XP SP2 vs. Vista RTM vs. Vista SP1: Gaming benchmark

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes from ZDNet.com executed the tests using the AMD Phenom 9700, Radeon 3850 graphics card, 2GB of RAM and ATi Catalyst drivers 8.2.

The three games which performed better on Vista than on XP SP2 were Call of Duty 4, F.E.A.R. and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
Vista gave The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion the best performance boost compared to XP SP2, working out at an average of 9 frames per second faster on Vista RTM and 13 frames per second faster on Vista SP1.

Seven out of ten of the games tested produced frame rate averages which were lower under Vista than XP SP2, however, a closer look at the numbers shows that when Vista is slower than XP SP2, the actual frame rate differences are only in the single digits.

Here are the results: average frame rates for each game on each platform

CoD4
XP SP2: 56 fps | Vista RTM: 58 fps | Vista SP1: 62 fps

Fear
XP SP2: 70 fps | Vista RTM: 71 fps | Vista SP1: 71 fps

Oblivion
XP SP2: 56 fps | Vista RTM: 67 fps | Vista SP1: 69 fps

Bioshock (DX9)
XP SP2: 50 fps | Vista RTM: 46 fps | Vista SP1: 47 fps

CoH
XP SP2: 30 fps | Vista RTM: 28 fps | Vista SP1: 28 fps

Crysis
XP SP2: 27 fps | Vista RTM: 24 fps | Vista SP1: 23 fps

Doom3
XP SP2: 157 fps | Vista RTM: 138 fps | Vista SP1: 142 fps

SC
XP SP2: 47 fps | Vista RTM: 44 fps | Vista SP1: 44 fps

UT3
XP SP2: 68 fps | Vista RTM: 64 fps | Vista SP1: 65 fps

WiC
XP SP2: 24 fps | Vista RTM: 22 fps | Vista SP1: 22 fps

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Parted Magic 2.1

Next Story

Microsoft slashes Windows Vista prices

56 Comments

View more comments

(Ikshaar said @ #10)
I am going to be hair-splitter but for Doom3, 157-142=15 and 15 is not "single digits" !! or even 19 for RTM.

True, but only 1 out of 10 have a large difference. And when even the slowest still had over 140fps I can't say it matters that much, considering the age of this engine and the grand total of 4 games using it.

I think it's important to mention that fps while gaming will fluctuate +/-20 or so, sometimes even more than that depending on how much is being rendered.

I still prefer XP after using Vista for 6 months, it just feels more responsive and light.

Vista has got some great features and automation but vista feels like xp with paste. Even though vista is based on server and not xp as longhorn was, xp still feels like its under there somewhere as a sleek core that alot more can be done with. I rekon MS should have just sold a windows plus package like the old days to give xp aero and some new features and just taken longer bringing out longhorn. Or maybe XP SE2, ahh second editions the good old days where MS could make lots of money by re-packaging a product, too bad those apple people are pushing the market hard now, eh bet ya windows 7 with minwin core deletes the compeition for a while like 95 did and we will get like a billion frames a second.

I would have agreed with you about a month or 2 ago, but Ive finished building a pc with all current tech... Core2 etc. and I gotta say I am f'n blown away by Vista now. Theres nothing I throw at this it cant handle and it didnt cost me an arm and a leg. XP is dead to me now and thats something I thought Id never say. Vista really shines on the current technology.

(solardog said @ #13.1)
I would have agreed with you about a month or 2 ago, but Ive finished building a pc with all current tech... Core2 etc. and I gotta say I am f'n blown away by Vista now. Theres nothing I throw at this it cant handle and it didnt cost me an arm and a leg. XP is dead to me now and thats something I thought Id never say. Vista really shines on the current technology.

This is true. My machine could run Vista, but I know it wouldn't do it good. When I go to the stores and see the computers with a great processor and 2GB of memory, toying around with Vista was actually pretty nice. Everything was quick on load, and looked pretty while doing it, lol. On my next computer, I'll definitely dual boot XP and Vista (in case I change my mind).

(Dakkaroth said @ #13.2)
This is true. My machine could run Vista, but I know it wouldn't do it good. When I go to the stores and see the computers with a great processor and 2GB of memory, toying around with Vista was actually pretty nice. Everything was quick on load, and looked pretty while doing it, lol. On my next computer, I'll definitely dual boot XP and Vista (in case I change my mind). :)

It runs ok when you first set it up, but then when you start doing anything with it is when the trouble starts. Even dual-booting is more problematic with Vista than with XP or when using something like GRUB.

Why must MS always obfuscate and overcomplicate their OSes? They've gone so far with Vista that even MS can't reign in all the bugs that are growing exponentially as more and more hardware is introduced. I get the feeling that no one knows WTF is happening with Vista anymore. The specs and API are too complex for anyone to adhere to them.

(toadeater said @ #13.3)

It runs ok when you first set it up, but then when you start doing anything with it is when the trouble starts. Even dual-booting is more problematic with Vista than with XP or when using something like GRUB.

Why must MS always obfuscate and overcomplicate their OSes? They've gone so far with Vista that even MS can't reign in all the bugs that are growing exponentially as more and more hardware is introduced. I get the feeling that no one knows WTF is happening with Vista anymore. The specs and API are too complex for anyone to adhere to them.

this is a classic example of an anti vista comment
you basically say 'everything about it is bad'
but yet you don't give one single example?
maybe you just are new to vista and its confusing to you?

