Vista SP1 doesn’t improve performance?

Michael PietroforteMVP By Michael Pietroforte - Tue, November 20, 2007 - 18 comments google+ icon

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor of 4sysops. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) with more than 30 years of experience in system administration.

The exo.performance.network tested Vista with the beta of service pack 1. Many organizations are waiting for SP1 in the hope that it will solve all the problems they had with Vista. One issue that is often discussed in this context is performance. To come straight to the point: According to their test result Vista SP1 is not faster than Vista RTM.

Their “Research Staff” writes:

After extensive testing of both RTM and SP1-patched versions of Windows Vista, it seems clear that the hoped-for performance fixes that Microsoft has been hinting at never materialized. Vista + SP1 is no faster than Vista from the RTM image.

However, I have serious doubts that their test methods allow conclusive assessment about Vista’s performance at all. It is not necessary to examine their methods in detail to come to the conclusion that their test is more or less useless since their test machine had only 1GB RAM. I think it is no secret that Vista needs at least 2GB.

This case is typical for the whole discussion. All those negative assessments about Vista are in one or the other way based on false assumptions. Of course Vista needs more hardware resources than Windows XP. Remember, XP is an old-fashioned OS that is more than 6 years old.

So it doesn’t make much sense to use hardware for a performance test that is sufficient for Windows XP if you want to find out something about Vista. In my view, it doesn’t even make much sense to compare the performance of Windows XP and Vista. If you want more evidence that Vista is slow, then you can also compare it with MS-DOS. And you know what? MS-DOS boots up much faster than Vista!

-1+1 - Rate this post
Loading ... Loading ...
Your question wasn't answered? Ask in the new 4sysops forum!

18 Comments- Leave a Reply

  1. BigDog says:

    You say your not a fanboy and while I’ve read some of your comments and agreed – this one really proves that you really are a MS Fanboy. I use both Windows and Linux. I like them both. but to say this…

    “Of course Vista needs more hardware resources than Windows XP. Remember, XP is an old-fashioned OS that is more than 6 years old.”

    is just dumb. Just because and OS uses more ram doesn’t mean it’s more modern. Theres a lot of processes and ways of doing things are are still used because – THEY WORK. That doesn’t make them old fashioned.

  2. Michael Pietroforte Michael says:

    I didn’t say an OS that uses more RAM is more modern. I just said that a modern OS uses more RAM.

  3. Eytan says:

    While I agree with you that the test you are citing does not give the whole picture, I feel that your response is a bit strange. It’s certainly true that it’s important to also test Vista SP1 with more RAM, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthless to test it with 1 GB ram. For one, if you buy a new laptop these days, you are most likely to get 1GB ram and Vista. So there are quite a few users in this situation, and it’s worthwhile for them to know what they may or may not gain from the service pack.

    To put it another way, there’s a big difference between saying “SP1 doesn’t affect performance” and “SP1 improves performance but you need 2GB to take advantage of it”. But there’s also a difference between “SP1 improves performance but you need 2GB to take advantage of it” and “SP1 improves performance for everyone”. And people need to know which of those three statements is true.

  4. Victor says:

    I can’t stand microsoft products anymore.. In my opinion Microsoft Office is the only thing that they did well..
    I got impressed by the new mac os x Leopard…And thats why I moved to apple’s OS..
    You should do what this mac ad says: give up on vista!
    weshow.com/us/p/24256/apples_ad_dont_give_up_on_vista
    Apple FTW!

  5. Michael Pietroforte Michael says:

    Eytan, I agree that it is worthwhile for some people to know if SP1 improves performance on a machine with 1GB. That is why I wrote “more or less useless”. My point is that their reasoning is incorrect. If you want to know if a SP improves performance in general, you have to work with a suitable hardware configuration and 1GB is certainly not suitable for Vista. It seems to me that they run this test only to prove that Vista is really slow, and that a service pack can’t change this fact. This was certainly no sincere performance test even though many news sites and blogs bought their conclusion. I just helped a friend buy a new laptop. We checked several stores and I didn’t see one Vista laptop having less than 2GB RAM. Maybe that depends on where you live. But if someone tries to sell you a Vista computer with 1GB RAM, I recommend going to another shop.

    Victor, I am not sure if a reference to an Apple ad really counts as an argument for Leopard. ;)

  6. SHAPER says:

    I completely agree with you – I’m running Vista x64 with 4gigs RAM like a charm!

  7. ebe says:

    the probleme about vista and RAM is that Vista will use up to 1/3 of your physical RAM.. for Readyboost and puting all shit in RAM without you asking for it!
    like when I had vista on by brand new notebook cor2 duo with 3 go de ram, Vista use 1.2 Go just at boot !

    Come on ! I need my ram for VM, VPC etc!! and when I do Vm I don’t want oulook and “what shit” in the RAM! it’s just non-sens. and this is probably one of the source of the poor vista performances..

    Anyway, still runing XP and no think to “downgrade” to vista..

    I’m more optimistic with 2008, which seems to note have ready boos shit activated.. more decent RAM use (a comble isn’t it !!??)..
    and 2008 will be in fact 2008 SP1 at least.. Vista bein a PUBLIC BETA of 1 to 2 years.

    you see, I’m quite pro-MS, and happy to look forward with the system center family (SCCM is good), 2008 etc..

    but VISTA is a fiasco..

