Three years ago we were benchmarking Microsoft's then latest operating system, Windows 8. At the time we were keen to make sure Windows 8 performed as well as Windows 7, which was a huge upgrade from 2006's Windows Vista.
In the end, we determined that Windows 8 was on par with 7 and at times a fraction faster, leading us to this conclusion in our performance review:
"Looking beyond benchmarks, Windows 8 appears more polished than Windows 7, even if you plan to live on the desktop and aren't too fond of the Start screen, general usage is smoother and appears to be faster on Windows 8, which I found most noticeable on our somewhat underpowered Athlon II X4 system. If anything, it's a great start. Now the Metro/Modern style will have to prove itself as a cross-platform OS that marries desktop, laptop and tablet PCs."
It's obvious now that the 'Metro' Start screen was an epic failure and in my opinion it was the only real issue with Windows 8, as I thoroughly enjoyed using the operating system with Classic Shell installed.
Fortunately, Microsoft learned from its mistakes and addressed some of Windows 8's shortcomings in Windows 10, which we believe is the best version yet, if only for its improved looks and functionality across devices and form factors.
After running the beta for months, I installed Windows 10 on launch day with the impression that it was relatively fast and stable, though it remained to be seen precisely how fast it was compared to Windows 8.1 and the beloved Windows 7.
That's what we plan to find out today as we test various aspects of the operating system including boot up and shutdown times, file copying, encoding, browsing, gaming and some synthetic benchmarks.
Test System Specs
All three operating systems were tested using a fresh install with all the updates applied and then our test software installed. The exact same hardware was used for each configuration with the only difference being the OS used.
- Intel Core i5-4670K (3.4GHz - 3.8GHz)
- Asrock Z97 Extreme6
- 8GB DDR3-2400 RAM
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 980
- Crucial MX200 1TB
- SilverStone Essential Gold 750w
- Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
- Windows 10 Put to the Test, Benchmarked
- Synthetic Benchmarks
- Application Performance
- Storage Performance
- Encoding Performance
- Gaming Performance
- Faster, Slower, Better?