So, I hate Windows Vista.
I’ve been spending the past week downgrading my laptop and desktop to XP Pro, but since I know Microsoft isn’t going to support XP forever, I’m in the search for what I’ll be running when the patches dry out. My hope is that Windows 7/Blackcomb/Vienna is going to arrive on time, and that it isn’t horrible, but looking at the trajectory MS has had in the home OS game since XP released, I must say that I don’t think the prospects are promising.
So assuming Windows 7 won’t be the cure to my woes, I wondered what else I could run (and I know some eager puppies are yelling Linux! – calm down, I’m already dualbooting). So the other (main) OSes that Microsoft is currently supporting are Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008.
Lucky me, I am already privy to WS2008 RTM bits, so I downloaded a copy (legit). The hope? That it will be a good alternative to Vista. If it isn’t I will probably be spending alot more time in *nix land.
Since I haven’t seen anyone do it yet, I figured I’d run Vista (Ultimate) against WS 2008 (Standard) in some benchmark tests and give the results here. My hope? WS 2008 will be leaner and faster (FYI, for Vista vs XP benchmarks, tomshardware has an excellent rundown).
Before I get to results, I should point out that these tests were run on shipping bits for both OSes (fresh installs), so the Vista machine had no patches, including SP1. Tests on Vista SP1 will probably have slightly different numbers, but as PCWorld reports, they are probably worse.
The chart below is the ratio that Vista underperformed WS2008 in each benchmark test (image is scaled down, click it to see high res).
PDF of charts are available here.
The full log files from SiSandra are available here.
- Tests run on AMD Athlon 64 3200+, 1.5 GB RAM, NVidia GeForce 5 FX Series, ASUS K8V Deluxe.
- I tried to run PCMark 2005, which ran fine on the WS2008 install, but crashed my Vista machine during the 3D testing portions, so those results aren’t mentioned here. This then is certainly another area where WS 2008 wins – 3D doesn’t crash the machine. Maybe I can get Civilization 4 to run here?
- WS2008 only supported resolution up to 1024×768, but vista supports full 1600×1200
- Both Vista and WS2008 don’t support my onboard ethernet out of the box
WS2008 used roughly 2/3 the amount of ram Vista did, which is probably one of the contributors to improved memory performance in WS2008 (about 7.5% average in SiSandra’s tests). Memory access time is noticeably better, especially in terms of the latency of access at higher ranges.
I saw between a 10-15% increase in the speed of real world application running time as well as similar increase in software which runs on a virtual machine, such as .Net.
Benchmarks which are more directly bound to the processor (such as SiSandra’s multimedia tests) are essentially even between machines, no significant edge either way there.
In general, WS2008 feels much more responsive than Vista does – its very noticeable. I think it actually may be good enough to use on my machines – either before or after XP goes out of servicing, but I’ll need to use it more to make a final call. From my initial look, it seems like a much better option for advanced users than Vista.
Which brings one final point. With XP being easier for novice users (it tends to “just work” more often), and WS2008 being the better choice for advanced users (as word gets out), where does this leave Vista. Is it the best choice for anyone?
Filed under: nerds, original, pwned, science, tech, Useful Things, Vs Tagged: | Benchmark, Microsoft, Operating Systems, OS, Performance, technology, Vista, vista vs server 2008, Windows, Windows Server 2008, WS 2008, WS2008