RSS Feed

HCW Tech Blog

For the latest info on computer hardware, tech, news, video games, software tips, and Linux, check out our new improved front page: HCW Tech Blog

Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [03.05.08]


File Compression

Okay, admittedly most people don't use the integrated compression feature in Windows. After all, programs like WinRAR do a much better job for a reasonable price. However, for some people paying anything for extra software is totally unacceptable.

In any case, we should find out if the integrated compression/decompression component has been improved with SP1. To do this, we simply zipped and unzipped the 'smaller' file and folder from the previous tests. If you're comrpessing a 7GB file, you can expect it to take quite a while in any case.

SP1 is seeing another slight improvement with compression - it's about 3-4% faster. Nothing to write home about so far...

Now this is a result I wasn't anticipating! It seems that extracting Zip files is much faster in SP1 - by as much as 91%! Results were consistent too. I should note here that I did a quick test using WinRAR, and the integrated Zip component in Vista was actually faster in both compression and extraction (but WinRAR definitely has more robust features).

Media Encoding

With the basics covered, we now know that SP1 is at the very least 4% faster or so when copying and zipping files, and in some cases up to twice as fast. Unless you are transferring huge files to or from USB, that is.

Now let's find out if this improved performance translates to real-world results. First we'll take a look something more people are doing every single day - media encoding.

Audio Encoding

For audio encoding, we took a 459 MB WAV file ripped from a single track CD, and encoded it using the latest version of dBpoweramp and 2 different audio codecs (in 128 kbps CBR). Once again, the conversion was done 5 times, with the average results whown.

Not a single bit of performance increase is seen when encoding a WAV file under SP1. What this chart might tell you though, is that you may want to consider switching to WMA if you've been using MP3 to encode your music ;)

Video Encoding

Our video test consists of a conversion of a 1GB MPEG-2 VOB file from a DVD to MPEG-4 Part 2 using VirtualDub and the two most popular video codecs. Audio conversion is disabled, making this a pure video encoding test. In both cases, the most basic settings were used; single-pass, 780 kbps.

Again the scores are pretty close, but the increased file transfer rate of SP1 allows it to perform about 3.4% better in the (excruciatingly slow single-threaded) XviD 1.1.3 encode.

Next Page: (Gaming Peformance)