Windows 7 build 6956 performance test

Windows 7 build 6956 performance test

Summary: My Hardware 2.0 mailbag is brimming with Windows 7 related questions. The main question on everyone's lips is the obvious one - How does Windows 7 stack up against Vista?This test will pitch Windows 7 build 6956 32-bit against Windows Vista RTM 32-bit and Windows Vista SP1 32-bit.


My Hardware 2.0 mailbag is brimming with Windows 7 related questions. The main question on everyone's lips is the obvious one - How does Windows 7 stack up against Vista?

Important note: Before I go any further I feel I need to make a point, and make it clear. The build I'm testing of Windows 7 (build 6956) is a pre-beta build, and as a rule pre-beta builds aren't known for their performance. That said, the performance of this build should give us a clue as to how the OS is coming along.

This test will pitch Windows 7 build 6956 32-bit against Windows Vista RTM 32-bit and Windows Vista SP1 32-bit.

Check out the Windows 7 build 6956 benchmark gallery

UPDATE: I've added Windows XP data to the data below. Check out this post for details.

The System

Here’s the spec of the system I used:

  • Phenom 9700 quad-core processor
  • ATI Radeon 3850 graphics card with 256MB RAM
  • ASUS M3A32-MVP Deluxe motherboard
  • 2GB (2 x 1GB) Corsair Dominator CM2X1024-8500C5D RAM
  • Western Digital Raptor 10,000RPM 150GB primary hard drive
  • Western Digital Caviar 7,200RPM 500GB secondary hard drive

Each system was fully patched with all patches available from Windows Update. 

Other noteworthy points:

  • No optimizations were carried out other than to process idle tasks and defrag the hard drive between each test. 
  • Windows Defender was left on for all tests. 
  • The Microsoft Windows Vista SP1 testing guidelines document was followed closely.

The Tests

For this test we’re going to use one real life test and three synthetic benchmarks:

  • Boot-up time
  • PassMark PerformanceTest
  • PCMark Vantage

Next -->

Boot Up Times

This is a simple test which involves measuring the time it takes to go from the boot loader to a usable desktop. 

  • Windows 7 build 6956 Boot up time: 20 sec
  • Vista 32-bit RTM Boot up time: 27 sec
  • Vista 32-bit SP1 Boot up time: 31 sec

Note: Lower score is better.

Advantage: Windows 7

Next -->

PassMark PerformanceTest

PassMark PerformanceTest 6 is a comprehensive benchmarking app that examines several key aspects of the system:

  • CPU tests Mathematical operations, compression, encryption, SSE, 3DNow! instructions and more
  • 2D graphics tests Drawing lines, bitmaps, fonts, text, and GUI elements
  • 3D graphics tests Simple to complex DirectX 3D graphics and animations
  • Disk tests Reading, writing and seeking within disk files
  • Memory tests Allocating and accessing memory speed and efficiency
  • CD / DVD test Test the speed of your CD or DVD drive 

Here are the results:

  • Windows 7 build 6956 Score: 1007.5
  • Vista 32-bit RTM Score: 1001.3
  • Vista 32-bit SP1 Score: 986.6

Note: Higher score is better.

Advantage: Windows 7

Next -->

PCMark Vantage

Next we move onto PCMark Vantage. A PCMark score is a measure of your computer’s performance across a variety of common tasks such as viewing and editing photos, video, music and other media, gaming, communications, productivity and security.

  • Windows 7 build 6956 Score: 5233
  • Vista 32-bit RTM Score: 4807
  • Vista 32-bit SP1 Score: 4762

Note: Higher score is better.

Advantage: Windows 7

Next -->


Next, CINEBENCH. CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. 

  • Windows 7 build 6956 1CPU Score: 2076 xCPU Score: 7370 Multi-proc speedup: 3.55x OpenGL: 3183
  • Vista 32-bit RTM 1CPU Score: 2172 xCPU Score: 7808 Multi-proc speedup: 3.59x OpenGL: 3960
  • Vista 32-bit SP1 1CPU Score: 2084 xCPU Score: 7140 Multi-proc speedup: 3.43x OpenGL: 3458

Note: Higher score is better.

Advantage: Windows Vista 32-bit RTM

Next -->


What we have here is one set of data points for one particular system, but I think that the results are very promising. The fact that Windows 7 comes out top in three out of four of these tests at this early stage is very promising indeed. The boot time and PCMark Vantage results are particularly good.

