The Windows Vista Monster Review

Overall Performance of Windows Vista RC1

Technically speaking, after RC1 all what happens is performance tweaks and slight appearance changes. Obviously Microsoft has a lot more than that to accomplish in the upcoming builds, but nevertheless, this section in particular applies to Windows Vista RC1 and RC1 alone. That said, Windows Vista has undeniably improved performance-wise since the last build.

RC1 has improved memory management (and all the leaks have been plugged too!!) but more importantly (from the layman’s point of view), Windows Vista has been optimized. Very much. Each and every line of code seems to have been thoroughly cleaned up and heavily scrubbed. Debug code is (mostly) all gone, and the rest has been optimized on a processor-architecture basis.

Memory usage in Windows Vista RC1 is surprisingly close to Windows XP + a bit of overhead. For example, Windows Vista seems to be stuck on 500MB of memory. It boots at or around that much (in use!!), but the surprising thing is, it keeps it that way. With Windows Internet Explorer 7 and Outlook 2007 running, Windows Vista consumes 550MB of memory. With Visual Studio .NET 2k5 on top of that, it reaches 600.

It’s obvious that the base architecture of the Windows NT Kernel has been completely revamped and geared towards maximum performance, but nevertheless, don’t let the numbers above fool you. That’s 500–600 MB of memory in use on average! That means, it’ll go up, it’ll go down, and it all depends on what you’re running and what it’s running on. If you turn off Aero (and use Aero Express instead) 512MB will be barely enough. Turn on Aero, and watch your memory fly.

Somewhere along the way, Microsoft realized that the majority of PCs on the market today lull users into buying them boasting high clock speeds for the CPU: Everything else is garbage. So Microsoft switched from GPU-driven animations to a more balanced mix of CPU/GPU, which means the memory takes a hit. Open several Windows Explorer windows and watch the memory soar. It’s not the program, after all, it’s just a shell. Rather, all the nice Aero effects on the window borders and the desktop naturally bog the system down. So stock up on the memory, you’re going to need it.

The shameful thing is that Microsoft still refuses to use processor-specific commands. That means all those memory optimizations, from MMX to SSE4 are useless. When Microsoft planned to make Windows Longhorn run on .NET, it meant higher memory usage but much more efficient utilization of the CPU! .NET automatically converts programs (and operating systems) from .NET pre-compile code (ILDASM) to processor-specific commands. That means it automatically applies whatever processor-specific architectural commands it can find, and runs your programs on them. That’s really the biggest (and one of the few) advantage of .using NET for an OS, but it can easily be circumvented by proper coding techniques that ensure an application uses some of the mandated architectural requirements. But Windows Vista doesn’t.

Although (as previously discussed), Windows Vista on the whole is quite snappy and runs certain programs that tie into Windows services quite fast, some parts of Windows Vista are still not up to scratch. Namely, Windows Media Center. We talked about this earlier in our WMC review, but it certainly deserves another mention here. WMC blows – quite literally. Performance is terrible, the amazing GUI effects are completely undermined by the too-visible lag and the frame-freezes. Playing a DVD in WMC is far less of a media experience than playing it on Windows Media Player. And no, it’s not the drivers, because with Aero Express on and using the real and fully optimized Windows XP drivers in compatibility mode, WMC is just a bit better. WMC needs help, and Microsoft needs to know.

That’s RC1, and it’s bound to change. It’s improved by leaps and bounds, but it still has a long way to go, because despite what everyone else may say, Windows Vista isn’t “just” an upgrade to Windows XP, it’s also a challenge to Mac OS X and Linux, and at the moment, it’s not winning any awards or making many switch. It’s a good upgrade, but that’s just not good enough.

59 thoughts on “The Windows Vista Monster Review

  1. Every other operating system, than Windows Vista is crap!

    I like it as clear and simple as Vista is!

    Oh and 99% of software is only Windows capable, so why should i use some linux/unix/apple/mac anyways???

  2. Linux is alot easier to use than you may think. I would let my grandma use the latest distros (and thats saying ALOT). Still not perfect (a command prompt is useful to get things done quickly and efficiently. This may be intimidating to some.) Vista, when you get down to it, is still windows. It uses alot of the same code as XP but with more “features” tacked on top. This new code is untested and, I am sure, full of back doors. The only reason MS is still in business is because of a few slip-ups by other companies (most notably Apple for losing that case way back when and IBM for not buying MS) OSX is very easy to use and I would say its the perfect blend of simplicity, power, security and stability. I have used all three products extensively (though currently use linux because i love programming). If MS produces a good product, I will shut up but until then, seriously, they need to get on the ball and innovate a little.

  3. Robig, you see the problem, don’t you?

    Since the world uses MS, you have to too. At least if you want to make a living.
    If you plan on working for a desktop software developer, 99 times out of a 100, you’re going to be required to work on Windows, because that’s what your audience is.

    The reason MS and Windows are still on the top is because they won the game quickly and from the very beginning. For every OS X application you can find, there are 2000 Windows programs.

    In computing, where it’s all about standards, the one that can take over fastest wins.

  4. I just installed Vista for an old lady across the street from me, got her computer set up, and installed a printer and some other hardware.  This was the first time I’ve touched Vista.  I have to say…it’s slow, bloated, doesn’t seem to add much new from XP, and the hardware support absolutely sucks.  That’s right, I spent way more time than I needed to over there struggling to get the damn printer installed.  It should have been easy.  It is on XP.  I won’t even go into the problems I had with installing the wireless card or the terrible network center interface.

    I hated it.

  5. I have to agree Jacob, those are the same weak points I experienced in Windows Vista myself.

    But I think the rest is good though, no?

  6. Wtf are you idiots bagging vista for? It uses less cpu power thanks to the new gui which can be turned off, but why the hell would you? Most *nix OS’s have around 30 accounts, why are people saying it has 1000? Vista has around 20 itself. People who are unwilling to test it but will bag it out by comparing it to something stupid that doesn’t exist anyway are moronic.

    Hilarious quote from comment #1: the colors should not make eyes to ake

    He evidently can’t spell “colour”; and he doesn’t realise the colours are easily changeable – something you notice when you test the OS.

  7. You seem not to know your language very well, otherwise you could tell some common differences between British English and American English, one of them says “color”, the other one “colour”…

    Anyway, do you also have something valuable to tell?

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