by Rob Williams on June 14, 2006 in Windows
Windows Vista is system intensive, as we knew it would be. We set out to find out just -how- system intensive it is. We run a slew of benchmarks and gaming runs on both the 32-Bit and 64-Bit versions to see how they compare to XP.
Last, but not least, some of the most important benches. Currently, the Beta 2 of Vista does not go as far to support SLi. There is no real need to get too in-depth with these benchmarks, as it would be more suitable closer to release.
As it’s been mentioned before, some are recommending that 4GB of ram may be the requirement for a hardcore gamer. Of course, we will see about this in the coming months, when we finally see SLi support and the ability to run crazy resolutions. As it stands right now, chances are that 4GB will only slow down your computer, even with gaming, due to the 2T timings.
Throughout all three 3D Marks, Win x64 comes out the definitive leader. Though 3D Mark 01 is showing it’s age [heck it has been since 2002], Vista falls quite short compared to WinXP. 5,000 points is not a small chunk. The routine continues with 03 and 06. 03 scores around 11% better, and 06 around 2% better in Win x64.
For real-time gaming tests, I used BF2, HL2, Far Cry and Serious Sam 2. All four are first person shooters, and all have their fair share of eye candy and great graphics. To create the average FPS results, I manually played through the same level in each respective game, for five minutes. Results were captured with FRAPS, which supports both 32-Bit and 64-Bit versions of Windows.
3D Mark was just a tease at the differences, but these benchmarks straight out prove that Vista is not shaping up to be the ultimate gaming platform. Half-Life turned out to be 30FPS on average fast than in Vista, but Far Cry is an even bigger difference. In Vista, that one proved an average of 37.37FPS, but in Win x64 it jumped up to 76.41FPS. That’s near 40FPS difference. The evidence cannot be any clearer. Drivers can however, make -all- the difference, so hopefully we will see performance increase as the drivers mature.
This has strictly been a performance report, but performance aside, it’s obvious that Vista is not ready for retail yet. Some of the benchmarks I use most often were unable to even run, which goes to show just how fussy Vista can really be. Most of your simple applications should have no problems in running, but if you have programs that use any databases on your PC, such as Sandra, they will not likely work. Why, I have no idea, but I would love to find out.
Even beyond that, the programs that do work can easily cause problems. This was evidenced when I had to reload a level in BF2 7 times before it would actually work. Because of the nature of the crash, Vista needs some tweaking done in order to fully support the applications we use on a daily basis.
Most of our benchmarks proved one thing.. and that’s that current Windows is faster than what Vista can provide. The tested computer is not outdated by any means, but Vista did not work as seamlessly as I would hope by this point in time. The biggest issue lies within games. It’s no surprise… gaming suffered a lot on the new platform. Even after closing many services and turning off themes, games still did not come close to Windows XP performance. If this is how things are going to be, WinXP will long remain the top OS until people are forced to move to Vista due to DX10 or other technologies.
Should you give the beta a go? Of course. If you have an afternoon to goof around with, yes you will have fun experimenting with what’s new. If you are one of the few who planned on using this as their primary OS, despite the BETA tag, then you will regret it fairly quickly. Merely copying a registration key file to a products directory brought up a status bar, which lasted around 3 seconds. That wouldn’t be a big deal usually, but this key file was 1.3 kilobytes.
If Microsoft plans on sticking to the schedule, we should see the RC1 within a few weeks, and the retail version in early 2007. Because of this, that means they have to technically have the entire OS ready to ship by at least the end of September. Not to speculate, but can they rid all these problems within a 4 month period? We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
As more enhancements are made to Vista, or Beta 3 / RC1 becomes available, I will revisit the benchmarking and see if there actually have been ‘enhancements’. Stay tuned.
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