Windows XP outshines Vista in benchmarking test

Windows XP outshines Vista in benchmarking test

Summary: In a recent test, XP with the beta Service Pack 3 performed two times faster than Vista with the beta Service Pack 1


New tests have revealed that XP with the beta Service Pack 3 has twice the performance of Vista, even with its long-awaited Service Pack 1.

Vista's first service pack, to be released early next year, is intended to boost the operating system's performance. However, when Vista with the Service Pack 1 (SP1) beta was put through benchmark testing by researchers at Devil Mountain Software the improvement was not overwhelming — leaving the latest Windows iteration outshined by its predecessor.

Vista, both with and without SP1, performed over two times slower than XP with SP3 in the test, taking over 80 seconds to complete the test, compared to the beta SP3-enhanced XP's 35 seconds.

Vista's performance with the service pack increased less than two percent compared to performance without SP1 — much lower than XP's SP3 improvement of 10 percent.

The tests, run on a Dell XPS M1710 test bed with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo CPU and 1GB of RAM, put Microsoft Office 2007 through a set of productivity tasks, including creating a compound document and supporting workbooks and presentation materials.

In response to the test, a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement that, although the company understood the interest in the service packs, they are "still in development" and will continue to evolve before their release. "It has always been our goal to deliver service packs that meet the full spectrum of customer needs," the spokesperson said.

If SP1 does not evolve sufficiently, it could be another setback for Vista, with many businesses waiting to adopt the operating system until the service pack is released.

A year after its launch, only 13 percent of businesses have adopted Vista, according to a survey of IT professionals.

Microsoft admits that the launch has not gone as well as it would have liked. "Frankly, the world wasn't 100 percent ready for Windows Vista," corporate vice president Mike Sievert said in a recent interview at Microsoft's partner conference in Denver.

Microsoft has not done enough to make users aware of the benefits of Vista, NPD analyst Chris Swenson said at the conference. "The problem is that there are a lot of complex new features in Vista, and you need to educate consumers about them... Much like Apple educating the masses about the possibilities of the iPhone, or focusing on a single feature or benefit of the Mac OS in the Mac versus PC commercials, Microsoft should be educating the masses about the various new features in a heavy rotation of Vista in TV, radio and print ads. But the volume of ads has paled in comparison to the ads run for XP."

XP has proved to be more popular than its younger sibling, with the first six months of US retail sales of box copies of Vista 59.7 percent below those of XP's in the equivalent period after its release.

Microsoft has had to allow PC manufacturers to continue to sell XP on new PCs, setting a deadline for the last sale at 31 January next year. However, the pressure from manufacturers and consumers has been so great that Microsoft has been forced to increase the deadline for another five months until June.

According to Microsoft, sales of Vista have been picking up, with the software giant reporting 88 million units sold.

Ina Fried of CNET News contributed to this article.

Topic: Operating Systems

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • Of course Vista sales will show increase

    Well, if companies sell it with new PCs then of course it will show an increase.


    The $64m question is how many of those PCs are rolled out with Vista still on them. I know of a lot of people who got a new PC with Vista on it and after an average of 2 weeks (or 24 hours in my own case), removed Vista and reinstalled XP.

    Lets Vista is bad, and was a bad release in the first place (How many versions are there now). XP has problems, but at least it works (well sometimes it does) and most software is written to run on it.

    Vista will always struggle because of bad press and not least because most IT departments just don't trust it -- ourselves included.
  • XP is far superior...

    I find that XP is far superior to Vista and is more stable with better reliability. Around one year ago, Microsoft recalled all versions of XP and retailers were barred from selling XP. PC Manufacturers were also barred from installing XP. However, this action by Microsoft, to force vista sales, backfired as many consumers started requesting "Open Source OSs" on their new PCs. Large organisations, companies, organisations etc. started looking towards "Open Source" as well. This rang Microsoft's alarm bells and they finally understood that their customers were not going to be forced into purchasing something they do not want and alternative OSs are now available (for free). Microsoft stood to lose a large proportion of their dominant market share if they continued with the forced sales. They then reversed their decision and rereleased XP with a couple of extra years of support and a third SP. Retailers and manufacturers have been instructed to continue installing Vista but "if a customer requests XP, XP can be sold or installed". Therefore, it is now clear that the advice to any person / company etc. that is intending to purchase a new PC / PCs, they have to request that XP is installed. IF they don't make the request at the time of ordering, they can not get XP. However, if after requesting XP, they find Vista installed, the retailer / manufacturer has to remove Vista and install XP at no charge (Sales of Goods and Services Acts). Finally, I believe that Microsoft should scrap Vista and spend another two years improving and further developing it before rereleasing it again. Each Microsoft OS is supposed to be an improvement on the last one and yet 98 was a major improvement on 95, 98SE was as bad as 95 and XP is nowhere near as good as 98. The best OS Microsoft ever released was 98 (not the SE (Second Edition) version though as that was as unstable as 95.
  • Yeah lets recall vista and replace it with 98!!!

    I do agree that at this moment in time businesses not home users should implement Xp as it is more stable and is compatible with most if not all hardware or applications you wish to use.
    However how can you suggest recalling vista for two years, we'll be talking about Vienna then. I myself have been looking at opensource as opose to vista. But change will happen whether thats linux or vista no one can stop that its just progressing technology. Yeah Vista may not be performing like xp but it has its merits and im sure good things can be made of it. You can still buy XP machines if you want to if you have a problem with vista just do that.
  • For which system was the benchmark system written??

    As a professional user as long as I installed Vista (bought at first pre-sales occasion) I haven't seen any of application to run slower than on XP. On the contrary, Vista is much, much faster.

    I wonder, on what environment was the benchmark written and for which system.
  • For Windows Systems

    Microsoft make a great deal about compatibility with existing software so even though these benchmarks were not probably not written specifically to run on vista this is still a very valid, there being no software currently around that is vista specific and probably won't be any for some time.

    Vista is slower because it does a lot of background processing to keep all the eye candy and desk toys working so it is hardly surprising that is runs applications at half the speed. Microsoft misread the market for Vista and produced something that many people just don't want. However even given the feature set of Vista its performance seems to suggest a poorly engineered OS, which isn't going to be fixed by a service pack. Even programmers who worked on it don't seem to have a good word to say.
  • 98SE the best ????

    You seem to have missed out the most stable MS OS release of all. Windows 2000 Pro.
    chris hirst
  • 2000 sp4

    I agree i dont think any network administrator would insist these machines be taken away from a network if not neccesary. Any network administrator who still has 98 or earlier on a desktop for no good reason would be perculiar.