Upcoming XP Service Pack Boosts Performance

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Although Microsoft is desperately trying to get the public at large to accept its new Vista operating system, Windows XP continues to outperform its younger sibling by a significant margin, and a new service pack will soon widen that gap. According to Devil Mountain Software, an independent software testing company, Microsoft’s latest update “delivers a measurable performance boost to this aging desktop OS.”

As reported in the company’s blog, a Dell XPS M1710 with a 2GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM and a GeForce 7900GS was used as a test bed for comparison between different versions of XP, as well as Vista. A graph depicting results of the test shows Service Pack 3 shaving about 10 percent off benchmark completion times using OfficeBench, which simulates operations in the Microsoft Office 2007 suite. Vista lagged behind both versions of XP in the tests, completing tasks in twice the time.

In response to criticism of the first test, the company ran new tests giving the computer another 1GB of memory and using Office 2003 rather than Office 2007. Both changes were expected to narrow the margins between Vista and XP, but the results were hardly noticeable. “Instead of being over 2x slower than XP on the same OfficeBench workload, Vista is now ‘only’ 1.8x slower,” the company reported after the Office 2003 tests. Speed increases for SP3 remained.

The continuing popularity of Windows XP has been a bane for Microsoft. In September, the company was even forced to extend the period it would sell the operating system in response to consumer demand.

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