Windows XP SP3 gives a speed boost. Vista SP1 not so much.

If Microsoft is serious about having Vista supplant XP as the dominate OS they sure are going about it in an odd way. This Yahoo News article on testing by Devil Mountain Software says that the upcoming Service Pack 3 for Windows XP improves performance by some 10% whereas Vista’s SP1, which was touted as improving performance, fails to do so:

The news comes as a “nice bonus,” the research staff said on the blog, because SP3 was expected mainly to deliver bug fixes and consolidate various patches. “In fact, XP SP3 is shaping up to be a must-have update for the majority of users who are still running Redmond’s not-so-latest-and-greatest desktop OS,” the company said.

These results run in stark contrast to tests conducted on Vista SP1. On November 18, Devil Mountain Software reported that performance gains under Vista SP1 were negligible and that Vista continues to be slower than XP.

“The hoped-for performance fixes that Microsoft has been hinting at never materialized,” the testers reported. “Vista + SP1 is no faster” than out-of-the-box Vista, they said.

“If you’ve been disappointed with the performance of Windows Vista to date, get used to it. SP1 is simply not the panacea that many predicted. In the end, it’s Vista’s architecture—not a lack of tuning or bug fixes—that makes it perform so poorly on systems that were ‘barn-burners’ under Windows XP,” the research staff said.

There’s no real details on the configuration of the PCs used in the tests so it’s hard to say if there’s any flaws in them, but my experience on my machine with both Vista and XP is that the amount of RAM you have installed makes a big difference. XP runs at it’s best with 1GB of RAM, but to get Vista to perform at a similar level takes a minimum of 2GB. Alas I’ll probably have to switch back to XP in the near future myself as the audio drivers for my motherboard are causing lockups after an hour and a half or so of use. At least until new drivers come out from the folks at nVidia to address the issue.

Still if the reported speed increase actually comes to pass then a little more time under XP won’t be a bad thing. SP3 is expected out early in 2008.

5 thoughts on “Windows XP SP3 gives a speed boost. Vista SP1 not so much.

  1. This is certainly a huge blow to M$. If I were Apple I would start a huge corporate and educational volume discount warranty and purchasing program stat!!!!! This may be the best and only opportunity they will have to take a swing at the giant.

  2. I’ve got my home system dual booting with Vista and XP.  My two biggest issues with Vista at this point is I get a lot of weird artifacts on my screen when a warning window pops up.  I can’t read the warning window and the cancel:okay buttons are not visible so I have make a best guess of where they are and start blindly clicking.  I have an Nvidia 6800GT so maybe other people aren’t experiencing these issues.  The other issue is sound, my SoundBlaster Audigy 2 makes music continually stutter while being played in the background on WMP or iTunes while browsing the web.  I’ve tried all the updates current to the last time I tried using Vista which was about a month a go.  I’ll admit I’m a little bitter about the whole process, but running vista on my P4EE @ 3.0Ghz with 2GB of RAM and it feels like I’m using my old Pentium I @ 90mhz.  Because that was the last time I can remember having my MP3’s skip and stutter when trying to run another program on top of my music playing.

    I was in the process of planning on building a new PC sometime after the new year.  So now I have to decide if I want to exclusively take the Vista plunge on the new PC or get Windows XP and probably be forced into Vista at some point down the road.

  3. I haven’t jumped into Vista yet.  Don’t know if I really will.  May have to for the wife’s system, but I really need to get a Linux box up and running to play with.  I’ll be with XP for a good while longer, service pack or no service pack.

  4. Interesting.  I was under the impression that SP3 was a deliberate sabotage of Windows XP to force people to move to Vista.  Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but my fairly new dual core 2GB Win XP machine with all the current patches would hang going into standby after adding SP3.  It also took forever to boot.  After uninstalling SP3, it works normally again.

    I’d go to Linux (which I have used before) or Apple’s OS (which several friends love) before moving to Vista, and even moreso if I feel I’m being forced.

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