What are you all flaming about? I have an AMD with an nVidia, and still using XP. The only game I play is Wow, and I don't know if I should upgrade to Vista or not. Now that I know there isn't a big problem, I'll probably go ahead with the upgrade. Thank you Franzon (and Adrian Kingsley-Hughes).

I had Vista and "upgraded" to XP 3 months ago...

If those figures are not what I felt then (XP SP2 vs Vista RTM) and by a long way, and those I know first hand, why should I believe the others (Vista SP1)??

nvidia + amd here

Yeah I am going back to install Vista x64 now that sp1 has been released. I did find that Vista did run my games smoother than XP. Especially considering AMD Dual Core support with XP is a bit dodgy. Even with the AMD Optimizer.

So Vista here I come... AGAIN

Dodgy how? My girlfriend runs an AMD dual core processor, 2GB RAM, and a 7600GT with XP Pro x64. Everything plays like candy on her computer. (and I'm jealous)

Average :

XP sp2
58,5 fps average
97,00735502 (point estimate)

vista
56,2 fps average
93,21714828 (point estimate)

vista sp1 beta
57,3 fps average
94,38363016 (point estimate)

Point estimate will give the same value (from a max of 100) for every game, so the bigger the better.

Conclusion :XP SP2 rules, vista sux, vista sp1 beta still sux!.

(Dakkaroth said @ #18.1)
Such a radical difference...

If XP was a update of Vista, then updating the system from vista to xp will give just a marginal earning, or you could say, update is not relevant.

But it's the opposite where vista is a update to xp, so there are not reasons (to the date) to update to vista, cause you are losing some performance (a bit but still you are losing something).

(Magallanes said @ #18.2)

If XP was a update of Vista, then updating the system from vista to xp will give just a marginal earning, or you could say, update is not relevant.

But it's the opposite where vista is a update to xp, so there are not reasons (to the date) to update to vista, cause you are losing some performance (a bit but still you are losing something).

You're right in saying that you do lose a bit of performance going to Vista, but you have to keep in mind that it's not a simple "update" to XP. Large parts of the OS are new, so even though it says "Windows" for both, they're pretty different when you get right down to it. Unlike say Win2k and WinXP which is closer to a simple upgrade in this case.

The other thing is that the XP performance we get now is something that's taking a few years to reach. When did SP2 come out? 2004? From the release of SP2 to today look at how many driver updates we've had to give us the numbers that you post. While for Vista it's only been a year and they're right up there with the XP ones. Give it a few more months and they'll probably pass the XP numbers and so on.

Unless the system is low on resources, this is only a driver issue. If I was to do some guessing, I would say "Vista performs worse in a low resource situation, but the same or better in a high resource situation". From my experience the biggest annoyance is not low FPS but when the game needs to access textures in system memory.

I really hate contributing to posts like this, but since I have some experience with both XP SP3 (RC2) and Vista SP1, I'll share my experiences. Personally, SP3 _felt_ faster. This was on a machine with modern hardware and no extra tweaks. It could have been the novelty of installing it, because after a few days, it felt like SP2. As for Vista, I did notice a smoother response while navigating around, but nothing special. As far as gaming goes, XP has always been smoother to me. I have lost maybe 10 FPS here and there from switching to Vista, but it's not enough for me to wipe the drive, roll back to XP and forget Vista. Bottom line is this: You want faster perfomance? Get better hardware. Tweaks and service packs help, but don't rely on them as if they are the Holy Grail.

Whats with the Vista vs XP, XP is almost nine years old for cryin' out loud. If you want speed and less features run XP then. I had enough of XP, got sick of it in the second year using it. I would hope that XP is faster because it should be. I could run 2000 and have a super fast machine too. But whats the sense? I run Vista Ultimate and it runs smooth as silk. Stop trying to compare apples to oranges. XP wasn't the OS it is now, and yea SP3 almost 9 years later people. cmmon leave it alone.

I would hope that almost nine years and PC's that were 300 Mhz or somewhat faster when it came out it was a DOG. People were sayin ohh Windows 98 SE is the best.

Alot has changed in the world since the consumer release in 2001. XP had it's day stop beating a dead horse and Vista will mature and as people go through growing pains like they did with the 98A, 98B, 98C to XP they will when Vista although needs some work and a few service packs for performance it will get better, as thechnology marches on and PC's get faster.

Just leave it alone for cryin' out loud.

I think the point is the XP was a huge leap in terms of features and stability.

Granted, Vista has some good improvements, but nothing that most users see the need to dump XP for. THAT is the problem. If it was a huge jump, the extra hardware requirements would be justified.

But there isn't 'much' most users will notice, except for UI enhancements and a few fancy features - so on that basis, XP still rates highly because it does almost everything Vista does, but with nowhere near the hardware requirements.

And how about using XP drivers on Vista for graphics? It would mean switching from LDDM (Longhorn Display Driver Model) to a WDDM (Windows Display Driver Model), so it would in turn mean losing Aero, and I'm not sure about losing DX10... But that would be fairer to Vista. But then it wouldn't be a real life scenario...

Commenting is disabled on this article.