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Here at the Speed Up My PC Free blog, we’re all about squeezing as much performance out of our computers as possible. We always try to recommend free speed up PC tips, but occasionally, we’ll suggest readers spend between $10 to $50 if it results in a significant boost in performance.
Windows 8 is one such affordable upgrade. Since all existing Windows users can buy Windows 8 for the discounted price of just $40, it’s an upgrade within reach for the average computer user. But should you really upgrade to Windows 8 to speed up your PC? Or is it simply not worth it?
Over at TechSpot.com, the editors did some benchmark performance testing between the two operating systems. And the results of that benchmark may surprise you.
Benchmark system specs
TechSpot.com used a higher-end PC for testing. However, the rig isn’t overly expensive, and it represents an average $1500 desktop gaming PC. The specs for that system included:
-Intel Core i7-3960X CPU
-16GB DDR-1866 RAM
-GeForce GTX 670 GPU
-Samsung 1TB hard drive plus Kingston 256GB SSD
Startup, shutdown, and sleep times
The first things the TechSpot.com writers tested about Windows 8 were the startup, shutdown, and sleep times. Windows 8 was significantly faster than Windows 7 in all three of these categories, beating it by an average of 33%:
-Windows 8 took 18 seconds to startup and 8 seconds to shutdown
-Windows 7 took 27 seconds to startup and 12 seconds to shutdown
-Sleep times were a little closer. Windows 8 took 10 seconds to wake up from sleep while Windows 7 took 13 seconds
GPU and multimedia benchmark software performance
If you’re a PC gamer, then gaming benchmarks are important. Sometimes, even the smallest tweaks will result in significant performance upgrades. Windows 8 received mixed reviews on two of the most important multimedia benchmark tests. With 3DMark 11, Windows 8 scored slightly lower than Windows 7 (9461 for Windows 7 and 9346 for Windows 8), which indicates that Windows 8 takes up slightly more GPU power than Windows 7.
Meanwhile, with PCMark 7, Windows 8 was significantly better than Windows 7, receiving a score of 3787 compared to Windows 7’s score of 3467. PCMark 7 is more focused on multimedia performance instead of raw graphic processing power, and multimedia processing is heralded as one of the strengths of Windows 8.
In this day and age, fast internet speed is incredibly important, and it often has more to do with an operating system than with the service plan offered by your ISP. The results of the browser test (measured by Mozilla Kraken) were good news for Windows 8 users, but bad news for Microsoft:
As you can see, Windows 8 took home first and second place in the Kraken test. However, this was achieved through Chrome and Firefox, which were only marginally faster than their Windows 7 counterparts.
Despite all of the flashy advertising and promises of streamlined performance, Internet Explorer 10 was thoroughly disappointing in this test. It loaded pages approximately 1500 milliseconds slower than any Chrome or Firefox build, and was only slightly faster than Internet Explorer 9 for Windows 7. So if you were hoping for Internet Explorer 10 to turn the brand around, prepare for disappointment.
TechSpot.com repeated the test with Google’s V8 benchmarking tool and achieved similar results, although Chrome won by a more sizable margin. It’s disappointing to see Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 8 Metro come in last place in this category, especially if you’re a Microsoft fan:
HD video framerates
In the x264 HD Benchmark 5.0, both Windows 7 and Windows 8 were fairly equal. However, Windows 8 edged out a slide lead on both the first and second pass, resulting in a 6% higher framerate. Once again, Windows 8 shows its dominance in terms of multimedia processing.
Microsoft Office and Explorer
Let’s be honest – the benchmarks above tell us a lot about PC performance, but they’re not very practical numbers. Most of us will use Windows 8 to run programs like Microsoft Office or a favorite PC game.
Both Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Office 2013 were tested, and Windows 8 swept both categories:
That number tells you the score that each version of Windows received when running the Excel MonteCarlo test. It shows that Windows 8 is more optimized to manage CPU cycles in applications like Excel.
Meanwhile, the Windows Explorer test was a mixed bag, and both Windows 7 and Windows 8 were fairly equal in this category:
Just Cause 2 and Battlefield 3
Just Cause 2 is a beautiful looking game. Although it was released over three years ago, it still provides a decent benchmark test. TechSpot.com tested both Just Cause 2 and a newer game, Battlefield 3, to see which operating system came out on top.
This test was incredibly close. At a framerate of 1920×1200, Battlefield 3 scores on Windows 7 and Windows 8 were equal at 71 frames per second. In Just Cause 2, Windows 7 beat Windows 8 by a single frame per second. So if you’re thinking of upgrading to Windows 8 in order to unlock faster gaming performance, you might want to rethink that decision.
Windows 8 on lower end systems
Although TechSpot.com tested Windows 8 on a higher-end build, it was well-aware that most users’ system specs pale in comparison to the specs mentioned above. That’s why they included budget build benchmark testing in their writeup.
The budget system went through the same testing as the premium system, and this time, the results were more significant in favor of Windows 8. Windows 8 appears to offer lower-end system users a much more significant performance boost than those on higher-end systems. Aside from gaming performance (which was equal once again), Windows 8 nudged out Windows 7 in every major category.
Conclusion – Windows 8 is faster than Windows 7
Despite being released three years after Windows 7, Windows 8 has managed to match or increase performance in all major categories. This is rarely the case with an operating system upgrade, as companies like adding flashy new effects to their systems as they move forward.
And, since driver adoption isn’t an issue with Windows 8 (as it was with Windows Vista), upgrading is a smooth and easy process.
Here are the most important categories where Windows 8 beat Windows 7:
-Startup and shutdown speeds
Windows 8 matched Windows 7:
Ultimately, aside from learning how to use a new interface, there aren’t really any downsides to upgrading to Windows 8. Whether you have a higher-end system or a budget build, you should notice a significant performance boost after upgrading to Windows 8.