include being able to run 1 Virtual XP instance for every Vista instance you have in your agreement plan.

      Also, if you are in a corporate environment, chances are you already have a site license for XP, and this whole deal in the article won’t affect you if you are unable to migrate to Vista.

        • Saber Cherry
        • 11 years ago

        /[<"One of the many, many blunders in developing Vista was not providing a 100% backward-compatible XP mode." They did, it's free and all you need is a valid XP license. It's called Virtual PC 2007.<]/ Um, that's not Vista providing a 100% backward-compatible XP mode. That's a virtual PC emulator into which you can install XP, if you happen to have a spare copy and a few gigs of HDD space. Can you really not see the difference? You might as well claim that Vista provides fluid dynamics modeling software or a 100% Solaris-compatible mode.

          • Logdan
          • 11 years ago

          “Can you really not see the difference?”

          I can easily see the difference. However, it does provide exactly what is needed if you need a solution that can only work in a XP environment while still using Vista. And honestly, the resources needed to use it are hardly worth worrying over.

          Otherwise, you can’t make an omelet without cracking a few eggs. Vista changes a lot of things that can break compatibility with older applications (the UAC comes to mind). Forsaking this and including a built in mode that circumvents this would only make it easier for software writers to NOT update their software to conform to Vista’s new standards. Microsoft, and a good deal of IT folks in environments where end users can not be given administrative rights, don’t want this.

          I like to think of it this way. If you want change, you need to remove what was preventing the change in the first place.

    • YeuEmMaiMai
    • 11 years ago

    lol………….pathetic if you ask me that sites are slamming vista

    • Willard
    • 11 years ago

    r[<"bring to the table"<]r Please stop using this metaphor in reviews. It died in 2001 and is starting to smell funny. Thank you.

    • SuperSpy
    • 11 years ago

    How about benchmarking network performance with the new registry entry for modifying the multimedia network throttling behavior.

    §[< http://support.microsoft.com/kb/948066<]§

    • Popinjay
    • 11 years ago

    Does anyone else hate the default color for hovering over menu items in Vista? It’s this really pale blue that is extremely difficult to see.

    I also can’t stand the lack of an “up directory” button in explorer. Yes, I know about the breadcrumbs feature, but that’s far less useful when the window you’re in doesn’t show the whole breadcrumb trail…

      • Logdan
      • 11 years ago

      Backspace.

        • Popinjay
        • 11 years ago

        Granted, but you have to know that “Backspace” = “Go up a directory”. It’s not an obvious connection. I just don’t understand why they would waste time removing such a useful button.

        But whatever, I can live with that. The hover color thing, though, that’s maddening.

      • format_C
      • 11 years ago

      What I hate even more is the white glow around the title bar caption. It looks like someone j**ked off around the letters…
      MS and UI design… Why don’t they just stick with Windows Classic?

        • Popinjay
        • 11 years ago

        what is the title bar caption?

          • format_C
          • 11 years ago

          The title bar text. All text next to the application icon in the upper left corner.

        • Meadows
        • 11 years ago

        Have you ever seen someone jack off? (including yourself)

    • Flying Fox
    • 11 years ago

    I find it ironic that Damage just got stung by the file copy problem after installing SP1.

    • zqw
    • 11 years ago

    For me, SP1 had a dramatic improvement to network file copies, and I’m almost happy with Vista.

    Pre SP1: XP push or pull to Vista ~40MB/sec if initiated on XP (that’s what I’m used to.) Push or pull initiated on Vista was ~25MB/sec w/fluctuations.

    Post SP1: Vista can Pull from XP at a steady ~60MB/sec!! Push and XP initiated are unchanged.

    Does anybody have pointers/links on improving network copy post-SP1? All my googling leads to pre-SP1 probs/fixes, and somebody asking if SP1 will fix it.

    • Ruiner
    • 11 years ago

    Another vote for XP benches to embarrass Vista, SP1 or no.

    • impar
    • 11 years ago

    Greetings!

