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?


View All Comments

  • solipsism - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Nice review!

    Anand Effect
    — For every mention of Apple and their products the number of people who complain in the comments about Apple, their products and AnandTech’s occasional focus on said products doubles exponentially.
  • Taft12 - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Not a bad theory, but the "doubles exponentially" part needs some peer review from mathematicians in the crowd (when they stop laughing) Reply
  • Toadster - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    I was very impressed with my upgrade - 65 minutes from start to end!

  • Spivonious - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Not bad, but clean install took under 25 minutes on my E6600 machine. Reply
  • Griswold - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    The magic word is migration. A clean install with nothing else is certainly fast. The installation didnt even take 25 minutes here. The hours to make everything the way I needed it to be afterwards without upgrading from vista, thats what counts. :) Reply
  • mcnabney - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    4.5 hours for an upgrade on a fast hard disk that held ~300GB of apps and data.
    Butchered the drivers. Made a complete mess of the codecs. I would recomend the clean install since you will likely spend less time re-installing Apps than repairing the damage.
  • 9nails - Saturday, November 07, 2009 - link

    I wanted to upgrade from Vista 64-Bit Ultimate to Win 7 Ultimate, but it turns out that MS was handing out 32-bit versions. So no upgrade path from 64 to 32 bit. I did a clean install instead.

    So far, my only complaint is about the provided wall paper selection. I couldn't find anything that I truly liked. Other than that, Windows 7 is awesome! Solid, fast, and full of good stuff.
  • bearnet2001 - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Well I'm still on XP 64, not sure if I'll upgrade. Next build I suppose, but I'm not paying out $200 or so just to upgrade a comp with an already fine OS. Reply
  • IdBuRnS - Saturday, October 31, 2009 - link

    Why do you need a $200 version? don't. Reply
  • just4U - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    I just don't understand why holdouts on XP like to argue how good it is in comparison to Vista... which it obviously is NOT. It seems they fail to realize that ALL OF US used it for a very long time (as operating systems go) So it's not like we don't have some basis of comparison to go on here.

    That being said, people upgrade when they either have to or want to. I am fine with that. If your still finding XP useful then shoot who am I to argue.

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