Vista SP1 vs XP SP3
I recently read a couple of reports from ComputerWorld regarding the performance of the upcoming service packs for Windows XP and Vista.
The outlook seems to be that SP3 for XP will bring statistically significant (or at least noticeable) performance improvements, while SP1 for Vista will not result in any performance that is discernable. Unfortunately for me, it seems that all the testing is being done with the 32-bit versions of the OS, as these are the versions that most people are using. Sigh.
On the other hand, I don't really have anything to complain about. When it comes to my experience with Vista, 64-bit versions perform superbly -- at least as well as XP did -- so long as 2GB of RAM is involved. I have a couple of laptops that are almost identical in configuration other than one running XP x64 and the other running Vista x64. Both have 1GB RAM plus video cards with shared RAM, but the 64-bit XP system boots faster and is generally snappier for the first 10-15 minutes after being powered on, relative to its Vista sibling.
Yet, my laptops with 2GB RAM all fly with Vista, as does my 3GB desktop. (An older desktop with 1.2GB of RAM and a video card with discrete RAM runs Vista on par with XP which was before it, so clearly the amount of free RAM and video power are key.)
I'll wait to see how the benchmarks look once the code is actually released for both Service Packs, however. There's still a bit of time left for improvement, and I don't generally make major judgements with pre-shipping hardware or software.
Either way, this looks to be very good news for people who don't want to ditch Windows XP as yet. My guess is that performance will be a focus of Vista SP2, while compatibility and bug fixes were a much higher priority for SP1.
While I've heard a few complaints from people who used to use Vista and have since gone back to XP, I haven't had that sort of experience. In fact, my 64-bit Vista experience continues to be better than my 32-bit experience in terms of performance and stability of applications.