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11/27/2007
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Windows XP Significantly Outperforms Vista, Tests Show

Windows XP trounced Windows Vista in all tests, regardless of the versions used or the amount of memory running on the computer, says Devil Mountain Software.

In the latest Mac versus PC ad, that put-upon Windows guy quietly concedes he's "downgrading" from Vista to XP. He may have good reason: new tests show that the older XP runs common productivity tasks significantly faster than Microsoft's newest operating system.

Researchers at Devil Mountain Software, a Florida-based developer of performance management tools, have posted data from their most recent Windows performance tests -- and Vista, even after it's been upgraded to the new Service Pack 1 beta package, is shown to be a laggard.

"The hoped for performance fixes [from Vista SP1] that Microsoft has been hinting at never materialized," said Devil Mountain researchers, in a blog post summarizing their results.

The researchers compared patched and unpatched versions of Vista and XP running Microsoft Office on a dual-core Dell notebook. The results revealed the time taken to complete Office productivity tasks such as the creation of a compound document and presentation materials.

Devil Mountain researchers ran a mix of tests comparing existing versions of the operating systems -- the original Vista and XP SP2 -- and versions that had been patched with the latest updates -- Vista SP1 beta and XP SP3 beta. Tests were also run on machines with 1 Gbyte and 2 Gbytes of memory.

Windows XP trounced Windows Vista in all tests -- regardless of the versions used or the amount of memory running on the computer. In fact, XP proved to be roughly twice as fast as Vista in most of the tests.

For instance, notebooks running Vista SP1 took more than 80 seconds to complete a series of Office tasks in the OfficeBench test suite, while notebooks running Windows XP SP2 completed the tasks in just over 40 seconds.

What's more, the tests showed that the resource-hungry Vista gobbles up most of the additional RAM added to a computer. By upgrading a notebook running Vista SP1 from 1 Gbyte to 2 Gbytes of memory, "we managed to achieve a 'whopping' 4% improvement in OfficeBench throughput," the researchers noted.

The test results are the latest black eye for Windows Vista -- an operating system that Microsoft unveiled in January amid much fanfare but which has since failed to capture the hearts and minds of computers users in both the home and business markets.

A recent InformationWeek survey found that 30% of businesses have no plans to upgrade their computers to Vista -- ever.

Many users have voiced worries about Vista's resource requirements and compatibility with older applications and peripherals. The concerns have prompted some PC makers, including Dell and Hewlett-Packard, to reintroduce XP as an option on certain systems.

Microsoft rival Apple is seizing on the Vista backlash to promote its new Leopard operating system. Its latest ad is an attempt to portray Microsoft as a company that's tone deaf to user concerns about Vista.

"Ask not what Vista can do for you, but what you can do for Vista," says the PC guy, posing as a politico. Given the latest research, an increasing number of Windows users may end up seeking a new candidate.

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