Wednesday, November 28, 2007

XP vs. Vista.

This story posted on the headlines at HotAir got my attention the other day. Researchers at Devil Mountain Software pitted Windows Vista (SP1 beta) head-to-head with Windows XP (SP3). The results:

"Vista, both with
and without SP1
, performed notably slower than XP with SP3 in the test,
taking over 80 seconds to complete the test, compared to the beta SP3-enhanced
XP's 35 seconds."

Naturally, Vista-haters everywhere are celebrating their vindication with hearty gusto, and "I told you so" is flying around the 'net. IT Blogwatch at Computerworld has a tech-blog round-up of the brouhaha.

There's a catch, however: the computer they tested the operating systems on had only 1GB of RAM. To my mind this takes unfair advantage of Vista's weak spot, which is its appetite for RAM. 1GB is the bare minimum needed to run Vista at all, with 2+ being recommended. I know, the testers tried it with 2GB RAM and got no appreciable boost in performance. Oh, the calamity!

I'm no shill for Vista or Microsoft. In fact, I think the marketing campaign for Vista has been a giant flop, not to mention the speedy release left the rest of the tech industry scrambling to ensure that every one's old hardware would work with the new system. As a result, users had to endure months with inoperable peripherals or go shell out more hard-earned cash for new, "Vista-ready" hardware and software. Or just buy new computers. Some programs and hardware still don't work, and probably will never work without 'net cobbled workarounds.

But I missed the whole XP boat. I'm a geek, but I am by no means cutting-edge. I stayed with Windows 98 because some of my older games were difficult to make run on XP and I saw no reason to spend the money to upgrade and open myself to all the worms that were crawling around a few years ago. So all the XP worship out there is alien to me and strikes me as a little silly. I have Vista now, because I decided it was time to buy a new PC, and since Vista was the new thing, and games for the next few years figure to make use increasingly of DirectX 10, I figured why not get Vista? It won't be long before Bill Gates forces all the XP lovers to commit OS adultery anyway.

So, I have Vista, and guess what? I like it. I don't care how much it looks like XP, or how much slower it is. As I said, my frame of reference was Win98SE. The security features bug me, but I understand that they were a problem on XP, too.

So flog Vista all you want, it's here to stay. Love XP? Keep using it until it coughs, rolls over, and dies. Or gets hit by a virus.