How does Windows 7 beta 1 compare to Vista and XP in terms of performance? That's a question that's been hitting my inbox regularly over the past few weeks. Let's see if we can't answer it!
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 6.1.7000.0.081212-1400) is a beta build, and as a rule beta builds are usually more geared towards stability than performance. That said, the performance of this build should give us a clue as to how the OS is coming along.
Rather than publish a series of benchmark results for the three operating systems (something which Microsoft frowns upon for 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.
There are 23 tests in all, most of which are self explanatory:
These series of tests will pitch Windows 7 build 7000 32-bit against Windows Vista SP1 32-bit and Windows XP SP3 32-bit. The scoring for each of the tests is simple. The winning OS scores 1, the runner up 2 and the loser scores a 3. The scores are added up and the OS with the lowest score at the end wins.
The test systems
I've used two desktop systems as the test machines:
Here are the results of the tests for the two systems:
The bottom line is that the more I use Windows 7 the more I like it. Sure, we're looking at a beta build here and not the final code, so things could change between now and release (although realistically final code ends up being faster than beta code). Also I still have some nagging issues relating to the interface, and some concerns that the UAC changes will break applications and other code, especially installers, but overall Windows 7 beta 1 is a robust, solid bit of code.
Sure, Windows 7 is not XP, and never will be (thankfully). And if you're put off by things such as activation and DRM, then Windows isn't the OS for you (good news is there are others to choose from). But if you're looking for a solid OS then Windows 7 seems ready to deliver just that - a fast, reliable, relatively easy to use platform for your hardware and software.
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