Microsoft: Windows XP faster than Vista SP1 in some cases

And Vista SP1 is only marginally faster than the original version of the OS

Windows XP is faster than the new Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) in completing common consumer and business tasks on PCs coming out of sleep mode, according to tests commissioned by Microsoft.

The performance tests, conducted by Principled Technologies on Microsoft's behalf, showed that the older XP operating system remained faster than Vista SP1 in 61 per cent of the operations grouped in a consumer test suite, and faster than Vista SP1 in 46 per cent of the operations in the business-oriented head-to-head. The results were from time trials held on identical PCs after they'd come out of standby, a power-saving feature in Windows. Vista, like other operating systems, including Apple Inc.'s Mac OS X, calls the same mode "sleep."

However, when the same tests were run after a cold boot -- with the PC's power turned on, the OS booted and the scripts run after two minutes -- Vista SP1 came out on top in 74 per cent of the tested consumer functions, and 66 per cent of the business operations.

But no matter which operating system came out on top, the differences were small in virtually every case, said Principled Technologies. The total difference between XP and Vista SP1 in the 31 consumer tasks, for instance, was less than 5 seconds; of the 64 chores in the business scenario, 60 sported a difference of under half a second.

"Overall, Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP performed comparably on most test operations," Principled Technologies concluded in its report.

The tests were run on four systems -- two notebooks, two desktops -- from Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba.

A fifth system, another HP desktop, was omitted from the aggregate results because it, "produced unacceptably high variability in its test results," according to Principled. Interestingly, that system showed XP was faster than Vista SP1 in more chores than any of the other test machines. In the consumer test set, for example, XP was faster than Vista SP1 in 74 per cent of the operations immediately after a reboot of the discarded HP.

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Gregg Keizer

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