Over the weekend I've been spending time with the latest leaked build of Windows 7 - build 7057. While this isn't the release candidate (RC) build that some people claim it is, this build is certainly pretty close to being RC.
How can I tell that we're close to seeing an RC build? Well, mostly it's a gut feeling based on the fact that features-wise Windows 7 has been finished for a long time and that now Microsoft seems to be at the stage of adding new wallpapers, tweaking default account pictures, and generally polishing a few aspects of the UI. However, I don't want to underestimate the importance of getting a look at this build, because it's the first 32-bit build I've seen since the beta 1 release (which was released back in January, but had a build date going back to December 08). Only the 64-bit flavor of build 7048 emerged earlier this month. Build 7057 also the freshest build - the build date stamp, 090305-2000 translates into 5th Mar 2009, 8:00pm - so this is literally just over a week old.
Check out the Windows 7 build 7057 gallery!
Rather than give you a blow-by-blow account of everything that's different about this build compared to every previous build that we've seen (I'll leave that to others), I'm going to concentrate on the one area that interests me (and many of my readers) the most - performance.
Note: Before I go any further, I feel the need to emphasize that build 7057 is still a beta build and nothing can be taken as being final at this stage.
Important note: I have on several occasions contacted Microsoft for feedback on benchmarking Windows 7 and at this point the company is not ready to discuss performance testing.
Rather than publish a series of synthetic benchmark results for the different operating systems and builds (Microsoft frowns upon benchmarking 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 to find out which OS comes out top.
Let’s look at the test systems and the tests …
The tests -->
The test systems
I’ve used two desktop systems as the test machines:
- An AMD Phenom 9700 2.4GHz system fitted with an ATI Radeon 3850 and 4GB of RAM
- An Intel Pentium Dual Core E2200 2.2GHz fitted with an NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS and 1GB of RAM
There are 31 tests in all, most of which are self-explanatory:
- Install OS - Time it takes to install the OS
- Boot up - Average boot time to usable desktop
- Shut down - Average shut down time
- Move 100MB files - Move 100MB of JPEG files from one hard drive to another
- Move 2.5GB files - Move 2.5GB of mixed size files (ranging from 1MB to 100MB) from one hard drive to another
- Network transfer 100MB files - Move 100MB of JPEG files from test machine to NAS device
- Network transfer 2.5GB files - Move 2.5GB of mixed size files (ranging from 1MB to 100MB) from test machine to NAS device
- Move 100MB files under load - Move 100MB of JPEG files from one hard drive to another while ripping DVD to .ISO file
- Move 2.5GB files under load - Move 2.5GB of mixed size files (ranging from 1MB to 100MB) from one hard drive to another while ripping DVD to .ISO file
- Network transfer 100MB files under load - Move 100MB of JPEG files from test machine to NAS device while ripping DVD to .ISO file
- Network transfer 2.5GB files under load - Move 2.5GB of mixed size files (ranging from 1MB to 100MB) from test machine to NAS device while ripping DVD to .ISO file
- Compress 100MB files - Using built-in ZIP compression
- Compress 1GB files - Using built-in ZIP compression
- Extract 100MB files - Using built-in ZIP compression
- Extract 1GB files - Using built-in ZIP compression
- Compress 100MB files under load - Using built-in ZIP compression while ripping DVD to .ISO file
- Compress 1GB files under load - Using built-in ZIP compression while ripping DVD to .ISO file
- Extract 100MB files under load - Using built-in ZIP compression while ripping DVD to .ISO file
- Extract 1GB files under load - Using built-in ZIP compression while ripping DVD to .ISO file
- Install Office 2007 - Ultimate version, from DVD
- Open 10 page Word doc - Text only
- Open 100 page Word doc - Text and images
- Open simple Excel doc - Basic formatting
- Open complex Excel doc - Including formula and charts
- Burn DVD - Win 7 beta 1 .ISO to disc using CDBurnerXP
- Open 10 page PDF - Text only, using latest Adobe Reader 8
- Open 100 page PDF - Text and images, using latest Adobe Reader 8
These series of tests will pitch Windows 7 build 7057, 7048 (64-bit) and 7000 32/64-bit against Windows Vista SP1 32-bit and Windows XP SP3 32-bit.
The scoring system that I use seems to have confused some readers. It's actually very simple. We run each test for each OS in turn and the time taken to complete the task is noted (average of three runs). The fastest OS is given a score of 1, the runner ups 2, 3, 4, and respectively and the slowest OS scores a 6. The scores are added up and the OS with the lowest score (that is, the one that performed the best overall) at the end is the winner.
Let’s check out the results …
OK, so here are the results ...
After I carried out the performance test on Windows 7 build 7048 I commented that I thought some of the results were all over the place. However, on looking at this latest build, I've no doubt that not only will Windows 7 will be fast. In fact it will blow away all previous Windows OSes, including the sainted Windows XP.
Note: Why haven't I just published raw benchmark results? Simple - it's not allowed under the terms of the EULA.
So far it seems that on the hardware platforms that I've used that the 32-bit flavor of Windows 7 is faster than the Beta 1 build (significantly faster in some of the tests). Will this be true of the RC and RTM builds? Initially, I expect it to be the case unless you are throwing a lot of RAM and CPU at the OS. I suspect that the cause for this is immature drivers and that once we see an RC build vendors will put more effort into optimizing the drivers for both 32-bit and 64-bit.
I'm still confident that we're on target to see the Windows 7 RC appear sometime during April.
<< Home >>