Windows 7 launched last month, and now there's a question on consumer's minds. "Is it worth it?" The answer most people will give is: "It depends
on what you use your computer for." I'm guessing since you're here at Ten Ton Hammer, you're like me and
play MMO games. So that's what we tested. Is Windows 7
better than Windows Vista for playing MMOGs? For more technical theory
on the upgrades to the operating system, check out Dalmarus' href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/75303">Windows 7, Gaming, and
Why You Should Care.



The way this works is pretty simple. I booted up a bunch of MMOGs on
my PC when it was running Vista (64-bit) and I took simple frame rate
samples
from 4 resolutions: 1024x768 windowed; 1024x768 full screen; 1920x1200
windowed; and 1920x1200 full screen. Each test was run for precisely 60
seconds. I recorded the minimum FPS (frames
per second), the maximum, and the average. I repeated the test
three times in each resolution to help eliminate any sort of squirrely results.




Then I upgraded the exact same PC with Windows 7 (64-bit). This is of
particular importance. I didn't run the tests on different computers
running the same hardware - I ran them on the exact same PC, first with
Vista, and then with Win7. Any background apps I had running in Vista
were also running on Windows 7. The only difference, aside from the OS
itself, were a couple of different drivers to support Windows 7. All
drivers were updated prior to the testing on both operating systems.


style="background: rgb(57, 65, 76) none no-repeat scroll 0% 50%; overflow: hidden; text-align: center; display: table; height: 200px; width: 632px; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial;">
style="display: table-cell; vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;">

style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">Mac's Test PC Rig Specs

Motherboard: Asus P5E3
[email protected] (slot 775)

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad
Q9450 @ 2.66GHZ (per core) Yorkfield
1333FSB

RAM: 2x 2GB OCZ Platinum
DDR3-1600 Dual Channel (4GB total)

Video: 2x Sapphire Radeon 4890
HD in Crossfire

Sound: Sound Blaster X-fi
Xtreme Gamer FATAL1TY Professional
Series



I tested nine MMOGs in hopes to have enough samples to draw some
conclusions. I tried to take the readings from the
busiest areas of the games I could come across. In some games, there
either simply wasn't a large enough population for it to matter much,
or I couldn't get to the areas I wanted to go to. In either case, the
variations serve as the exceptions to prove the rule. (Yeah, it was
deliberate. Mmhmm.) The following is a list of games I tested, and the
areas I tested them in.



Aion:
Sanctum. This is the main city hub for Elyos, and probably the busiest
place you'll find on the Elyos side. I took the benchmarks at the bank,
although the crafting area would have also been suitable.



Age of Conan:
Old Tarantia. It's been a little while since I've played AoC, but I
headed to the brokers in Old Tarantia. It wasn't as crawling with
people as some other games, but there was enough hustle and bustle to
get realistic results.



Champions
Online
: Desert Crisis Powerhouse. This was probably the major exception to a "busy area." I initially went here because I remembered the powerhouses as being particularly busy at launch. I didn't take into
account that the game launched a couple of months ago now, so the powerhouse was
pretty empty. 12 people in a small, otherwise empty, instance made for
some high framerates.



Dungeons
& Dragons Online
: Stormreach Harbor.
Since DDO has gone F2P, there are always people in the Harbor. This was
a good test.



EverQuest 2:
Lavastorm Mountains. Why would I go there, and not say, Qeynos? Quite simply because the shard quest turnins are there, as well as
the zone being a meeting point for some major raids, at least on the
Crushbone server. Population was good.



Lord of the
Rings Online
: Egladil. This is the entry point for the upcoming
Siege of Mirkwood expansion. Since at the time I only had access to the
SoM beta, and not the live LotRO servers, this had to suffice.



Vanguard -
Saga of Heroes
: Leth Nurae. I don't know if there even is a busy
spot in Vanguard any more. Leth certainly wasn't busy, but I don't
think Telon is at any particular risk of overpopulation as a whole. I
wanted to test Vanguard because it still has some of the nicest
graphics of any MMOG.



Warhammer
Online - Age of Reckoning
: Altdorf. Even Altdorf is empty
nowadays. I suppose I could have hunted for a siege somewhere, but
in the interest of saving time, I just headed to Order's capital city.



World of
Warcraft
: Dalaran. Where else?



Onto the test results!


style="font-weight: bold;">Test
Results

And now we take a look at the test results in a nice, purdy chart.
Every game was set to maximum
settings. All sliders were pushed all the way to the right. This means
that some games have a lower natural framerate than others.



The
minimum reflects the lowest FPS from all samples, and the highest
reflects the highest FPS from all samples. The average is the average
of the three tests of the same resolution. The better scores are
bolded.
Fractions are rounded to the nearest 10th.



m= minimum FPS
style="font-weight: bold;">
M= maximum FPS
style="font-weight: bold;">
A= average FPS

cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0">
style="width: 65px; height: 96px;" alt="Game" title="Game"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76987/preview">
style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;"> style="width: 254px; height: 43px;" alt="1024x768" title="1024x768"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76990/preview">
style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;"> style="width: 254px; height: 43px;" alt=""
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76991/preview"> style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;"> style="width: 125px; height: 30px;" alt="windowed" title="windowed"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76993/preview">
style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;"> style="width: 125px; height: 30px;" alt="fullscreen" title="fullscreen"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76992/preview"> style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;"> style="width: 125px; height: 30px;" alt="windowed" title="windowed"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76993/preview"> style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;"> style="width: 125px; height: 30px;" alt="fullscreen" title="fullscreen"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76992/preview"> style="width: 60px; height: 60px;" alt="Vista" title="Vista"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76984/preview">
style="width: 60px; height: 60px;" alt="Win7" title="Win7"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76983/preview">
style="width: 60px; height: 60px;" alt="Vista" title="Vista"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76984/preview"> style="width: 60px; height: 60px;" alt="Win7" title="Win7"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76983/preview"> style="width: 60px; height: 60px;" alt="Vista" title="Vista"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76984/preview"> style="width: 60px; height: 60px;" alt="Win7" title="Win7"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76983/preview"> style="width: 60px; height: 60px;" alt="Vista" title="Vista"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76984/preview"> style="width: 60px; height: 60px;" alt="Win7" title="Win7"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76983/preview"> style="vertical-align: middle; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76); text-align: center;"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/aion"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 65px; height: 23px;" alt="Aion"
title="Aion" src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/77000/preview"> style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);"> style="font-weight: bold;">m: 19

