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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [03.05.08]


File Copying

File copying is said to be the main issue with Vista's performance, so that's what we'll look at first. First, an explanation of how I completed these tests.

I benchmarked four types of file transfers in total. Two were huge transfers - over 6GB each, and two were moderately sized transfers, at around 450MB each. Each size category was split into two types; a folder containing many smaller files, and a single large file.

For the large single file, I used an ISO image of a DVD-9 video that I use for MPEG-2 encoding benchmarks. This file is 7.73GB in size.

The large folder is part of the Call of Duty 4 installed game folder. It's 6.25GB in size, and contains files ranging from 1KB text files to 0.5-1GB level files.

The smaller single file is a 459MB WAV file that I use for audio encoding benchmarks. It's a direct rip of a single track CD.

The smaller folder is another game folder, this time from Crysis. It includes hundreds of files varying in size from 10KB to 100MB.

Each transfer was completed across 3 different hard drives. First, from the "D:" to the "F:" then from "F:" to "C:" D: being an older 120GB 7200RPM SATA drive that I use to store all my benchmark applications. The F: and C: are both 10K RPM Western Digital Raptor drives. They aren't the fastest drives available today, and do not support advanced functions like NCQ. However, they are still significantly faster than the basic 120GB drive, which you'll see in the results.

Each transfer was done 5 times, and the scores are given as an average of the 5 runs. They were timed by me and my trusty G-Shock watch. Each result was within 5% of the other, and I experienced no extraordinary results in all my testing.

First up are the larger transfers, and as you can see, SP1 is just a little bit faster - about 4-8% faster at most.

The sub-1GB transfers are much more intriguing, as SP1 is around 100% faster than Retail, when the hard drive is not bottlenecking the speed. As you can see in these results, the slower 120GB drive we're using does not allow SP1 to show its true potential. This shows that if you do not have fast enough hardware, Windows is going to be slow for you regardless of any updates, and whether you use Vista or XP.

So far, it looks like Microsoft has done a lot to improve the speed of file transfers, at least when it comes to smaller files. Unless you are transferring Gigs of data (which you'd expect to take a long time anyway), you are going to notice that file transfers are twice as fast once you install SP1.

Next Page: (USB File Transfer)