Pluralsight blog Where devs, IT admins & creative pros go for news, tips, videos and more.
Supercharge your skills with expert-authored tech & creative training. Unlimited. Online. Get it now →
March 18, 2009

Performance Shootout: Microsoft’s XP, Vista, and Windows 7


Microsoft OS RaceAdrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet did a performance test pitting the different Microsoft operating system against each other. He wanted to see how the different Windows 7 builds would compare to Vista and XP. This unofficial performance competition was done knowing that Microsoft’s latest OS is still in beta, but the author thought it would be a good clue to how Windows 7 is progressing and maybe even how it will eventually fare against the older operating systems. Check out if Windows 7 can beat Vista and XP!

Here are the main details of what was tested:

The experiment tested the following five operating systems:

  • Windows XP SP3 32-bit
  • Windows Vista SP1 32-bit
  • Windows 7 beta 1 build  7000 32-bit
  • Windows 7 beta 1 build  7000 64-bit
  • Windows 7 build 7048 64-bit

There are 31 real world scenario tests. Here are some examples:

  • Installing the operating system
  • Booting up and shutting down
  • Moving 100MB of JPEG files from one hard drive to another
  • Opening a complex Excel document including formula and charts
  • And even tests running video games like Call of Duty

Each test was done on two separate desktop systems:

  • An AMD Phenom 9700 2.4GHz system fitted with an ATI Radeon 3850 and 4GB of RAM
  • An Intel Pentium Dual Core E2200 2.2GHz fitted with an NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS and 1GB of RAM

The result of each test is scored with a simple point system:

  • 1 point for the fastest OS
  • 2 points for second place
  • 3 points for third
  • 4 for forth
  • 5 points for last place

Are you brimming with anticipation to know what he found? Here are the results:

  • Windows 7 is, overall, better than both Vista and XP.
  • As Windows 7 progresses, it’s getting better (or at least the 64-bit editions are).
  • On a higher-spec system, 64-bit is best.
  • On a lower-spec system, 32-bit is best.

I think it the analysis itself is super interesting and the results exciting! I can’t wait to see Adrian’s next version done with an actual Windows 7 release candidate.

You can see a full list of 31 tests, charts detailing the results of each test, and more about the experiment on Adrian Kingsley-Hughes’s blog.

About the Author

has a Bachelors of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Iowa and a Masters of Science in Computer Science from Northern Illinois University. During her three years teaching in public schools she taught computer skills to students and peers, maintained the schools’ networks and hardware, ran the libraries, and helped to facilitate technology throughout the school district. At Train Signal Lisa manages the production of training videos, does video editing, and helps with technical support.