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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 - SysMark

The modern computer system is generally doing a lot more than just running a single isolated application. Heavy computer users can be running dozens of applications and background processes at once, and managing resources and workload balancing is where a smart operating system comes into play.

To test these scenarios PCSTATS uses benchmarks like SYSmark and Futuremark PCMark Vantage, which run multiple applications concurrently and gauge an averaged performance index. It's a better indicator for usage scenarios where a user may be transcoding an episode of Dexter to an iPod while listening to internet radio, gaming and using a voice chat program simultaneously. Let's begin.

BAPco SYSmark 2007 1.06 Source: Bapco

SYSmark 2007 is an application-based benchmark that reflects usage patterns of business users in the areas of Video creation, E-learning, 3D Modeling and Office Productivity. This new release includes a robust and refreshed set of applications. The new release also incorporates numerous new features and enhancements such as an improved GUI allowing streamlined start-up and run along with a heads-up-display (HUD) and automated error reporting. Higher results are better.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportSYSMark 2007 Preview 1.06 - Overall Results
Overall: Points Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 - Win 7 180
Intel Core i7 920 - Win Vista 167
Intel Core i5 750 - Win 7 180
Intel Core i5 750 - Win Vista 163
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win 7 169
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win Vista 146
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win 7 181
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win Vista 166
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win 7 135
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win Vista 122
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win 7 135
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win Vista 145
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win 7 131
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win Vista 113

Windows 7 shows excellent performance scaling in SYSMark's overall test, with an average 5-7% gain over Windows Vista. The lone exception is the triple-core Athlon II X3 435, which seems to do better in Windows Vista.

Let's break these results down into their individual scores:

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportSYSMark 2007 Preview 1.06 - E-Learning App. Results
E-Learning: Points Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 - Win 7 163
Intel Core i7 920 - Win Vista 167
Intel Core i5 750 - Win 7 163
Intel Core i5 750 - Win Vista 168
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win 7 170
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win Vista 175
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win 7 168
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win Vista 162
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win 7 115
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win Vista 109
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win 7 122
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win Vista 124
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win 7 127
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win Vista 129

SYSMark's E-learning performance actually tends to be slightly faster in Windows Vista, by about a single percentage point for most of the test processors.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportSYSMark 2007 Preview 1.06 - Video Creation App. Results
Videocreation: Points Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 - Win 7 218
Intel Core i7 920 - Win Vista 166
Intel Core i5 750 - Win 7 218
Intel Core i5 750 - Win Vista 161
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win 7 174
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win Vista 117
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win 7 240
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win Vista 177
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win 7 195
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win Vista 147
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win 7 176
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win Vista 104
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win 7 162
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win Vista 95

It's with Video Creation that Microsoft's multi-core optimizations really start to shine through in Windows 7. An average performance gain of 30% in these heavily multi-threaded applications can make a huge difference when it comes to encoding or editing media, especially with more content moving to high-definition 1080p formats. Dual core processors tend to get the most out of CPU scaling in this benchmark, but even HyperThreaded processors like the Core i7 920 are seeing some big improvements from the move to Windows 7.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportSYSMark 2007 Preview 1.06 - Productivity Application Results
Productivity: Points Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 - Win 7 153
Intel Core i7 920 - Win Vista 148
Intel Core i5 750 - Win 7 153
Intel Core i5 750 - Win Vista 145
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win 7 165
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win Vista 135
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win 7 134
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win Vista 137
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win 7 99
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win Vista 93
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win 7 99
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win Vista 113
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win 7 100
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win Vista 97

Aside from the Intel Core 2 Duo E8400, which has abnormally large gains in the Windows 7 productivity test, most processors show only a slight gain when switching from Windows Vista to Windows 7 in this benchmark. A few, like the AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition, are actually a little bit slower.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportSYSMark 2007 Preview 1.06 - 3D/CAD Application Results
3D: Points Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 - Win 7 192
Intel Core i7 920 - Win Vista 191
Intel Core i5 750 - Win 7 192
Intel Core i5 750 - Win Vista 182
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win 7 167
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Win Vista 163
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win 7 199
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) - Win Vista 195
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win 7 152
AMD Athlon II X4 620 - Win Vista 148
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win 7 158
AMD Athlon II X3 435 - Win Vista 157
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win 7 141
AMD Athlon II X2 240e - Win Vista 139

In 3D/CAD applications there are very slight increases in performance between Windows 7 and Windows Vista, but these primarily single-threaded application benchmarks benefit more from increases in cache and clock speed rather than operating environment.

SYSMark gives a pretty good indication of the multi-threaded, multi-application performance boost that Windows 7 is capable of. It's time to check out Futuremark's PCMark Vantage, another benchmark that uses real-world applications to index overall CPU 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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