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Of Service packs and continued disappointments…

The blog of exo.performance.network contains some fascinating pseudo-real world benchmarks of the release candidates of both Vista (SP1) and XP (SP3). The, now aging, Windows XP managed to outpace Vista in the benchmark by competing it in almost HALF the time!

The Microsoft Vista team were quick to pass judgement to the benchmark adding more fuel to the synthetic vs real world benchmarking argument calling the Exo team’s benchmark a “window-open, window-close” exercise. In an interesting counter, the team revealed exactly what their benchmark entailed:

a. Reformat all section headers and subheads in Word.
b. Generate multiple chart objects in Excel.
c. Generate complete multi-slide presentation in PowerPoint.
d. Multi-page scroll w/copy paste of chart objects into Word.
e. Slide sort/apply multiple templates in PowerPoint.
f. Multi-page scroll/print preview/print-to-file in Word.
g. Multi-chart print preview/print-to-file in Excel
h. Global search/replace in word (multiple).
i. Multi-slide preview/print-to-file in PowerPoint
j. Navigate simulated research web site in IE (multiple).

It seems to be a fair representation of ‘real world’ usage. The results are curiously at odds with one of Microsoft’s key ‘features’ of Vista, especially if the test is repeated a number of times to get a consistant result.

Windows SuperFetch helps improve PC responsiveness and helps make system performance more consistent. Windows SuperFetch tracks which applications you use most often and when you use them—and then it preloads those applications into memory to ensure quick access.


It would be interesting to see these tests re-run with some of Microsoft’s new ‘features’ disabled. For example, services like shadow copy and indexing might be interfering with the process. Still, if nothing else, from the looks of things my XP systems are going to get a 10% boost (in some circumstances) with SP3 and that is something to celebrate.

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