    No XP to compare to?

    • Fighterpilot
    • 11 years ago

    “Really, now’s as good a time as any to switch”.
    *[

      • zgirl
      • 11 years ago

      But what if you have an important application that doesn’t have a version that runs under Vista.

      Kind of presents a problem don’t you think?

      Wait, I forgot, that last part is an issue with you.

        • titan
        • 11 years ago

        Then you push the company that made the application to either make it OS independent or to update it to work on the new OS.

          • zgirl
          • 11 years ago

          lol let me know how that works out for you. I have a client that has a very niche app. It is used to run the entire company. Still as of today the developer has no timetable for a version that will run on Vista. There is no competing app in the market. Which means there is no leverage here. At all.

          I can threaten all I want. But without the leverage I have nothing for force them to get off their asses and work on it. Welcome to the real world.

            • Mithent
            • 11 years ago

            Well, if you have a specific reason not to switch then that’s a different matter, but sticking with XP on new machines because Vista sux and XP rulz doesn’t make much sense. I wouldn’t advocate upgrading XP machines to Vista though.

            • titan
            • 11 years ago

            Tell them that you’re going to start shopping around if they can’t meet your needs. Maybe take a look at the service contract. If it doesn’t expressly state that the program is only for XP, then you can argue that you believe that they’re not behaving in good faith. There are several other options too.

            I am with Mithent (Post #49), however, that I don’t believe everybody needs to upgrade to Vista now. I just think that it’s really dumb one piece of software will prevent progress. One day new licenses of XP won’t be available and your only option will be Vista. Are you just going to say, “oh, well,” and let it be?

            I can understand that a rinky-dink software company won’t be all over the newest OS, but it should at least have some plans to move forward and offer some incentive to clients to upgrade the old software that they’ve written.

            • indeego
            • 11 years ago

            He can’t shop around, he already told you that there’s no competition. And he’s not alone. We use several legal applications that aren’t Vista ready. Stop assuming the entire world rushed to a new OS on its release. It doesn’t. And why should we? XP works perfectly fine for us.

            We’re waiting until Windows 7 before deciding what to do. Man all the licensing costs we’ll save not going to Vista. nobody ever talks about that, do they?

            • titan
            • 11 years ago

            Please read my posts again. You’ll see that I’m not assuming anything. There is always competition, you just have to find it. A single piece of software should not hold a company back from moving to the next OS. Now that Microsoft decided to continue supporting XP until 2010, at least, it is less pertinent than I was making out in my last post.

            • Flying Fox
            • 11 years ago

            It’s not just picking an alternate software. There’s data conversion, training, deployment and all the other stuff that companies need to do before even rolling out the software. That can be much bigger issue.

            If it is just “a matter of finding it”, Office would have lost its appeal a long time ago.

            • Saber Cherry
            • 11 years ago

            You are totally, utterly wrong. There’s always competition? Please. That’s obviously true with whatever mainstream software you have ever used, but when you get into industry, and some company is the only one in the world that makes compatible bore-hole radiation logging software or contrail-dissipation-modeling software or (name the incredibly specialized application)-software, your proposition makes about as much sense as some clueless tourist halfway up Mount Everest firing his guide because he won’t do a chicken dance.

            P.S. I realize that this is antagonistic, but your point – which you have maintained 3 consecutive times – is indefensible. Even with no real-world experience, and no knowledge of anything except math, it should be plainly obvious that if you get specialized and complex enough, there will not be enough room in the industry for more than 1 very skilled software producer. If there is room (economically speaking) for more than one, then simply pick a more specialized, more complex, or less profitable application.

            • zgirl
            • 11 years ago

            Wrong again. Seriously there are applications out there that sometimes are only written buy a vendor for a custom application. OR only one software vendor who thinks integrating two (or more) services into a single application. As we have in the example I gave.

            The customer has looked for an alternate product. None exist or the competition is such a lacking product it isn’t even worth using it as leverage. Again you are defending an indefensible position, because others have stated the similar case regarding some things.

