[Review] Is Windows 10 better than Windows 8.1 and 7, Performance Wise?

Memory, Game and Power Consumption performances are compared in Windows 10, 8.1 and 7. Different benchmarks from games like Watch Dogs, Tomb Raider compared.

Bet, you are thinking of performance improvements in Windows 10. For example, HTC One for Windows is faring better than Android, not only in battery life, but also is faster. Also the IE10 and IE11 are having better JavaScript experience in Windows 10. The Technical Preview license runs till April 15, 2015 and the final release date will take some more time. for desktops and laptops is on July 29th, 2015.

PCWizKids did some performance tests to compare Windows 7 vs Windows 8.1 vs Windows 10 Technical Preview in memory usage, gaming and fps. He used a dual-boot scenario of Windows 8.1 and 10 Technical Preivew, but later added Windows 7 also to test their comparison.

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The system configuration was something like this :

  • Processor – AMD A10-6700 (Richland)
  • Motherboard – ASUSTek  Model F285- V PRO
  • Memory : 4 GB.
  • Graphics Card – NVidia GeForce GT 740
  • Hard Disk – Minimal

Memory Usage

Windows 7 was using around 800 MB of memory, which is about 20% of the total memory for the normal processes. Windows 10 and 8.1 used about 17% of the memory, which comes to around 700 MB.

Though, it’s very early to compare the 10 Technical Preview memory usage, but 17% is better than 20%. So with less resources it can run the processes, while the remaining can be used for gaming and other memory intensive programs.

The idle usage of RAM on a Asus T100 machine for Windows 10 was less compared to Windows 8.1 (Mar, 2015). Though it depends on various factors like the size of RAM, it also depends on the beta build version. For example v10041 had problems with RAM usage compared to v10130.  [Source : http://www.tenforums.com/general-discussion/5007-windows-10-memory-usage-asus-t100.html]

But there are contrary reports on RAM usage on the same forum. In another forum post (recently in May, 2015), it was found that Win 10 was using 90% RAM.

But in another post, a user posted a comparison ram usage for Windows 10 vs Windows 8.1. He didn’t find much difference. (Feb, 2015). But the noticeable difference is that Windows 10 has more free memory, instead of standby memory.

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Ram Usage - Windows 10 vs 8.1

[Image Source : tenforums.com]

BenchMarking

win10-b3 win10-b2 win10-b1 w10-b4 w10-b3 w10-b2 w10-b1

The AIDA64 Cache & Memory Benchmark tests produced the following results. Windows 10 copy memory bandwidth usage was little higher than the others. With driver improvements we can see better benefits. Also calculating Pi to 1 million decimal places, Windows 10 was the winner. It calculated in 28 secs, while Windows 8.1 did it in 29 secs and Windows 7 in 30 secs.

On the CPU Queen Scores, Windows 10 scored a higher score of 21203. The other two OS, scored 21168 and 21079 respectively. The overall system performance test on PCMark 8 Home tests showed that Windows 7 and 8 scored 2743 points. But Windows 10 made a better score of 2768.

3DMark doing the SkyDiver test, Windows 7 scored 6544 while Windows 8.1 scored a bit less (because of the physics score probably) 6483. But Windows 10 made improvement than 8.x with 6510. Though 7 outscored all the three, it can be seen that 10 had improvements and we can see better scores in the final versions. The drivers are all identical in all the 3 scenarios.

In the Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 tests, there was not much difference in the average FPS score. The FPS speed was 20 in Windows 7, while in Windows 8.1 and 10, there was only half-frame second difference. The FPS scores were also almost identical at around 503. With better driver improvements, we can see more benefits.

Gaming Performance

Tech YES City, did some benchmark comparison of 3 commonly used games on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 Technical Preview.

Specs:

  • 5820k @ 4.2ghz / 3.3ghz cache ratio.
  • DDR4 Memory at 2133 default speeds.
  • GTX 970 at default speeds.
  • X99S SLI Plus MSI Motherboard 

The following games and softwaer were tested. (Battlefield 4 / Skyrim / Arma 3) / Adobe CS6 Premiere pro benchmark (rendering times) and a start up (boot) times test.

The final conclusion was that all the 3 games fared well the same in all the 3 OSes. But there was minor advantages with two of the games in Windows 8.1. But with Directx 12 round the corner, Windows 10 may show some drastic improvements. Crysis 3 didn’t work out in Windows 10, but the performance score was the same in 7 and 8.1.

