How fast is Windows 8? (Part 1)

4/23/2012 6:22:38 PM

Windows 8 in the first performance test

Not everyone would like to buy a new computer for Windows 8. Thus, we are testing the Developer Preview – exactly like the later versions – on a system with Intel-Core-2-Duo (2.4 GHz), 2 GB RAM and an NVIDIA-GeForce 7600 GS graphics card. We will consider the DirectX-11.1 graphic interface only when the suitable hardware and functioning drivers are available.

Description: Windows 8

In order to assess the performance of Windows 8, we will measure the performance with the current benchmark tools, total performance as well as the boot time and how fast it surfs with the new Internet Explorer 10, among other things. In the table you can see how the development of the new Windows is going on.

Measured values: Windows 8 has very strong performance even today.

The new Windows competed with the predecessor as a Develop Preview in the benchmark tests – and even overtook it in some assessments


Win 7 Home Premium SP1

Win 8 Developer Preview

Installation (stopwatch)

21 minutes

30 minutes

Boot time according to event log

87.501 ms

45.577 ms

Total performance (measured with PCMark 7 Basic Edition)

1,502 PCMarks

1,579 PCMarks

Graphics performance (measured with 3DMark 06)

1,844 3DMarks

904 3DMarks

Loading a large application (Photoshop CS5.5)

10 seconds

4 seconds

Compressing a 317 MB file with 7-Zip

114 seconds

113 seconds

De-compressing a 98 MB ZIP file (7-Zip)

27 seconds

28 seconds

Playing videos (PCMark)

19.23 fps

17.99 fps

Converting videos (PCMark)

1,226.65 KB/s

1,940.09 KB/s

Surfing the web (PCMark)

7.48 pages/sec.

7.72 pages/sec.

CPU performance for rendering (measured with CineBench 11.5)

1.34 points

1.33 points

Shutting down according to event log

12.250 ms

6.970 ms


The new interface is known to many users. But what is under the hood? A comparison with its predecessor yields surprising results.


The next Windows offers a lightning start in just 8 seconds, fast data transfers thanks to USB 3.0, surfing at amazing speeds and smooth, explosive game graphic – so says Microsoft anyway. How many of these claims actually remain till the end will be shown in long term test. Until the official commercial launch of Windows 8, CHIP will be measuring the performance of every past version with benchmark tools, and the results will be compiled in an ever-growing table. Thus, you can easily compare at any time what advances the developers have succeeded in making in the new operating system and more work is needed. Our test computer has remained unchanged during the entire course of the test; the use of tuning tools is taboo. This time, the Developer Preview published in the BUILD conference for the general public challenges a full-scale Windows 7 with the Service Pack 1. This shows if and how Microsoft has developed its operating system in comparison to its predecessor. The three other milestone builds going around on the web remain outside, since they were never officially released for testing.

Description: Win 8

Booting with the mouse

The Developer Preview acts a little touchy during the installation, but the irritation caused is rewarded with a boot manager which you can control with the mouse. In the first start-up, we integrated the ISO file of the Developer Preview in the Virtual Clone drive and tried to install the system from Windows 7 in a freshly formatted 20 GB partition. The set-up presented itself in a brand new design and at some places is very different from Windows 7. Thus, for example, Windows 8 checks if the installed applications also run in the new operating system. The Clone Drive was picking a lot of faults during this and interrupted the set-up. That would have possibly even later because the set-up routine would not have found the installation medium after a computer restart – a known problem of Vista and Windows 7.

Description: Win 7 vs Win 8

If you burn the almost 4 GB large ISO file on to a DVD and boot your computer with it, then the installation is largely like that of the predecessor. However, Windows 8 took 8 more minutes. While booting the installed system, a loading screen appears and later a brand new boot manager in which you can select the operating system with the mouse. However, an available XP partition was missing in the list. The boot manager only recognizes operating systems from Vista onward. Through “Change Defaults” you can make diverse changes, like shortening the display time of the boot manager.

But the integration of Windows XP is not possible there. Microsoft must immediately do something about this. The boot manager is tailored according to the BIOS successor UEFI, which acts strangely on older PCs: When you select and older operating system there, for example Vista, the computer restarts before loading the selected Windows. Apparently, the developers are making a compromise solution for systems with BIOS chip.

However, the starting time of Windows 8 is quite good: It runs twice as fast as its predecessor. The puzzle is solved in the list of the running programs; apparently, Microsoft has heard our long entreaties: Windows 8 does not simply activate all the available services like earlier versions, rather only the really necessary ones. Shadow copies, family filter in Internet Explorer and many other applications that are hardly used by anyone are switched off and must be activated explicitly with the right click. If you run all the services you will again come down to the usual starting time of Windows 7.

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