            • eitje
            • 11 years ago

            sounds like an opportunity for someone that wants to make a lot of money. 🙂

            …so, what’s the app do, anyway? 😀

      • Ruiner
      • 11 years ago

      “Really, now’s as good a time as any to switch”.
      To Ubuntu?

        • Grigory
        • 11 years ago

        Nah, not yet. Give it another decade or two. 🙂

      • Saber Cherry
      • 11 years ago

      In other words, for the 90% of people who never felt it was a good time to switch before now, it still isn’t a good time to switch. Thanks for clarifying your position – I used to think you had a pro-Vista bias, but now I realize we completely agree.

    • palhen
    • 11 years ago

    Nice overview, but please, next time, arrange the graphs so that the order between what you compare is the same for all of them. They are not very easy to read now, even when color-coded. Minor issue, of course…

      • mboza
      • 11 years ago

      Yep, I read SP1 as winning all the first page of tests, not noticing that you were putting the winner top every time until I read the text at the bottom.

      • Cyril
      • 11 years ago

      I’m not sure what you’re talking about. The winner is always at the top in all these graphs, just like our other articles.

        • palhen
        • 11 years ago

        Yes, I recognize that. But maybe you should consider keeping the order instead. Just a suggestion.

        /loooong time reader and fan

          • Usacomp2k3
          • 11 years ago

          I prefer it that way. It is always consistent and easy to understand.

      • provoko
      • 11 years ago

      Those were the easiest graphs to look at. Winner at top, lighter color for SP1.

    • emi25
    • 11 years ago

    I want XP vs Vista comparation.

      • kilkennycat
      • 11 years ago

      l[

        • drsauced
        • 11 years ago

        XP vs. Vista would be very interesting, but I don’t think it would actually be very useful. After all, XP is a ‘dead’ OS, and while it would certainly show how much we lose in terms of performance, the comparison with old and new doesn’t accomplish a whole lot. It feels to me like that inevitable train bearing down, and Mr. Smith truly wins.

        It would be much more interesting to see performance differences between OS’s, perhaps Vista v OS X v Linux, if there were any applications that those platforms share.

          • DerekBaker
          • 11 years ago

          I’m sure a comparison with XP would be very useful for those deciding whether or not to upgrade.

    • adisor19
    • 11 years ago

    I don’t know guys.. Been using a bunch of oses since i’ve started playing with computers.. in 2005 i decided to finally try out OS X when the cheap and affordable Mac Mini was announced. OS X has its quirks and problems, but damn, even on hacked x86 versions, it’s still freakin more stable then Vista :s and in regards to speed, it screams. Seriously, you might hate Apple as a company or maybe hate SJ’s guts, but if you have the change, give it a go to OS X. I see no reason not to like it as a main OS on a daily basis.

    I hope MS will put out a good followup to Vista because competition is starting to heat up even on the Linux side.

    Adi

      • ChronoReverse
      • 11 years ago

      Stability hasn’t been an issue for MS consumer class operating systems since XP came out. If you want to argue speed there might be a case, but saying Vista is unstable is quite ridiculous

        • Saber Cherry
        • 11 years ago

        Make that XPSP1; I BSOD’d a few times before that. And you may call it “security” rather than “stability”, but if you hook your computer up to the internet and it gets fried by Blaster in the 20-second window before you can even connect to Windows Update (which happened to me once when I freshly installed XP on a computer)… well… from a user perspective, that does not really feel stable.

        There’s also hardware upgrades. Even with XPSP2, if I upgrade a motherboard… and on a couple of occasions with SP1, even a mere video card… Windows may issue general protection faults and refuse to boot, even into safe mode. Is that stability? It certainly doesn’t /[

          • Anomymous Gerbil
          • 11 years ago

          You connect to internet without NAT?

          • ChronoReverse
          • 11 years ago

          Pre-sp1 without a firewall XP was unsecure but with working drivers an uncompromised system is certainly stable.

