Windows 8 Consumer Preview is faster than Windows 7 and Vista

Microsoft promised a more efficient operating system and they delivered with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Windows 8 Consumer Preview loads faster than Windows 7 and Vista, even on older computers

By Stephen Pate – With Microsoft aiming Windows 8 at mobile and desktop computers, the operating system had to get smaller and more efficient.

They succeeded with faster boot and restart times even on older computers.  This is impressive for a beta release which probably hasn’t been finally tuned for performance.

For desktops, a few seconds saved won’t add any productivity to an 8 hour day. Should that speed occur during processing, which wasn’t thoroughly tested, it could extend the performance life of 2-4 year old computers. Laptops and other lower powered computers will benefit from Windows 8 Consumer Preview (Win8CP). Of course, Windows 8 has to run efficiently on smart phones and tablets if it is to gain any traction in the market.

We put Win8CP to the test and it booted on average within 19.5 seconds.

This confirmed an unscientific gut feeling: when booting two computers at the same time, the Win8CP computer is ready for login first.

The older and less powerful Win8CP computer, in this test, is also faster to load applications and retrieve internet sites.

The Test Details

The test machine for Win8CP is a Dell XPS630i with a Dual-Core Q9300 processor, considered fast 4 years ago. The Windows Experience rating on this computer is a modest 5.4. Boot times with Win8CP averaged 19.5 seconds. Restart times averaged 46 seconds, longer since there are two processes happening – shutdown and boot.

The fastest computer we tested came in second with boot time averaging 23 seconds and restart of 62 seconds. This computer is powered by an Intel i7 X980 Extreme Edition with 6 cores and 12 threads, a very fast computer.

The X980 couldn’t beat Win8CP on the slower and less powerful dual core, despite having the advantage of an Intel 320 Series SSD drive, which dramatically cuts boot times. The X980 has a Windows Experience rating of 7.4, almost the highest possible.

The third computer is a Dell XPS8000 with a respectable Intel i7 760 running Windows Vista. Despite having the same Windows Experience rating 5.4 as the Dual Core Q9300 Win8CP computer, it turned in the worst boot times at 36 seconds to boot and 103 seconds to Restart.

Core boot time

To see the real-time it takes to boot Windows, subtract 12-14 seconds for the computer itself to power up. Hence, the real-time for Win8CP to boot was about 5 seconds. Windows 7 took 9 seconds and Vista took 24 seconds. On portable and handheld devices, the time will have to be under 2-3 seconds.

An Apple iPhone 4 takes 35 seconds to boot from off. Win8CP beats that time on a full computer with hard drive. Microsoft has done an excellent job of improving the performance on Win8CP.

Computers Tested

i7 760 i7 X980 Q9300
CPU Cores 4 Cores 6 Cores 2 Cores
CPU Clock 2.79 GHz 3.33 GHz 2.5 GHz
Disk HD SSD HD
Win Exp Rating 5.9 7.4 5.9
O/S Vista-64 Win 7-64 Win 8 CP
Boot (seconds) 36 23 20
Restart (seconds) 103 62 46

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