In an effort to further clarify our previous test results, we decided to experiment a bit with Vista to see how it would perform with a majority of its newer UI elements and background services turned off. In the process, we believe we've come up with a roadmap of sorts for how to "make Vista run like XP" (sort of):
- Shutdown "Unnecessary" Services - This means killing all those new Vista goodies, like SuperFetch and the WSearch indexer. CPU cycles are a precious commodity - use them wisely.
- Ditch the UI - Use the Advanced System Settings dialog to change the Appearance settings to "adjust for best performance." It's like taking a trip back in time...to 1995!
- Drop the Resolution/Color Depth - This helps to mitigate any sluggishness in the newer Vista-model drivers. 1024x768 with 16-bit color should be good for most video adapters - and it looks "real sharp" stretched across that new 21 inch LCD!
- Handicap XP - Most Windows XP users are running Office 2000, XP or 2003. Upgrade the XP config with Office 2007 to ensure that you get a nice, entirely unrepresentative (of the real world) hybrid scenario.
Do the above and you'll be rewarded by a much closer net experience. Instead of being ~2x slower than XP, Vista in this new, "bare metal" configuration is *only* (drum roll, please)...40% slower!
Bottom Line: Even with the OS stripped to the core, and with all of the new eye-candy and CPU-sucking background services turned off, Vista is *still* 40% slower than XP (SP3) at a variety of business productivity tasks. Time to ask Santa for that new PC for Christmas!