Laptop Performance

With the different power and performance characteristics of a laptop (not to mention the battery!) we’re going to break out our laptop results from the rest of our desktop data.

If you have seen our OS Mobility Explored article, where we compared laptop usage across Windows and Linux, then you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re about to see. The following is a selection of the most relevant data from that article, using Gateway’s very similar Intel and AMD power laptops: the NV5807u and NV5214u respectively.

Starting with the NV52, our Athlon 64 X2 laptop, we see some immediate advantages for Windows 7. In terms of battery life it edges out Windows XP in all situations, and clearly surpasses Vista, particularly in DVD playback. As laptops have been one of Vista’s most troublesome areas, it’s here where Microsoft needed to see some real improvement, and they have delivered.

Meanwhile performance in our limited suite of benchmarks is largely tied. Vista wins in PCMark 05 only due to higher scores in the transparent windows test (something we suspect is a product of the WDDM 1.1 memory optimizations), XP takes 3DMark 03, and Win7 takes PCMark Vantage. Our tendency is to put more weight in to PCMark Vantage, since it’s quantifying the improved laptop performance that we’ve been experiencing, but aren’t necessarily seeing in other benchmarks.

Finally we have boot and hibernation times. Microsoft has been putting some effort in to bringing down the boot times of Vista, and it shows here, although XP is too tough to beat. Hibernation is a similar story – it’s easier to resume from hibernation when you have less stuff to load.

The NV52 paints what’s probably going to be the average picture for Windows 7 on laptops. It’s as fast (if not faster) than XP and can pull off a slightly better battery life, but it’s not going to be able to beat XP in booting/hibernating.

Next we have the NV58, our Intel C2D laptop.

With battery life, we see some things similar to the AMD based NV52, and some things are different. Vista is still a loser, but Win7 doesn’t manage to build any kind of lead over XP in DVD playback, letting XP take it by a small margin. Battery life in our internet testing does go to Win7 however, once again with a small margin.

As for performance, we largely have the same results as with the NV52. Win7 wins PCMark Vantage, the test we care the most about, and pulls near-even elsewhere. 3DMark Vantage is an outlier this time, but this seems to be related to the Intel integrated graphics in this laptop.

Finally boot and hibernation times are similar to what we saw with the NV52. XP is still faster to boot and faster to return from hibernation, the benefit of an older, lighter-weight operating system. Win7 does handily beat Vista in all cases, however.

Gaming: DX10 Upgrade or Clean Install?
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  • jtleon - Friday, October 30, 2009 - link

    Well, control panel reports that .NET 2.0 is installed and running on FLP, as I sit here.....I don't know why I need 3.5....
    jtleon
    Reply
  • Voo - Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - link

    Well only for old hardware.

    With modern desktop pcs or laptops (I'm not talking about netbooks here), there's no need to use it. Many features aren't even available for FLP (.NET 3.5 for example).
    Reply
  • BailoutBenny - Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - link

    7 runs great for me, no problems at all.

    80GB Intel X-25m g2, i7 920 @3.32, 12gb 7-8-7-20 Mushkin, 1TB WD Caviar Black, Radeon 5870.

    This thing beasts anything I throw at it.
    Reply
  • MonicaS - Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - link

    My impressions of Windows 7 so far are good. The reviews are good, though Vista got some good reviews to early on. I think by far the biggest challenge 7 has is the terrible stigma that Vista created. Even now I'm trying to convince friends and co-workers that 7 is actually that much better then Vista.

    Personally I couldn't imagine going back to Vista or XP any time soon.

    Monica S
    Los Angeles Computer Repair
    http://www.sebecomputercare.com">http://www.sebecomputercare.com
    Reply
  • Furuno - Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - link

    So, I've just dumped my (not so) beloved XP and upgrading to 7 Pro 64bit (got some cheap deal, bought it at the same price of Home Premium), and here's my experience :

    At first, I'm really impressed with the taskbar, the window preview is very intuitive. But the I find out that it's not updated constantly, quite annoying when I want to check my download progress). And the fact that the icon is cluttered in the left side of the bar is quite annoying, creating a large blank space in the center of the bar. Really, a dock is better I believe.

    As a Windows XP user that haven't "played" with Vista / 7 beta/RC, I get confused with the UI, especially the Control Panel. The item categorization is very annoying and not consistent, clicking on a item on the left pane takes me to another category, pretty annoying when I want to "tune" every feature one-by-one to meet my personal preferences.

