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Beginners Guide: Exploring CPU Performance in Windows Vista vs. Win 7

Beginners Guide: Exploring CPU Performance in Windows Vista vs. Win 7 - PCSTATS
Abstract: Stuck with an older PC that runs slow in Vista? Upgrading to Windows 7 might breath new life into that PC and extend its useful life. Find out as PCSTATS tests multiple CPUs under identical Vista and Win 7 environments.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Beginners Guides May 01 2011   Julian Apong  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > Beginners Guides

Real-world Heavy Application Usage - PCMark Vantage

Futuremark PCMark Vantage 1.0.0.0 Source: FutureMark

PCMark Vantage is the first objective hardware performance benchmark for PCs running 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows Vista. PCMark Vantage is perfectly suited for benchmarking any type of Windows Vista PC from multi media home entertainment systems and laptops to dedicated workstations and hi-end gaming rigs. Regardless of whether the benchmarker is an artist or an IT Professional, PCMark Vantage shows the user where their system soars or falls flat, and how to get the most performance possible out of their hardware. PCMark Vantage is easy enough for even the most casual enthusiast to use yet supports in-depth, professional industry grade testing. Higher scores are best.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportFuturemark PCMark Vantage 1.0.0.0 - Overall Results
Overall: Points Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 - Win 7 7374
Intel Core i7 920 - Win Vista 6173
Intel Core i5 750 - Win 7 6593
Intel Core i5 750 - Win Vista 5990
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win 7 5184
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win Vista 4641
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win 7 6948
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win Vista 5530
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win 7 6151
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win Vista 5245
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win 7 5788
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win Vista 5358
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win 7 4785
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win Vista 4480

Like SYSMark, PCMark Vantage's overall test shows that Windows 7's performance stays consistently ahead of Windows Vista, with the biggest gains going to fast, multi-core processors like the Intel Core i7 920 and the AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportFuturemark PCMark Vantage 1.0.0.0 - Memory Tests
Memory: Points Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 - Win 7 5754
Intel Core i7 920 - Win Vista 4432
Intel Core i5 750 - Win 7 5536
Intel Core i5 750 - Win Vista 5089
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win 7 5010
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win Vista 4131
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win 7 5321
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win Vista 4882
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win 7 4693
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win Vista 4346
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win 7 4504
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win Vista 4310
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win 7 4010
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win Vista 3805

PCMark Vantage's memory test shows Windows 7's memory performance trumping Windows Vista, particularly for Intel processors.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportFuturemark PCMark Vantage 1.0.0.0 - TV and Movie Tests
TV and Movies: Points Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 - Win 7 5021
Intel Core i7 920 - Win Vista 4412
Intel Core i5 750 - Win 7 4694
Intel Core i5 750 - Win Vista 4317
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win 7 3160
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win Vista 3488
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win 7 4577
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win Vista 4409
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win 7 3972
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win Vista 4017
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win 7 3777
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win Vista 3941
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win 7 2942
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win Vista 3238

The TV and Movie tests are a mixed bag. While the quad-core processors enjoy a small performance boost in Windows 7, dual and triple core processors seem to do better in Windows Vista.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportFuturemark PCMark Vantage 1.0.0.0 - Gaming Tests
Gaming: Points Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 - Win 7 7544
Intel Core i7 920 - Win Vista 7056
Intel Core i5 750 - Win 7 7123
Intel Core i5 750 - Win Vista 7007
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win 7 4757
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win Vista 5192
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win 7 5769
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win Vista 6279
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win 7 5205
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win Vista 5267
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win 7 5240
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win Vista 5690
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win 7 4209
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win Vista 4600

The results of the PCMark Vantage gaming test are all over the place... The Core i7 920 shows a small performance gain in Windows 7 while other processors showing no real gai. A few CPUs, like the AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition give better performance results in Windows Vista.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportFuturemark PCMark Vantage 1.0.0.0 - Music and Encoding Tests
Music: Points Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 - Win 7 7270
Intel Core i7 920 - Win Vista 5286
Intel Core i5 750 - Win 7 6667
Intel Core i5 750 - Win Vista 5134
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win 7 6572
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win Vista 4923
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win 7 6933
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win Vista 5215
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win 7 5990
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win Vista 4611
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win 7 6166
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win Vista 4916
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win 7 5661
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win Vista 4393

