Friday 2 February 2007

Vista Aero Performance Rating - ATI X1300 & X850

I realize that there are a number of variables for hardware performance.

However, here is my experience with a couple of different systems and their graphics performance as rated by the Windows Vista video hardware assessment for Graphics (Desktop performance for Windows Aero) and Gaming Graphics (3D business and gaming graphics performance):
  • P4 650 3.4 GHz. HT
  • Intel D925XCEV
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 320 GB Seagate SATA 300 (2) RAID 1
  • ATI X850 Pro PCI-E

The above system's Windows Vista 32bit Video score for Graphics and Gaming Graphics: 4.8

  • Intel E6400 2.13 GHz.
  • Intel DQ965GF
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 320 GB Seagate SATA 300 (2) RAID 1
  • ATI X1300 Pro PCI-E

The above system's Windows Vista 32bit Video initial score for Graphics and Gaming Graphics: 3.0

For the second system, I went and downloaded and installed ATI's latest drivers for Vista 32bit. I re-ran the assessment and the score ended up lower! The score with the ATI drivers was: 2.8

I rolled back the video driver and re-ran the assessment again. The proper Microsoft WDDM driver was there as it was before I installed the ATI driver.

The damage was done, the score came out at 2.8 again. I wasn't about to go in and clean everything out to bump the score up a whole two tenths.

Our E6400 system client was happy with the overall performance increase they experienced with this particular upgrade. They were originally running a P4 2.8 GHz. with on board video. We upgraded their hardware to the above E6400 configuration, their OS to Windows Vista Business, and their Office to 2007.

The P4 650 is my home based system.

For system builders, video performance on Vista may be an important consideration, and perhaps should become one of the key questions that the client gets asked when planning a hardware upgrade, whether partial or a whole new box, in preparation for Vista.

This example also goes to show that a much more powerful CPU will not make up for a slower performing video card when it comes to Windows Aero and 3D performance!

Happy system building!

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

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