Vista Performance/Gaming Mini Article
What to expect
Windows Vista is going to be released this week to the general public. This is big news to some, giving users a brand new top to bottom reworked operating system built for gaming and digital media, not to mention added security. But to others this is not so big news due to their “if it aint broke don’t fix it” mentality. They are happy and familiar with Windows XP and will stick it out till the end.
In any case, Windows Vista is visually stunning, offering plenty of eye candy, bells and whistles to users of this new operating system. Most of the desktop in Windows Vista utilizes DirectX 9 to render the graphics, while games can either be played with DirectX 9 or the newest addition to the family, DirectX 10.
This mini article will aim at the performance hit associated with eye candy within Vista being turned on (Vista’s Aero Glass desktop) or off and how that will affect gaming performance. Visual effects like sliding and fading menus, transparent windows, and colorful toolbars do take system memory away from the system, lowering the amount of memory available for gaming.
In Windows XP Pro, the performance hit from turning on animated menus and other eye candy effects was around 3-5%. Because of this, we always test with these features turned off to ensure consistency. Considering the 3D nature of Vista’s Aero Glass interface, we were concerned the performance hit could be even greater, and thus we have the basis for our article.
In this article we will test the performance of Half Life 2: Lost Coast and 3DMark 2006 Professional with Vista’s visual effects turned all the way up and down to see what impact Vista’s eye candy has on gaming.
Visual effects can be turned on and off by going into system properties and navigating to the performance tab. From there, you can turn on individual effects on or off, or you can adjust for maximum performance or appearance. See the examples below that show the desktop, and then what it looks like with visual settings turned all the way up and turned off.