    However, the most annoying thing in 7 is the way it handles multiple windows. As a web developer, when I'm working I usually open my primary target/test browsers (Firefox/Opera, no IE please, 20 acid3 score?) and a LOT of text editors tiled (can be up to 6 at once, usually SCiTE, I don't quite fond of "feature rich" IDEs). In Linux, usually I open the browser in one workspace (virtual desktop) and the editors in another, if I want to swicth, I can easly press CTRL+ALT+LEFT/RIGHT. In 7, after I tiled my editors, whenever I switch to my browser, my tile setup is broken (click on the SCiTE button only open 1 window, I need all at once :( ). I'll buy another monitor(s) next week and lets see what'll happen.

    Indeed there's some apps that do workspace in 7, but I'm just too lazy and don't want to clutter up my 7 setup anyway. Linux will still be my primary workhorse.

    Yet another bad thing, WMP won't load my OGG audio library (too lazy to tweak), oh well, there's always Foobar2k...

    All things aside, the performance of 7 is pretty good on my average system (Athlon II X4 / 4 GB / 5750). Well, my main reason for upgrading to 7 is to play games anyway (DX11). Altough being a quite avid Linux users I still can't understand those "purist" that games on Linux, unless they're playing 1000+ variations of solitaire.

    For the UAC, I've set it to the highest level, annoying? I don' think so, being a Linux users, I love the sudo & "passworded" UAC to begin with. Maybe it's a bit annoying when you're setting up your system and installing apps at first, but once it's set, I don't see that many UAC again. What's so annoying by adding just a single click to install stuff?

    But still, really, when will Microsoft dumb that NTFS and create a much better files system that doesn't need to defrag & checked?

    And it doesn't handle my "unique" EvDO modem pretty well (I still blame the modem manufacturer for shitty windows driver thought...), it get disconnected randomly and pretty hard to reconnect (need to reboot). Come on guys! In Linux is just a single (maybe 2) click to reconnect!

    And not too forget, that Nanami Madobe official 7 OS Tan is pretty appealing for anime lover like me, the system voice is just so cute :P

    tl;dr :
    IMHO, Windows 7 is the next great OS Microsoft launches after XP. It performs good for most people, have great gaming possibility (DX11), but just won't cut it to be my main workhorse. Oh, and no bluescreen yet, seems pretty stable :)
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    NTFS has been on many other operating systems since . . .Windows NT :P

    I do agree with UAC however. User account control is welcome in my book, and like you said; once you install applications, is no hindrance at all. e.g. you install an application, you click "sure, let it install", then that is it. Annoying ? No where near as annoying as having to manually remove any level of difficulty of viruses( because your wonderful anti virus application has no idea how ). And before any one says anything. ALL AV apps have this problem occasionally.

    Directx 10 + adds very little to any gaming experience. Especially for those of us who use laptops that have no discrete graphics.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    Oh, and you bluescreen in Windows XP ? That is likely a hardware / driver issue.

    I have an XP pro system that has had uptimes of half a year, and the *only* reason why it is not longer is because of driver updates, or Windows updates that *require* a reboot. Otherwise, said system could have had a much longer uptime.

    Just like any other OS. You *must* research which hardware will run best under it for the optimal experience. Windows is by far not alone here.
    Reply
  • Furuno - Friday, October 30, 2009 - link

    That's why I've said "unique" EvDO modem, sometime it crashed everytime I want to connect in XP. Well, at least it didn't crashed in 7... Reply
  • Voo - Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - link

    About the preview window: Afaik it doesn't update at all (at least when I was updating something in VMware running windows it didn't do anything). But that has probably technical reasons: Hidden windows do not get redrawn, if you would do that, you would consume quite some performance for a rather small effect.

    WMP does not have the OGG codecs installed, so you either install them yourself or use another media player (the reason for this are probably some legal issues, but yes it should have some more codecs)


    The tiled windows and co: Not a big problem for me, but yes the windows should at least remember their correct position and not pop up anywhere on the screen after minimalizing them.. annoying


    PS: Exactly what has defraging to do with the file system? If you don't have enough continous space for a file it has to be splitted. You'll always get better performance from a HDD if your file is continous, you can try to minimize fragmentation (and different fs do better or worse, no question) but it's impossible to avoid it without moving data around.
    There's a reason why ext4 will have a online defragmentation ;)

    PPS: Anime and manga fans can't be bad persons! Though I prefer the darker stuff ;)
    Reply
  • rs1 - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    Um, the window previesw absolutely *do* update in realtime. Progress bars for file download update, and if you are watching a video in your browser, you can see the video update in the window preview as well. Reply

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