  8. Killer B says:

    Unfortunately, there are still vendors that sell PCs with Vista that have 512 MB of RAM!!! Then again, those are eMachines that you can buy from Best Buy or Circuit City in the US…

    In fact, my cousin bought a bottom-of-the-barrel eMachine with Vista Home Basic on it and 512 MB RAM. It is slllloooowwwww….

    In my personal opinion, I wouldn’t run Vista (even Home Basic) with anything less than 2 GB of RAM.

    The laptop I’m typing this response on is a Dell Latitude D810 with 2 GB of RAM and Vista Enterprise on it. I just recently installed SP1 beta and there is noticeable improvement with file transfers and…well…overall performance in general.

    Is transferring a simple 1 MB file over a Gigabit connection still slower than XP? Yep. However, it’s still faster than Vista RTM…

  9. Michael Pietroforte Michael says:

    Ebe, I didn’t get your point about ReadyBoost. It is only for memory sticks. Check out my post about it. It doesn’t improve performance, but it shouldn’t have negative effects on your system memory. Maybe you mean SuperFectch. If you don’t like it, you can just disable its service, as far as I know.

  10. Idetrorce says:

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce

  11. Kenneth says:

    Okay, you censored don’t really know much about what it takes to run vista in comparison to ram costs, so i’ll do a little explaining. I have two computer running vista
    1st computer
    2.4 Ghz Core2 Duo
    4 gigs DDR2 800 Mhz RAM
    Geforce 7900 Graphics card

    2nd computer
    3.2 Ghz Pentium 4 HT
    768 megs DDR 400 Mhz RAM
    Geforce2 Graphics Card (i know it’s laughable,

    So, you see i’ve got the best and worst of the computer experience, yet i have both running flawlessly with Windows Vista Business. They boot up under 30 seconds (longest recorded boot was by the better computer at 37 seconds and best was at under 16 seconds), have virtual memory turned off (so everything is running straight from memory). Now, your thinking this is impossible. It is possible but first you need to disable the services you don’t need, second disable all the damn application loaders that sit in memory and don’t do anything, third disable any program that starts up when you log on that you don’t really need, fourth disable virtual memory if you have more than 2 gigs of RAM. Remember virtual memory is exponentially slower than regular memory and its the cause of a majority of system slowdowns. Also the crappy computer boots and uses only about 542 megs for the system while the good computer which has most services still turned on uses about 849 megs of memory at boot for the system. Most of the problems with the speed issue and Vista is that people are running systems that use more resources than they really need or are putting it on old systems and trying to treat it like a new system.

  12. Killer B says:

    Well, (unfortunately) there is a de facto expectation in society for things to work out of the box or with as little tweaking as possible. Yes, you can get Vista working with less than 2 GB of RAM if you turn off all the services that you don’t need.

    Some people are tweakers and others aren’t.

    In fact, you can actually get Vista working with 256 MB of RAM (Windows PE 2.0, anyone?). However, the average Joe Sixpack is not going to want to do everything by command line only…

  13. db says:

    I have Vista Premium with 2gb, and I did notice some improvements with SP1. Memory use before SP1 was started around 49% and crept up to around 55% after a few openings/closings of IE or other. I found a reboot a day kept it clean, but not much. SP1 starts at about 43%, and does a much better job at staying there after programs are opened/closed. However, two things did break with SP1 – Trend Micro’s 2008 Security and Vista’s own Readyboost. I had a 256 USB key (Lexar) that used to run Readyboost fine, but then it stopped saying the device was not fast enough. Figured it was the key (I could still use it for files though)??, so went out and bought a brand new Verbatim 2gb – but still get the same complaint. The only thing different is SP1, so I figure it has to be it (tried the keys in USBs on front and back – same results. That is how I found this blog – has anyone else had Readyboost problems with SP1

  14. Jhutch says:

    I think the reference to ‘readyboost’ was perhaps meant to mean ‘Superfetch’.

    As I understand it, Superfetch is a Vista process that actively seeks to ‘pre-load’ and store programs or processes that it ‘detects’ you use regularly and therefore the idea is that they start quicker.

    This is often the reason for the high memory usage, it is not that Vista ‘needs’ to be using so much, rather that it is Superfetch holding various bits in memory.

    Personally, I switched Superfetch off, and have found performance (especially games!) vastly improved.

    I’m no expert mind you – I’d advise googling ‘Superfetch’ for more info!

  15. Michael says:

    I’ve read through the comments and I have one issue. When you’re running Vista 32bit x64 (What I’m using), Vista doesn’t take advantage of anything more than 3GBs or RAM. 64bit on the other hand does.

  16. MagicAndre1981, quite interesting! The question is if it is worth the risk to mess up your system. Moving to Windows 64-bit is probably the better option.

  17. It works fine on if you don’t use an Intel GPU. Their drivers are so buggy that they fail. If you use only 4GB the patch is highly recommend, because the 64Bit version uses the more addressable memory itself so you have no benefit.

    You mess up nothing, because you create new files and load it from the boot menu. I used this patch for Vista Sp2 and Win7 RTM and had no issues. I only switched to 64Bit Windows 7 Sp1 because I need more than 2GB virtual address space in applications like xperfview to view xperf traces.

===Leave a Comment===

Login

Lost your password?