Operating system SmackDown: Windows 8 blitzes XP on 7 year old hardware

A few weeks back I wrote about The impending crisis that is Windows XP and IE 8 and boy did I hear some opinions!

“Why should I be forced to upgrade?! I’m happy with my 11 year old OS dammit!”

“I’m sick of Microsoft always changing things!”

“Get off my lawn ya damn kids!”

But most interestingly:

“Why should I be forced to upgrade my hardware to run this new OS?!”

Really? I mean I know there’s this unwritten law that newer software requires more resources but my experience with Windows 8 has always been that’s it’s way faster certainly than Windows 7 was on the same hardware, but it’s my recollection that XP was never really as snappy as 8 is now on any hardware. So I dug up the oldest, crustiest hardware I could get my hands on and did some tests:

If you just want to skip straight to the results, here’s the rundown:

Lenovo T60 (released in 2006)
1GB of 987 MHz RAM
1.83 GHz Intel core duo CPU
7,200 RPM mechanical drive

And the results:

  Windows 8 Windows XP
Installation Medal24 min 55 sec 26 min 12 sec
Boot Medal6 sec 17 sec
Open Word Doc Medal3.4 sec 4.3 sec
Open PDF doc 3.4 sec Medal2.8 sec
Load in IE Medal2.9 sec 7.9 sec
Open Photoshop file Medal16.5 sec 41.5 sec
PassMark PerformanceTest Medal407.5 356.5

Update, 16 Feb, 2012: Just some clarifications due to questions that came up: The both operating systems were installed via DVD, they were 32 bit and both were patched with 100% of critical or important items from Windows Update. They were also both running Microsoft Security Essentials and the other software seen in the demo (Office 2013 in Win 8 and Office 2003 in XP, Adobe reader and Photoshop CS3). The boot test was done by shutting down from each OS then powering on.

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Hi, I'm Troy Hunt, I write this blog, create courses for Pluralsight and am a Microsoft Regional Director and MVP who travels the world speaking at events and training technology professionals