No, Vista DOESN'T scream past XP in gaming tests

When I came across Ed Bott's post this morning called "Vista screams past XP in gaming tests!" I was intrigued. Yes, my testing over the past few months had shown that gaming under Vista had now evolved to the point where it is no worse than under XP, but as for Vista screaming past XP, I'd not seen that yet, so I was intrigued.

When I came across Ed Bott's post this morning called "Vista screams past XP in gaming tests!" I was intrigued. Yes, my testing over the past few months had shown that gaming under Vista had now evolved to the point where it is no worse than under XP, but as for Vista screaming past XP, I'd not seen that yet, so I was intrigued.

The subject of Ed's post is a piece over on ExtremeTech called "Gaming Performance: Windows Vista SP1 vs. XP SP3", which, as you can guess from the title, compares the gaming performance of Windows Vista SP1 and XP SP3. Rather than have you dig through the data, I'll give you the relevant links:

Ed then pulls one portion of data out from the ExtremeTech piece:

So, in the PCMark05 test, Vista SP1 beats XP SP3 by some 1,000 points. If that was all the data, it might be time to say that Vista has not only caught up with XP, but has now left the old OS eating its dust.

Note: ExtremeTech doesn't give us enough info, but I'm guessing that a good part of the 1,000 point difference is down to disk access.

But this isn't the whole story ...

ExtremeTech also put the operating systems up against 3DMark06, and in this test, Vista isn't screaming past anything:

3dmark06 - vista vs xp

Let's now move on from looking at synthetic testing and instead take a look at the real world game testing results. The article looked at three games:

  • World in Conflict
  • Supreme Commander
  • Crysis

ExtremeTech is a little unclear as to how this testing was carried out - did they benchmark a cut scene of the game or a level or what? We don't get to find out, but we do get the results, and again, Vista isn't doing any screaming past anything. In fact, the best score that Vista SP1 achieves over XP SP3 is a measly 2fps in Supreme Commander in low detail. Big whoop.

So, there you have it. The 1,000 point lead that Vista SP1 had over XP SP3 in the synthetic PCMark05 benchmark translates into, well, a whole lotta nothing in real-world tests. And this pretty much fits in with the results of the testing that I've done. Sure, there's no reason for gamers to avoid Vista now, but if you're migrating from XP to Vista, don't expect to see any tangible gains just yet (unless you get your kicks from running PCMark05 repeatedly).

Let me suggest a couple of alternative titles for ExtremeTech's article:

  • Vista catches up with XP ... finally
  • Vista beats XP in photo-finish

Bottom line, nearly 18 months after its release, Vista is now on a level footing with XP when it comes to gaming. And I'm almost certain that any performance gains we get from this point on will be down to drivers because I'm almost certain that Vista is now about as fast as it'll get.

I'm beginning to think that Ed's title was written tongue-in-cheek!

Thoughts?