Have You Ever Been Windows Experienced?

Now that Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 is sorta-kinda available to everyone, let's see what it takes to run it. Here's a comparison of the Vista hardware requirements with the hardware requirements of Windows XP:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2006/09/have-you-ever-been-windows-experienced.html

If you’re interested in ReadyBoost performance (as I am), you might be interested to know that some of the fastest USB drives on the market right now are…

  • Kingston Data Traveller Elite (best, $$)
  • Lexar JumpDrive Lightning (best, $$)
  • OCZ Rally series (good, $)

These came out on top in these recent USB flash drive roundups:


There can be a very large difference between performance of the “generic” USB flash drives and the fancier stuff. So beware!

So is there a way to check the Vista score without actually downloading, burning, and installing the whole OS?

Tyrannicus-- I’m not sure. There is a compatibility check you can run from XP using the Vista RC1 DVD.

Tristan-- home machine specs:

Athlon X2 4800+ CPU
Radeon X1900XTX Video
WD Raptor 74 GB HDD

But if I was building a machine today, I’d go with the latest nVidia 7 series video cards due to their better watts/performance ratio, and one of the cheaper Intel Core Duo 2 CPUs.

Definitely get a Raptor though. I can’t emphasize enough how much faster a machine “feels” with one of these 10K RPM hard drives as the boot drive.

Tyrannicus, it’s available for XP users:


Another interesting aspect of the WEI is that it provides a qualitative measurement of the performance degradation imposed by various virtualization environments. How much slower is Parallels under OS X than Boot Camp? Now you can measure…

What’s your home machine’s specs? My home machine has e-wang envy and requires immediate upgrade!

well, is it irony or cynicism that motivates running this right after the Gas Bag??

methinks that the Wintel monopoly is playing into the hands of linux. back when M$ still called it DOS, a favored description of the state of PC-dom was that the three applications of interest were word processing, spreadsheets, and word processing. that’s still true, modulo gaming (which may well devolve to its purpose-built devices). 15 Gig base??? pleeeeeze.

iVista requires 10x the drive space, 8x the memory, and 4x the CPU power. considering it’s been 6 long years since the last release of a mainstream desktop operating from Microsoft. /i

The way that you can say that unchallenged is really odd. Think of this as a software developer. If I made the next release of my software that fixed a few bugs, added a few new features, but if you wanted to do the same stuff as before with it (in the case of windows, web browsing, email, word processor and spreadsheets) - without doing anything substantially new with the software, it ran four times as slow in eight times as much memory - I’d be appalled.

But this is business as usual in OSs. Sad, really.

without doing anything substantially new with the software

See the list of new features in Vista:


It’s a substantial improvement over XP. For example, the control panel and start menu are HUGELY improved and worth their weight in gold as far as I’m concerned.

OK, I’m not trying to be a jerk, but I sat there looking at the scores and thought, “You just bought a brand new machine and it’s rated at less than 50% on this scale for running this new OS and you’re happy with it?” Then I realized that the scale probably went 0 to 5 rather than 0 to 10. Expect the same reaction from non-technical users.

You do realize that this will eventually be changed by marketing to highlight the highest instead of lowest score don’t you? And it will end up being like those 20 inch monitors that only had 5 inches of actual viewing area. (OK, maybe I’m exaggerating there.) Not that I’m cynical.

Then I realized that the scale probably went
0 to 5 rather than 0 to 10.
– Darrin

But your first guess that the scale went from 0-10 is probably correct. Note that the last three scores were 5.9, 5.8, 5.7. At the very least the scale goes to 6, but more likely 10.

At the very least the scale goes to 6, but more likely 10

I am quite certain the scale has no arbitrary upper limit. I expect to see CPU and video scores of 50+ by the time Vista gets on in age…

Is there any protection against editing that xml file ? As you say, it could become a selling argument for OEM’s and also when selling on ebay or whatever.

If it’s easy to edit then that could become a huge problem for people that don’t know much about computers but think they bought a great computer because the score said so.

According to many of the comments on the OCZ Rally series (the new drives) they fail the ReadyBoost test.


This is for the 2GB drive.

they fail the ReadyBoost test.

Those comments, based on the date, refer to the Beta 2. The ReadyBoost support has improved a lot for RC1; it’s highly likely the OCZ Rally will work. The crappy (speed-wise) PQI I-stick I have works fine, and it’s mediocre in speed at best.

I built my home computer in 2003. Specs: P4 2.8GHz/533MHz FSB, 512MB 1066MHz RDRAM on 32-bit modules (which you can’t get in larger capacity modules, so I can’t upgrade the RAM), 120GB Hitachi DeskStar 7200rpm HDD with 8MB cache. To test Vista I added an Asus Radeon 9550 Pro card (under 50 including VAT) and a 160GB Hitachi DeskStar 7200rpm 8MB cache HDD. The original nVidia GeForce 4 Ti4800SE will never have WDDM drivers as it isn’t DX9-class.

The video card scores 2.1 on desktop graphics, and so Vista RC1 Setup does not enable Aero. Doing this manually (right-click desktop, Personalize, click the top link, select ‘Windows Aero’ from the theme list, OK out) results in a fine Glass experience.

I’ll either be investigating USB pen drives, or buying a new machine - probably the latter as I expect a Core 2 Duo E6300 to massively outperform this while consuming a fraction of the power. Having said that, Vista performance is actually pretty good. The thing that will stop me upgrading is that eMbedded Visual C++ doesn’t work.

5 is the highest score on the scale and is supposed be be the rank of the best companent out when vista was made must have made that part 2 years ago :stuck_out_tongue:
the scale is never ending though, so as graphics get better the scores will just keep increasing im sure they will try and scale it somehow

The WEI scores top out at 5.9 in Vista. They are supposed to scale up over time as hardware improves and new features come into play.

I found out that the OCZ Flash Driver really don’t work even on RC1. FYI, you can see the results of the Readyboost perf tests in the Windows event viewer.

‘It’s a substantial improvement over XP. For example, the control panel and start menu are HUGELY improved and worth their weight in gold as far as I’m concerned.’

Thats very true, I use Vista on a daily basis on my machine (using a dual boot) and I got to say Its hard for me to stand using XP compared but all things considering do these things really justify the OS being 10x bigger than XP? Surely with the modern knowlege and what not of modern coders and developers they would’ve been able to make the size much smaller than 15Whoopin GB?