          Since I had both a router and a software firewall back then, I had a perfectly stable XP system.

          In any case, that isn’t a measure a stability but security as you said so it’s silly to bring it up. It’s not even like Blaster existed from Day 1 so the argument is even more ridiculous.

          • zealeus
          • 11 years ago

          Regarding stability of upgrading a motherboard, that’s to be expected. Windows uses its hardware abstraction layer (HAL) to communicate between the OS and the hardware itself, which is compiled when you first install Windows. The motherboard is a HUGE change to the HAL, and ideally, the kernel (containing the HAL) would be recompiled after such a huge change- which is done by reinstalling Windows.

          Regarding hardware errors, a) you can’t always blame that on the OS- hardware to crap up, and b) that’s why MS wants you to use digitally signed drivers. Trying to maintain a functional OS with 1000s of different possible hardware components and many more device drivers isn’t easy. This is exactly why Apple prefers to keeo the MAC and iPhone closes- so their systems can be stable, which is a LOT easier to do without all the hardware issues. MAC OS X might be nicer, but I sure as hell prefer the open hardware platform windows affords.

          Also, I’d like to see how the MAC OS operates when you change the motherboard. After all, MACs are quite popular for changing out and upgrading components, no?

        • adisor19
        • 11 years ago

        I’m not referring so much to hardware stability as to OS stability. I’ve had so many ridiculous issues with Bluetooth on Vista. It’s completely stupid that by default the Bluetooth stack in Vista doesn’t even support the Stereo Audio Profile (A2DP). Come on, this thing has been out for years now, yet it’s not even present in Vista SP1 ?!

        Little but annoying bugs in Vista has given me troubles over and over again. And i’m not even gonna start talking about the whole activation BS..

        Adi

          • zgirl
          • 11 years ago

          How about the fact that the same bluetooth module doesn’t work with XP and Vista? Don’t believe me, spec out a Dell laptop there is an option for a Vista module and a XP module.

          I know users who have had to get their module replaced after an upgrade to Vista. Cause the old module doesn’t work with it.

          Gotta love that.

            • adisor19
            • 11 years ago

            Funny you mention that, as i’ve been hit with this issue here at work. We order Dell Latitude D630 laptop and they come with the Dell 360 bluetooth module that is pre-flashed with a made for Vista firmware. Since we are not idiots, we actually image this thing with XP so that we have policy control on it when it is joined on our Server 2003 domain. Because XP doesn’t know how to handle the module, we have to flash it with a firmware DOWNGRADE from Dell. This is absolutely mind blowing and Dell can’t do anything about it but to apologize for MS.

            Adi

      • floodo1
      • 11 years ago

      yepp OSX ftw 🙂

      windows is beholden to its past, so they cant make too many changes. this is actually why i havent switched to vista….because on one hand its so much like XP and on the other I hate the changes 🙂

      maybe i’ll get used to vista later this year…..dual boot OSX (for everything but games) & vista (for dx10)

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 11 years ago

      Hear hear. OS X for the win(dows).

      • no51
      • 11 years ago

      The thing with trying out OSX is that its steep entry level barrier. You’d have to buy apple hardware. Unless you were looking for another computer, trying out OSX has little appeal. I have several P3’s collecting dust that would happily accept linux. You could cry “hackintosh,” but why? Maybe once EFI becomes more mainstream maybe the hackintosh would be a viable entry point.

        • srg86
        • 11 years ago

        Yeah, no way do I want Apple’s vendor lock-in.

          • adisor19
          • 11 years ago

          What lock in ? Yes, you buy the initial hardware from Apple but you’re free to upgrade it with anything you want from anybody you want. Many hardware device makers now provide OS X drivers. If the initial choice in terms of base hardware does not meet your needs (really ?), then yes, vendor lock in as you call it, is a problem.

          Adi

            • Usacomp2k3
            • 11 years ago

            You can use a 3870X2 in OSX?

