Monday, April 26, 2010

(Stats) Office 2010 Delivers a Performance Boost

In a stunning reversal of nearly twenty years of progressive performance erosion, the latest incarnation of Microsoft’s ubiquitous productivity suite, Office 2010, is actually faster than its immediate predecessor, Office 2007.

Testing with the cross-version OfficeBench 7 test script shows Office 2010 to be roughly 9% faster overall when running on an identically configured Windows 7 desktop environment. This surprising result constitutes the first time in the decade-long history of OfficeBench that a newer version of Microsoft Office outperformed the one it was designed to replace.

O2010 ResultFigure 1 – OfficeBench 7 Results for Office 2010

Historically, new versions of Office have been slower than their predecessors thanks to the inclusion of additional features and a generally more complex code path. For example, moving from Office 2000/XP on Windows 2000 to Office 2003 on Windows XP showed a 15-20% performance decrease under OfficeBench, while moving from Office 2003 under Windows XP to Office 2007 on Windows Vista showed a whopping 40% or greater decline in overall OfficeBench script throughput.

O2007 Result Figure 2 – OfficeBench 7 Results for Office 2007

However, with the release of Windows 7, Microsoft has demonstrated a newfound ability to keep the “code bloat” demons in check, with the net result that Windows 7 performs on par with, and in some cases better than, Windows Vista.

Now, this same disciplined development model – a byproduct of veteran Office business unit manager and now Windows show runner Steve Sinofsky’s “less is more” philosophy – is reaping rewards for the desktop applications side of the house, which can market Office 2010 as a performance upgrade in addition to promoting its myriad functional enhancements.

Of course, benchmark results like the ones quoted above are intrinsically relative. For example, though Office 2010 provides a performance edge over Office 2007 on Windows 7, the combination of the newer Windows and Office still delivers a test script completion time that is 15-20% slower than Office 2007 running on Windows XP (SP3).

Note: You can conduct your own cross-version comparison test by downloading the OfficeBench 7 test script. It’s easy to use, works with any combination of Windows/Office, and is completely free. Grab your own copy today!

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