XP SP3 vs. Vista SP1 - Which is fastest?

XP SP3 vs. Vista SP1 - Which is fastest?

Summary: In the TalkBack section on my post looking at SP3 benchmarks, _deitrich asked a really good question:Adrian, how about a comparison of XP SP3 vs Vista SP1? Oui? C'est possible? Good question!


In the TalkBack section on my post looking at SP3 benchmarks, _deitrich asked a really good question:

Adrian, how about a comparison of XP SP3 vs Vista SP1? Oui? C'est possible?

Good question! Fortunately I've already done a fair bit of the groundwork in that I used the Phenom 9700 system I have for benchmarking both XP SP3 and Vista SP1.

I benchmarked both operating systems using PassMark PerformanceTest 6.1 and bringing together the results from both tests allows me to answer _deitrich's question.

Note: The hardware configuration of the Phenom 9700 remained unchanged between the two tests and similar optimizations steps were carried out for each OS.

XP Professional:

  • XP RTM PassMark rating: 1001.4
  • XP SP2 PassMark rating: 891
  • XP SP3 PassMark rating: 990.8

Vista 32-bit:

  • Vista RTM PassMark rating: 1002.4
  • Vista SP1 PassMark rating: 972.3

Vista 64-bit:

  • Vista RTM PassMark rating: 1183.1
  • Vista SP1 PassMark rating: 1128.8

Throughout the testing the hardware platform has remained unchanged. 


The data speaks for itself. At the top of the list is Windows Vista 64-bit, while at the bottom is XP SP2. In the middle we have XP RTM, XP SP3, Vista 32-bit RTM and Vista 32-bit SP1 fighting it out. However, benchmarks scores such as Passmark don't translate well into real world performance indicators. Later on today I'll publish my gaming benchmark results which will pick up on a post I made in February. Stay tuned!

One system, one set of data points. Thoughts?

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Software, Windows

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  • Most Excellent. Thanks Adrian!

    D T Schmitz
    • Gentoo

    • yes.. thanks for all the work you put into this...

  • RE: XP SP3 vs. Vista SP1 - Which is fastest?

    It's a small point, but the question should read, "Which is faster?" The comparison is between two operating systems, not among three or more.
    • look again

      Huh? He's comparing seven options, so "fastest" is grammatically correct.
    • Both can be used

      It's grammatically correct to say, "The east fork is the shortest of the two paths." You don't necessarily have to have more than to two to use the superlative form of the adjective.
    • OS's and Versions are NOT the SAME

      The comparison was between 2 OS's! ...And the versions of each.

      What I think you mean, at least for you, is that more information is not better?!

      I thought Adrian did a great job answering the question - not too much info for me.
  • Message has been deleted.

    • it's quite a bit about speed

      That's odd, all the complaints before were about how slow Vista was. Now that doesn't matter, it's about 'value'.

      Vista, the OS, costs the same as XP OEM. Businesses aren't upgrading the OS's, they're getting Vista on new machines, so there's no added cost in hardware except the normal cycle of replacement. 2gb of RAM doesn't cost anything these days, and any dual-core CPU is plenty of power. DRM doesn't affect businesses much, either. There's also little training, because Vista mirrors XP in most areas of the OS that users access.

      If you're a single user, I'd agree, there isn't all that much reason to upgrade yet, unless you use your business machine for home use.

      I appreciate the speed because I'm much more concerned with how fast a program launches, how long it takes to print/save/transfer/etc. Now, with Vista SP1 on my older AMD/1gb RAM machine, I'm happy with the speed.

      Oh, and if Vista WAS twice as fast as XP, it would absolutely matter in value.
      • Business re-image

        Businesses don't get Vista with new machines. Maybe a small business but not enterprises. What comes on the PC in the enterprise is irrelevant as it gets wiped and imaged with the supported OS before being deployed. What's Vista buy these customers? Nothing right now. But in time that will change as software moves from being XP/Vista to Vista only. It happened with Windows 2000 and XP it will happen with XP and Vista as well. When that happens the enterprise will move to Vista.
        • It's amazing how many people...

          are completely ignorant of this. Even people who work in companies that do it. Pretty much any company with 50 or more workstations who actually have an IT staff (even if it's just one guy) are set up like this. They buy volume licenses and they either image the machine or they format the drive and install everything clean so that they can control what's going out onto the network. That's just textbook IT.
          • Not everywhere

            My current organization as well as the last place that I worked order systems preconfigured from the OEM. Why create extra work when it is not necessary?

            Laptops are the exception, but the last Dells and HPs that we got in were quite clean, and needed only our custom apps installed. Perhaps you are buying from the wrong vendors.
          • Custom Apps, and control... we tried it with OEM and

            it was a huge failure - two OEMs could not provide the same level of service that our users expect (yes they are very,very picky).
          • Pay now or pay more later

            "Why create extra work when it is not necessary?"

            I'd ask the same question right back at you. An OEM configuration is unknown and therefore harder to support. That's why they get re-imaged. It's not extra work it takes all of 20 minutes to do and the pressing of a couple of keys. Then you have the base installation with all the software the users need. It's secured as well your policy. There is nothing you don't know that is there which makes help desk calls much easier. You know exactly what version of MDAC is there, Exactly what .NET frameworks are installed, exactly what other services are running. You don't have uninstall a thing.

            In the it's a little extra work now for less work later. So it's a pay now or pay more later situation.
          • I think wires are crossed

            By OEM, you should read CFI... Where the factory burns YOUR custom image, not theirs.
          • To each his own...

            Some big businesses do the image thing because they do want to control everything the employee can touch on the computer, which keeps problems to a minimum. I worked for such an organization - about the only thing we could add or change was a desktop background.

            However, for some large, but mostly medium and small businesses, simply adding the apps they use to new systems makes sense, and may be the most cost effective.

            So, each method for those with the need is quite appropriate.
          • That's exactly right...~2500 machines here - nt

    • Poor Chad

      Wo-ho. Chad has been proven wrong, and is finding that crow hard to swallow.

      All along, you have been ranting about how slow Vista was, while I and others who actually use and support Vista have been saying that it is comparable to XP in performance and somewhat faster at some tasks. Now that you are proven wrong, you are changing your rant to value.

      OK, I checked the prices of Vista compared to XP, and guess what? Vista Business Edition is the same price as XP Pro. Not exactly an "exponential price increase." Value is about more than price, though, so let's compare features. Vista has much better security, a better firewall, much better graphics, better multitasking, and DX10 for the gamers. So, same price, more features. Sounds like decent value to me.

      But wait, what about software? So far, Vista has ran everything that I have thrown at it, including some apps that people have insisted are not Vista compatible. Some, like old versions of QuickBooks, have issues, and for good reason. Users of those apps have the choice of either upgrading their programs or staying with XP, certainly a viable choice for now. Eventually, old apps do fade away, no matter how much we wish to hold onto them.

      So, Vista offers an improved product over XP for the same price. Sounds like decent value to me.
      • Ultimate is only $20 more than XP Professional

        This cost increase is nonsense. These guys will do anything to bash Vista. The question is: Why?

        [i]"Some, like old versions of QuickBooks, have issues, and for good reason. Users of those apps have the choice of either upgrading their programs or staying with XP, certainly a viable choice for now."[/i]

        My GF uses QuickBooks and unfortunately it's not as easy as just upgrading. She needs to retain several older versions on her system in order to match the various versions used by her clients (she cannot convert their data files into the current version because then they wouldn't be able to use them). However she has all of the required versions running just fine on Vista.