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

  • Griswold - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    Now thats quite a load of horseshit you piled up there... and if its not intentionally false, you may want to step out of the circle of computer users - it doesnt seem to be your thing. Reply
  • samspqr - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    believe me, I'm being as honest as I can be

    in fact, I have to buy a new OS in the coming weeks, and I would prefer that to be w7 because it's more future-proof, but I'm afraid I'd need some hard data to change my current conclusion that something's wrong with w7's opengl implementation, otherwise it will have to be xp

    so, if anybody can point me somewhere where I can see results of w7 not being slower than xp in viewport performance in 3dsmax (opengl) or maya, I would greatly appreciate it

    (remember: no specviewperf, that one is only useful if you're still in 2006)

    in the meantime, please don't say my results are bullshit: they are results
  • ProDigit - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    Besides, apart from buying Vista,and an XP downgrade licence, you will not be able to get your hands on XP. Reply
  • ProDigit - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    If you can wait,I'd say by all means wait until there are more benchmarks out!
    Win7 is out less than a week, give it some time!
    But if you need to choose now,I'd say go for 7!

    Not only is it future proof,on desktops the difference is hardly noticeable!
    Windows 7 has better SSD and HT/multiCore support.

    There is a difference, XP because of being lighter, is faster in some benchmarks, but the difference is hardly noticeable!
    If you have any machine running more than 2 cores, or 1 core with HT, go with Windows 7.
    Any older single core machines work best with XP.

    The choice XP VS Win7 only matters on low specced machines,or machines that run certain programs or games at a very low performance.

    As far as bugs, there could be bugs in 7.
    If your program is not able to install in Vista your chances may increase that it will not be (fully) compatible in 7.
    But give it some time,and many bugs will be ironed out soon!
  • stromgald30 - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    When you put up comparisons, please put up legit ones instead of spreading FUD.

    Your first link has comparisons with different hardware, and when the hardware was the same, different drivers. I wouldn't consider it a very good test at all.

    Your second link was done only with Vista. Although Windows 7 and Vista are the 'same' under the hood, I'm pretty sure Win7 has been better optimized than Vista, much like how XP SP3 is much more optimized than XP in its first release.
  • wangking - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    What's a FUD? Where I come from that is a rather rude word.. Reply
  • ProDigit - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    Don't bother about him.
    People like that either don't have any brains, or they play computer games all day long!

    You're far from being the only one!
    Netbooks are still sold with WinXP as their main OS,
    The majority of the businesses are still running XP,
    Windows 7 has been out less than a month and many businesses aren't fully ready yet to do the switch.

    Only businesses that had to purchase new machines in the past year had no other choice to go with Vista or pay extra to downgrade to XP.
    Or, businesses with people that know nothing of IT, are working in the IT, and wanted vista for it's shiny factor!

    So don't feel left out! Even today, as we speak there are more computers in the world running XP than vista!
    Newer does not mean better!
    And I understand you fully not to trade a good OS in for a resource hogging clogging one!

    I'm using XP32bit on my laptops!
    Happened to be that Vista AND 7 use more battery,and run hotter.
    It is amazing how few reviews you see about battery life and performance "Windows 7 VS XP", cause if they did noone wanted to pay for 7!
    Granted, 7 is better than Vista, but for notebooks and netbooks so far XP is the best!
    I'd rather run XP, and play DX9 games (my notebook can't run any other game anyways) and have 5hours of battery life,
    than I'd run Windows 7 and have 4,5hours.

    I've only tested the beta's and RC1. I yet need to test a release version, but like you I will wait until prices come down!

    I guess this separates the grain from the chaff! If you can wait,by all means, wait!
    XP is far from done, that's why it's the only OS that comes prebundled with Windows 7 Ultimate for compatibility!
  • erple2 - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    Interestingly, I just noticed something sent out from my company's IT department. I still use XP, as does the other 75,000+ employees. They're targeting December 2009 to move to Vista/office 2007.

    I then saw something about Windows 7. Apparently, in bold print, the company is "Migrating to Windows 7/Office 2007" in "early 2010". So we get to use Vista for all of about 3-5 months. Note that this is for all lease refreshes for hardware. So I won't be getting Windows 7 until I get a new machine (which will be in 2 years).

    Kind of pointless.
  • andrewaggb - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    Honestly, XP needs to die. It needs to. It's security model is outdated, it has way too many installs of IE6, etc.

    I like XP, I think most of us do. I never upgraded to vista and stuck with xp on all my machines, but I've always known with Win7 I'd have to move on.

    I upgraded one of my laptops to Win7 yesterday, it was the smoothest OS install ever. It even found all the drivers, everything without any work from me. I used ninite to install all the common apps and was up and running in a couple minutes. Responsiveness and performance are fine. The new media center can play all my divx content and it let me add libraries over my wifi connection - all seemless.

    I'll do one of my development computers next, but I really have to say again, that was the most painless, flawless, install of any os.
  • Genx87 - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    XP had a security model? Unless you had only user privledges it was pretty wide open. Reply

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