            • Forge
            • 11 years ago

            Have you ever used a Mac? No lock-in? Tell that to my buddy Walter, who has a new 8800GT in his Mac Pro that works great under the Vista Boot Camp install but not at all in OSX.

            Apple’s answer? The older Mac Pros won’t support that card, buy one of the newer 2008 Mac Pro models and it’ll work fine there.

            I defend Apple on a lot of points, lock-in is NOT one of them.

            Any time your OEM tells you that the graphics card you bought from them directly will never work on the computer you bought from them directly, and that you should ‘simply’ splash out 3K$ for a slightly newer same-specs computer to fix it….

            • CB5000
            • 11 years ago

            The drivers aren’t even available for pretty much any Nvidia card under OSX. Geforce 8 and below drivers are available for linux, etc but not OSX. I doubt getting a new Mac pro would even make a difference.

            • crazybus
            • 11 years ago

            New Mac Pros ship with the 8800GT as on option. The Macbook Pro has used a 8600GT for a long time. Above that I’ve had my 8600GTS running on a hackintosh. Clearly there is support for Geforce 8-series product in OS X.

            • adisor19
            • 11 years ago

            Many manufacturers don’t bother creating drivers for a platform where it is very rare for the users to upgrade. It’s sad but true.

            Adi

            • adisor19
            • 11 years ago

            Hi Forge. This is not an example of Vendor Lock in. In fact, this is an example of the manufacturer having totally messed up the motherboard design/bios where the card will no longer work in one machine due to this compatibility. If this was intended, then yes it is a vendor lock in, however there is no proof that Apple intentionally did this in the first place so it looks like a compatibility issue.

            Adi

        • adisor19
        • 11 years ago

        The entry point is 600$ for Mac Mini. And yes the OS X Leopard os is included for free so there is no additional 200$ MS tax for it.

        I don’t think the point of entry is too high at 600$. TR should bite and give it a try. At least for comparison’s sakes.

        Here’s some ideas :

        Adobe CS3 performance under XP, Vista and OS X.

        Just a suggestion,

        Adi

          • Deli
          • 11 years ago

          $600 is shadload of $ for trying out a new OS.
          Home Premium costs ~$100 now.

            • adisor19
            • 11 years ago

            You get a freakin computer for that 600$. Hell, subtract 200$(or more if you compare to Vista Ultimate) and it’s 400$ for the hardware in this case for a brand new UltraSFF C2D equipped computer that can also run your XP, Vista, Linux and anything else your home made PC does.

            Adi

            • Mithent
            • 11 years ago

            You get a new computer for $600 (albeit a pretty much un-upgradeable one; SFF could be good or bad depending on if you need it), but you might not want one. It’s only decent value if you wanted a SFF machine anyway.

          • A_Pickle
          • 11 years ago

          Meanwhile, on the Windows side, apparently laden with that “$200 MS tax,” computers routinely sell for $399 and $499. Oftentimes, laptops sell for $549 or $599.

          But yeah. Damn that Microsoft tax and their… crap…

      • StashTheVampede
      • 11 years ago

      I’ve added Macs and OSX at home (I am no switcher). What do I get with OSX that I really like: LESS applications trying to drive my experience (Apple doesn’t let them).

      When I’m on a Windows machine, it seems that EVERY application has to be in my face about upgrading, loading, controlling some form of experience. Think of it this way: if Dell wants a repeat customer, they MUST brand the user experience with Dell otherwise this person will quickly forget who they bought it from. The same will be said about AV software, Adobe apps and Microsoft themselves.

      Apple owns the OS and hardware (minus hackintosh, yes), so the only people that “get in my face” is Apple (the lesser of many evils, I suppose). There are MANY things I simply hate about OSX, but there is also a lot of good.

