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The Fastest OS

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The latest evolution of the Vista vs. XP vs. Mac OS X face-off involves the 64-bit version of the first service pack for Windows Vista, the 32-bit variant of XP SP2 Professional and the 64-bit Mac OS X. The comparison, because the tests cannot be referred to as a benchmarking per se, has been provided by Keith Combs, Microsoft IT Pro Evangelist. Combs used a Lenovo ThinkPad T61p with 4GB of memory, NVIDIA Quadro FX 570m, Intel T7500 Core 2 Duo, and a MacBook Pro with the same hardware configuration. The first tests run involved boot times.

"Round one goes to OS X and the Apple MacBook Pro," Combs stated. "One thing before we get to the details of the cold boot test, the MackBook Pro didn't spank the Lenovo ThinkPad T61p with Windows XP or Windows Vista." x64 Vista SP1 booted and then used IE7 to visit the default webpage in under 1 minute and 10 seconds. XP SP2 did the same in 1:15 minutes with Mac OS X and Safari doing it in 60 seconds.

Combs subsequently moved to copying 42.7GB of data with each OS. "Not surprisingly, the T61p internal SATA to SATA file copy with Windows Vista SP1 x64 was the fastest copy. It accomplished the copy in a little over 19 minutes. As with the cold boot test, it wasn't an earth shattering difference in my opinion from the fastest file copy test to the slowest file copy test. You might note here that Windows XP Pro x86 took 30 minutes to complete the internal SATA to SATA copy. 11 minutes longer than Windows Vista x64 SP1. It's pretty clear to me from that test Vista is holding it's own nicely," Combs said.

The last test involved was to copy the files from the operating systems to an external SATA drive, with the device using the native file format of each operating system. "Windows XP took 36 minutes. Windows Vista took 40 minutes," Combs added.

The conclusion of the test tends to favor Mac OS X over Vista SP1 and XP SP2. But, at the same time, it does reveal that x64 Vista SP1 is faster than x86 XP SP2. Since SP3 is still in development, it was not used in the tests. The bottom line is that in real life scenarios, the difference between Vista SP1, XP SP2 and Mac OS X in terms of performance can be ignored. Well, it didn't happen for Vista RTM which was crucified repeatedly for being slower than XP SP2, and the beta builds of XP SP3.

"The performance of the three operating systems is closer than I thought. In fact, it's really a waste of time to debate it. In this busy age, a few minutes here and there aren't worth having the holy war I see waged when the various camps talk about the Mac and OS X, Windows XP and Windows Vista. Now granted we aren't testing applications here, and the tests above were really simple, but I'm comfortable with the results," Combs concluded.

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Five Language Standalone for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the operating system is available for download HERE.

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April 14, 2008 at 2:19 PM

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