Windows 7 RC 32-bit vs. Vista SP1 32-bit - Gaming shootout

Is it worth upgrading your Vista gaming rig to Windows 7? Will you see any performance benefits? Let's find out!
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Is it worth upgrading your Vista gaming rig to Windows 7? Will you see any performance benefits? Let's find out!

Let's look at what kind of frames per second (FPS) performance we get from the two operating systems using four different graphics cards.

Note: The Windows 7 RC EULA prohibits me from disclosing actual numbers, but I'll give you enough information to get a good idea as to which OS is best for gaming.

[poll id="454"]

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Here's the testbed:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 overclocked to 3.6GHz
  • 4GB RAM (2x2GB)

Here are the graphics cards I'll be looking at:

  • Radeon HD 4870 X2
  • GeForce GTX 260
  • GeForce 8800 GTX
  • Radeon HD 4850

Here are the games we will be testing:

  • Crysis Warhead
  • Far Cry 2
  • Left 4 Dead

All games will be run at 1,680 x 1,050.

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Here are the results:


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OK, can we draw any conclusions from the data? Well, other than the fact that the results are incredibly close, and there's no real advantage to users of either ATI or NVIDIA GPUs, not really.

So, what's the takeaway? It seems to me that there's little difference between Vista SP1 and 7 RC when it comes to gaming. This is both good news and bad news. It's good news in that gamers who shift to Windows 7 won't suffer the disadvantages that those who made the leap to Vista when it was released suffered. It's bad news though for those expecting to unlock more performance from their system.

It'll be interesting to see if performance improves as drivers mature. We saw considerable improvements to gaming performance under Vista during its first year.

Any gamers out there thinking about upgrading to Windows 7?

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