      Their hardware has been a sloppy boat for me. My first PowerMac G5 was a solid rock and I hated selling it (PPC was dead, Intel is the new OSX). My iMac went through two replacements before I had #3 die in about six months time. The current iMac (less than a week now) is somewhat flaky after they re-imaged, but I’m hoping a wipe/clean will fix it right up. My two minis have been good (g4/intel c2d), so I’m hoping they stay the same.

    • Dposcorp
    • 11 years ago

    q[

      • thecoldanddarkone
      • 11 years ago

      Are you trying to start a flame war?

      I know I haven’t had that problem on the network I work on, but it obviously exists.

      As for user error, today I had soneone come in and tell me that their laptop won’t wake up from sleep. What was the problem, she didn’t update the drivers that were showing up in WU in the optional part…

    • indeego
    • 11 years ago

    “Then, we downloaded the x64 Service Pack 1 standalone installer from Microsoft’s Download Center, installed it, and ran our suite of benchmarks again.”

    You did wait for file reindexing and various other “resets” to complete, rightg{

    • Kulith
    • 11 years ago

    so i keep reading different things about sp1, some say its great and have benchmarks to show that vista is now much better than xp, and others say it sux.

    Anybody know why sp1 still hasn’t come up on my windows update? I thought it was supposed to by now, I don’t feel like downloading it otherwise.

      • provoko
      • 11 years ago

      Did you use vlite pre-sp1? You’re supposed to delete a reg entry if you did use vlite.

        • Kulith
        • 11 years ago

        I didn’t use vlite, i never did anything at all wtih any prerelease sp1’s.

        #57 I think I only have english and spanish installed.

        I don’t particularly care why sp1 isn’t showing up in windows update, its just that I don’t want it to be because somethings wrong with my computer.

      • Kent_dieGo
      • 11 years ago

      Language Packs other than the 6 currently supported will block SP1 installation.

      • Forge
      • 11 years ago

      You probably have one of the bad drivers that MS mentioned repeatedly in every Vista SP1 announcement. There were some bad drivers that broke spectacularly under SP1. Those OEMs are now getting the thumbscrews from MS to update them. Just as soon as you update them, or the manufacturer pushes new versions out through Windows Update, SP1 will magically appear in your update lists.

    • Saber Cherry
    • 11 years ago

    “This just in – bloated OS brings world whole new level of FAT”

    /[

      • titan
      • 11 years ago

      I don’t know how Vista handles this, but my only option in XP was to format my thumb drive as FAT. I’m willing to bet that a lot of what determines the file system used depends on the size of the drive. So, I don’t think we’ll see exFAT on thumb drives anytime soon.

        • crazybus
        • 11 years ago

        You should have at least FAT and FAT32 as options, FAT generally being the better choice for drives >2GiB. To use NTFS you usually have to enable write caching on the flash drive and then format using the command line utility.

          • Forge
          • 11 years ago

          You mean <2GB. That’s ‘less than 2 gigabytes’.

          FAT = good for under 2GB.
          FAT32 = good for 2-64GB.
          NTFS = Only for really big files or all-Windows shops.

            • Saber Cherry
            • 11 years ago

            Ubuntu can handle NTFS to some extent, or maybe to an unlimited extent. My biggest worry about Ubuntu is that I hear the native file system has terrible performance, so I’m wondering if it is possible to run a full install of it (v8.04) entirely on an NTFS partition, and I think the answer is yes.

            • SuperSpy
            • 11 years ago

            I think the NTFS driver in linux is to the point most would consider stable. So, barring any issues with the bootloader, I would think you could get linux running entirely on an NTFS volume.

            • bthylafh
            • 11 years ago

            There’s nothing wrong with ext3’s performance. Whoever’s been telling you that is an idiot.

            • crazybus
            • 11 years ago

            Of course wrt >/< I meant <2GiB. My bad.

            • A_Pickle
            • 11 years ago

            GiB? What the hell is that? Why not… you know… GB?

            • crazybus
            • 11 years ago

            A Gibibyte is 2^30 or 1073741824 bytes.
            A Gigabyte is 10^9 or 1000000000 bytes.