Music and especially encoding can take advantage of multi-threading, and Windows 7 has made big improvements in this area. There's a 25-35% improvement in media encoding performance to be found simply by switching to Windows 7.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportFuturemark PCMark Vantage 1.0.0.0 - Communication Tests
Communications: Points Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 - Win 7 6090
Intel Core i7 920 - Win Vista 5080
Intel Core i5 750 - Win 7 5808
Intel Core i5 750 - Win Vista 4914
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win 7 5217
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win Vista 4618
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win 7 6930
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win Vista 5289
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win 7 5615
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win Vista 4350
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win 7 5826
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win Vista 4326
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win 7 5194
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win Vista 3746

The PCMark Communication test is another heavily multithreaded test that does real-time encryption, indexing and compression simultaneously, and all of that simultaneous number crunching is a strong suit for Windows 7. AMD processors scale particularly well in this scenario under Windows 7, although all of Intel's processors also see some benefit.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportFuturemark PCMark Vantage 1.0.0.0 - Productivity Tests
Productivity: Points Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 - Win 7 5713
Intel Core i7 920 - Win Vista 5282
Intel Core i5 750 - Win 7 5565
Intel Core i5 750 - Win Vista 5207
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win 7 3867
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win Vista 4441
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win 7 6225
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win Vista 5786
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win 7 5159
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win Vista 4872
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win 7 5347
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win Vista 4971
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win 7 4253
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win Vista 3882

PCMark Vantage's productivity benchmarks tests a combination of hard drive performance and CPU performance. For every processor except the Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 processor there's about a 5-10% performance increase under Windows 7 compared to Windows Vista.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportFuturemark PCMark Vantage 1.0.0.0 - Hard Drive Tests
HDD: Points Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 - Win 7 4179
Intel Core i7 920 - Win Vista 4154
Intel Core i5 750 - Win 7 4048
Intel Core i5 750 - Win Vista 4052
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win 7 4150
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win Vista 4273
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win 7 4042
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win Vista 4108
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win 7 4166
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win Vista 4136
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win 7 4020
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win Vista 4078
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win 7 4045
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win Vista 4065

The PCMark Vantage HDD test shows that raw hard drive access is largely independent of the operating system, with both Windows Vista and Windows 7 having largely the same scores in this test - as expected.

Window 7 clearly has an advantage in multithreaded situations, particularly in situations where there's an intensive, multi-threaded task going while other background applications are running simultaneously.

Gains between 20-40% are common in these scenarios, and surprisingly its actually dual-core processors that benefit the most from Windows 7's more intelligent CPU workload balancing. If you are noticing that your circa-2006 Intel Core 2 Duo processor is getting a little slow while you're busy mixing MP3s and trying to surf the net at the same time, upgrading to Microsoft Windows 7 can be a good way to get a boost in performance. Quad-core owners who purchased a PC specifically for the purpose of editing or encoding digital video or other highly multi-threaded tasks will also want to consider moving over to Windows 7.

Gaming under Vista and Windows 7

Although this is a CPU-related DIY Guide, let's take a quick look at gaming performance (usually the domain of the videocard) to see how Windows 7 and Windows Vista face off. Keep in mind that the system settings used here are done with an eye to isolating the CPU as a variable, so image quality settings are kept at their lowest so that the videocard doesn't bottleneck gaming performance.

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Contents of Article: Beginners Guides
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guide: Exploring CPU Performance in Windows Vista vs. Win 7
 Pg 2.  Real-world Heavy Application Usage - SysMark
 Pg 3.  — Real-world Heavy Application Usage - PCMark Vantage
 Pg 4.  Gaming under Vista and Windows 7 - Cyrsis
 Pg 5.  Synthetic CPU and Final Thoughts

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