Vista SP1 no faster than stock OS, say testing experts

"SP1 was never more than 1% or 2% faster" developer says

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) is not measurably faster than the original stock edition, a Florida-based developer of performance testing and network metrics software said.

"Microsoft has hinted that SP1 is faster than Vista RTM," said Craig Barth, the chief technology officer at Devil Mountain Software, referring to the release to manufacturing version of the operating system. "But we found pretty much nothing measurable. It surprised me as much as it surprised everyone else, but the numbers are the numbers."

Devil Mountain ran its DMS Clarity Studio framework on a laptop Barth described as a "barn burner" -- dual-core processor, dedicated graphics, and either 1GB or 2GB of memory -- to compare performance of the SP1 release candidate that Microsoft Corp. released last week with the RTM version that hit general distribution last January. The Vista RTM was not updated with any of the bug fixes, patches or performance packs that Microsoft has pushed through Windows Update since the operating system's debut.

"One gigabyte, 2GB [of memory], it didn't make a difference," said Barth. "SP1 was never more than 1% or 2% faster."

The difference between Vista RTM and SP1 on Devil Mountain's Microsoft Office-based test script was "statistically insignificant," Barth said, while a multitasking test panel produced results for SP1 less than 1% faster than RTM.

"Our goal wasn't to bash Vista," said Barth. "We've been doing this for a while, we know how to do it, and we tried to be as clinical as possible. But SP1 is not going to be a panacea for any performance problems users have with Vista. If you've been disappointed with the performance of Windows Vista, you're not going to be any happier with SP1."

The bottom line: It's Vista's architecture and feature set -- Barth cited Volume Shadow Copy, Vista's snapshot service, as an example -- not a lack of fine-tuning or bug fixes that makes it perform poorly on PCs that run Windows XP blazingly fast.

Microsoft has touted a pair of performance packs that it has delivered to Vista users via Windows Update and that have also been rolled into SP1. The updates, issued most recently just last week, have included fixes for such performance-related issues as slow waking from power-saving states. Microsoft was not immediately available to comment on the Monday test results.

Barth also said Devil Mountain is kicking off a community-based testing network, dubbed exo.performance.network, that it hopes can grow into an industry metrics resource. Users who register receive access to some of the company's testing scripts and a Web-based portal where results are shared. Some software must be downloaded and installed on the user's PC.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?