I remember benchmarking an early pre-beta of Vista and it was awful compared to XP at the time. At this stage I can only assume that the RTM release of Windows 7 will offer more performance than this build, and will at the RTM stage be better than Vista. This is great for those who are concerned about the OS soaking up too much system resources.

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Topics: Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Processors, Windows

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  • Windows 7 will rule

    What about Windows 7 x64 6956? Am sure it will outperform it's x86 version just like the older Mx builds did. And finally the RTM version will be rock solid and ground breaking :)
    • The reason Adrian tested x86

      ... is because only the x86 build of Windows 7 6956 was leaked. It's the primary reason why I stuck to my Vista sp1/win7 6801 install, since I have 8gb of ram and dual graphics cards. Under 32bit OS's I'm down to 2.8gb of memory.

      I'm glad to see that windows 7 build 6956 has improved over Vista SP1 - however, like everyone else here I would like to see XP SP2 benchies. Additionally, I would also like to see comparisons to 6801 as well, to see what progress microsoft has made between 6801 and 6956.
      Alan Burns
      • Actually ...

        ... I do have some earlier x64 builds, but I went with the 32-bit builds for this test because if I went 64-bit people would complain!
        Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
        • Who would complain?

          And why.
          • Obviously

            those who wanted x86 tests.

            And they'd complain for the same reason we're seeing x64 users complain about the x86 tests, just there'd be far more of them.
          • I want IA64 tests!!!

            Somewhere, someone will always find something to complain about heh?

            It's sad really.
        • OF COURSE they would, because

          thats what people do.
          Forget the old addage, "You can't please all the people all the time", because it seems one can't please any of the people any of the time.
          You go with 32-bit, people complain you didn't do 64-bit. You do 64-bit, and I swear, the same people will complain you didn't do 32-bit. If you went through all the trouble to do both, people will complain you did both.
          So, I suppose we should complain because you didn't compare with Windows 98 and ME, and 3.11 then compare that to all the Linux variants, and OSX, and maybe you should be creating your own OS, and comparing to that. Oh, and while you're at it, can you tweak it so you can do 128 bit, cuz I'd really like to see how that will run, 10 years from now, on today's technology.
          Ok, maybe people arent THAT bad; just seems like it sometimes. Or, at least, I hope they really arent.
          Anyway, thanks for the tests. It does seem to be indicating there is an improvement in efficiency.
    • Rock solid and groundbreaking ... LOL

      Just like everything from self-interested-greed-soft?
    • Get an Xbox to Play Games and Dump Windows

      Move to linux. Vista is a nightmare. Since Windows 7 will be based on Vista, why wait around to get disappointed?
      • Better yet, get a PlayStation.

        If you feed the monster it will continue to hinder progress.
        • I'll have to agree

          to a PS3; altho, Im no fan of Sony, either. And, I dont like the wii.
          Unfortunately, 360 came out first, and I did an exchange for the old XB, and well, that first couple rounds of 360 were worthless. I never had the chance for game play, and still the 360 went dead on me.
      • LOL

        damn you are such an idiot. Have you ever used Windows server 2008? it's based on Vista too. I use both Windows server 2008 EE x64 and Vista Ultimate x64 on Intel Core i7 4 GB RAM and they rock! I don't use Windows just for gaming, I do game programming too @Direct3D 10 so forget LinS. Don't get me wrong but I have used Mac OS X and Linux but there's no way am moving away from Windows because it's the best OS out there. You know it's personal preference. For me both Crap OS X and LinS suck. :)
        • Good for you....

          But with Mac and Linux, they always work as advertised. And every other release doesn't fail like with Windows (Me, Vista).
    • "Windows 7 will rule"

      I read almost the same thing on these same forums about Vista. "Vista rocks!", "Vista Rules!" etc. Problem is that the end result is "Vista sucks!" We'll see.
  • Netbook? No one would want it.

    Hey, why don't you install OSX on a calculator?
    • wtf?

      Windows 7 is supposed to replace XP on netbooks, IIRC. So it's performance there is actually quite relevant.

      They did put OS X on a calculator. It's called an iPhone.
      • ROFLOL (no text)

        • ditto nt

    • No need for that

      Any computer MacOS is installed turn into a useless overgrown calculator.

      Vista run great on any Atom based system so i think that win7 will be even better.
      • I've heard of that

        So why are there no popular Atom-based systems sold with Vista?