            File system limits are based on power-of-two addressing, so rather than being ambiguous I used the GiB unit.

            e.g.: The maximum size of a FAT16 partition using 32KB clusters is

            (2^16)*(32*1024) bytes = 2GiB

        • Forge
        • 11 years ago

        Vista offers to format my USB sticks exFAT. I tell it exNo.

          • provoko
          • 11 years ago

          So is this exFAT any better than FAT32 for USB?

          Do macs, linux, and winXP/95/98 read from exFAT?

            • bthylafh
            • 11 years ago

            q[

            • crazybus
            • 11 years ago

            q[<...and Access Control Lists.<]q Which Vista SP1 doesn't even support yet.

            • crazybus
            • 11 years ago

            FAT32 has quite a few limitations. Some being the 4GiB maximum file size, max 1000 files in a single directory, and quite large cluster sizes once you get into larger volume sizes. Additionally, FAT32 lacks access permissions and a free space bitmap, the latter which increases fragmentation and reduces performance. The lack of file system journaling also increases chance of unrecoverable corruption.

            For the most part, these limitations are trumped by the near universal compatibility of FAT32. NTFS being not particularly suitable for removable flash media, exFAT seeks to address some of these limitations. Without at the very least backporting to Windows XP, I don’t really see it taking off.

    • wingless
    • 11 years ago

    I hope Intel gives us GPU-less gaming with x86 CPUs just so we can ditch APIs like DX10 and have games developed for Linux. The best Windows is XP Pro x64/Sever 2003. Everything else is just glitter on s**t (Aero on Vista).

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      Even in a world where it’s all just x86 vector code, there’s still going to be APIs. Or do you think every game developer is going to start out by writing their own software renderer? Heck, these days a fair number of developers aren’t even writing to DX or OpenGL, they’re writing to Source or Unreal instead.

    • toyota
    • 11 years ago

    SP1 still does some of the same stupid crap though. Sometimes I will delete or move something and may take several seconds even though its small like a picture. Other times I can delete or move something larger and it does it instantly. Its almost as if it gets confused sometimes and simple things like that have NEVER been consistent with Vista where as on my XP machine that has never happened.

    Also the longer I leave my Vista comp on the longer it takes to open simple things like “add or remove programs” from the control panel. My XP machine is very old and weak yet it is on for weeks at a time and everything is snappy and responsive on it as for as opening up or folders or transferring files. I dont hate Vista but Im still not impressed with it.

      • MattMojo
      • 11 years ago

      I have a Vista Ultimate 32-bit machine running 24/7 (only reboots with critical patches are automatically installed) — and it remains stable, fast, and my tv (it is a HTPC build) always works flawless — not to mention my blue-rays play without hiccup EVERY time.

      I have 3 Vista machines and all run perfect with no issues — I have not upgraded to SP1 because I have had no cause to — as everything plays and runs fine.

      I may be in the minority with Vista but EVERY installation I have seen it on has worked without issue (which is about 13 installs on 13 different computers).

      Mojo

      • Fastidious
      • 11 years ago

      Haven’t had that issue. I had an uptime over a month on Vista 64 Premium without any delays. IIRC there was a bug that has since been patched that might have been causing that.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 11 years ago

      l[

        • provoko
        • 11 years ago

        XP takes forever to open up add and remove, at least 2 minutes, I do have lots installed.

          • BenBasson
          • 11 years ago

          I’ve never understood why it takes so damn long. Is there any way to speed it up by disabling whatever the hell it’s doing? All I want is a list and the ability to uninstall.

        • Usacomp2k3
        • 11 years ago

        Yeah, I hate how long it takes to load in XP. Vista has a much better program manager from that perspective IMHO.

      • leor
      • 11 years ago

      I have the same issue, sometimes the system just seems like it’s getting confused, and I have a system that should run everything perfectly flawlessly.

      Also for some reason (creative?) my sound cuts out and I have to reboot to get it back.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This