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Ocaholic” also did a vast comparison of some other games.

Test Setup

Motherboard
  • ASUS Maximus VII Hero (BIOS 0224)
CPU
  • Intel Core i7-4770K @ 4.0 GHz (Turbo On / HT On)
Memory
  • G.Skill Ares Dual Channel 2x8GB @ CL11-12-11-28-1T-Auto DDR3-1600 MHz
Graphics Cards
  • ASUS Strix OC Edition GeForce GTX 980
Drivers
  • NVIDIA ForceWare 344.11
Games and OS
  • Windows 10 Tecnical Preview x64 Buil: 9841
  • Windows 8.1 Pro x64
  • Windows 7 x64
  • All games were up to date on the
System Drive
  • OCZ Storage Solutions Arc 100 240GB
PSU
  • Seasonic Platinum SS-1000XP / 1000 Watts

In the Unigine Heaven 4.0 Extreme Present benchmark test, Windows 7 scored a higher FPS rate with different resolutions. For a 1080p mode, the average FPS was 66.7 in Windows 7, while it was 66.0 and 65.2 in Windows 10 and 8.1 respectively.

The BattleField 4 performance tests showed neck and neck comparison within all the three OS. One did well with one resolution and also the average FPS rates were also not much different. Windows 10 scored an average FPS rate of 88.72  with 1080p mode.

In the Watch Dogs benchmark comparison, Windows 8.1 was almost the clear winner with different resolution modes of 1080p, 1440p, 2160p. It gave around 2 to 6% improvement scores in the average FPS rates.

Gaming Performance comparison - Windows 10 vs Windows 8.1 vs Windows 7

The Tomb Raider also showed that Windows 8.1 is better at FPS rates. Though the difference is only marginal, it can be seen that games go well with 8.1 OS. The average FPS rates for Windows 10 were 53.10, 33.00, 14.20 in different resolution modes.

The website also conducted Power Consumption tests. With Idle mode as the parameter, Windows 10 was using less power compared to 8.1 and 7. It used only 68 watts power, a 5% less compared to Windows 7. The FurMark benchmark tests showed that, Windows 10 used 221 watts, only a 2% decrease compared to Windows 7.

Anyhow, it can be seen that, if you want normal performance of games with little power usage, than Windows 10 is the winner. Many-a-times, Windows 7 and 8.1 showed a minor performance increase in the game average FPS rates, but they can be out-scoredWindows 10 vs 8.1 vs 7 - Power Consumption

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Update : 17/6/2015

System Requirements

From the software and hardware requirements point-of-view, there is not much change in Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 system requirements. (apart from small changes like 10 needs a Microsoft account and Internet connection for upgrade).

windows-10-software-hardware-internet-requirements software-hardware-necessities-windows-8.1software-hardware-requirements-windows-7

Windows 10 Disk Space “Saving” – Likely in the Final Release

With the increase in SSD devices and flash memory storage with devices like smart-phones and tablets, Microsoft had to re-think it’s strategy of going on with Moore’s law in the disk-space requirement for it’s OS.

In a blog post on windows.com, the authors say that there can be a net saving of 1.5 GB on 32-bit systems and 2.6 GB on 64-bit installations. An example showing the performance improvements in Windows 10 disk space usage, can be seen in this graphic.

Disk space performance improvement in windows 10The reduction in disk footprint, allowing for more data storage is achieved by compressing Windows system files. (a new feature introduced in Windows 10 TP build 9879).

This major change was required, because of OEMs including a recovery partition with every new release of Microsoft OS. This was also occupying chunk of the disk space. But in tablets and phones, the storage space was in terms of 8GB or 16GB or 32GB. So users with old devices or SSDs are at a loss, due to the current Windows 10 system requirements.

In Windows 8.1 Microsoft introduced a solution called, Windows Image Boot, aka WIMBOOT, for Surface Pro kind of tablet devices. This is also going to go away in Windows 10, since it had some dis-advantage. The Refresh/Reset functionality is also going to be re-designed.

These storage performance improvements will be available for upgrades and new OEMs as well. But smaller devices may be blocked, if the “upgrade assistant” finds that the benefits of compression or out-weighed by performance drags of systems trying to compress and decompress files.

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