M: 101
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 70.8
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 8

M: 83

A: 63.9
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);"> style="font-weight: bold;">m: 22

M: 91

A: 56.2
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 11

M: 70

A: 34.8
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 30

M: 113

A: 62.2
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);"> style="font-weight: bold;">m: 60

M: 107

A: 78.3
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 10

M: 83

A: 41.3
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);"> style="font-weight: bold;">m: 18

M: 96
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 56.1
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/aoc"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 65px; height: 16px;"
alt="Age of Conan" title="Age of Conan"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/77007/preview">
m:
30


M: 36
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 33.3
m: 26

M: 30

A: 29.1 m:
33


M: 37
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 36 m: 21

M: 32

A: 31 m: 7

M: 26
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 24.1 m:
10


M: 22

A: 19.8
m:
31


M: 36
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 34.8
m: 17

M: 33

A: 29.2
style="vertical-align: middle; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76); text-align: center;"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/co"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 65px; height: 23px;"
alt="Champions Online" title="Champions Online"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/77004/preview">
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);"> style="font-weight: bold;">m: 86

M: 96

A: 91
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 83

M: 118
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 99.9 style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 61

M: 98

A: 85.2
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);"> style="font-weight: bold;">m: 74

M: 116
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 95.6
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 69

M: 74

A: 72.7
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 67

M: 83
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 75.7
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);"> style="font-weight: bold;">m: 86

M: 94
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 91.2
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 58

M: 81

A: 75.1
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/ddo"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 65px; height: 32px;"
alt="Dungeons and Dragons Online" title="Dungeons and Dragons Online"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/77008/preview">
m: 68

M: 146

A: 106
m:
102


M: 110

A: 107.3
m: 71

M: 142

A: 104.3
m:
122


M: 136

A: 131.9
m:
60


M: 111
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 73.8
m: 53

M: 58

A: 54.5
m: 73

M: 147
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 108.5
m: 73

M: 136

A: 105.3
style="vertical-align: middle; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76); text-align: center;"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eq2"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 65px; height: 23px;"
alt="EverQuest 2" title="EverQuest 2"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/77005/preview">
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76); font-weight: bold;">m:
25

M: 37

A: 30.7
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 23

M: 30

A: 27.3
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);"> style="font-weight: bold;">m: 12

M: 22
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 16.2
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 10

M: 16

A: 14.1
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);"> style="font-weight: bold;">m: 28

M: 35
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 33.5 style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 16

M: 27

A: 24.8 style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);"> style="font-weight: bold;">m: 13

M: 17

A: 15.9
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 12

M: 20
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 18.1
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/lotro"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 65px; height: 29px;"
alt="Lord of the Rings Online" title="Lord of the Rings Online"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/77009/preview">
m: 32

M: 86

A: 57.9
m:
45


M: 101
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 66.5
m: 38

M: 77

A: 61.7
m:
39


M: 97
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 74.8
m: 29

M: 56

A: 43.5
m:
34


M: 77
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 55.1
m: 35

M: 50

A: 41.3
m:
82


M: 117
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 112.1
style="vertical-align: middle; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76); text-align: center;"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/vanguard"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 65px; height: 15px;"
alt="Vanguard Saga of Heroes" title="Vanguard Saga of Heroes"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/77010/preview">
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);"> style="font-weight: bold;">m: 41

M: 61

A: 54.9
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 26

M: 61

A: 44.7
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);"> style="font-weight: bold;">m: 30

M: 77
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 57.6
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 12

M: 63

A: 45.9
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 14

M: 54

A: 37
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);"> style="font-weight: bold;">m: 26

M: 50
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 37.7 style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 24

M: 50

A: 34.4
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);"> style="font-weight: bold;">m: 27

M: 56
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 39.9
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/war"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 65px; height: 22px;"
alt="Warhammer Online" title="Warhammer Online"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/77006/preview">
m: 48

M: 97

A: 72.1
m:
61


M: 99
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 88.4
m:
52


M: 98

A: 76.1
m: 15

M: 99
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 80.1
m: 39

M: 91

A: 68.9
m:
86


M: 98
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 95
m: 40

M: 89

A: 59.8 m:
54


M: 99
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 89.8
style="vertical-align: middle; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76); text-align: center;"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 65px; height: 26px;"
alt="World of Warcraft" title="World of Warcraft"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/77011/preview">
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);"> style="font-weight: bold;">m: 23

M: 32

A: 27.3
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 14

M: 62
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 37.2
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);"> style="font-weight: bold;">m: 17

M: 39

A: 28.5 style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 9

M: 50
style="font-weight: bold;">
A: 30.8
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 17

M: 32

A: 25.9
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);"> style="font-weight: bold;">m: 21

M: 31

A: 26.8
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76);">m: 15

M: 38

A: 30
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(57, 65, 76); font-weight: bold;">m:
17

M: 45

A: 33.1



Taking the AVG score from the above data, we can now determine a few
things. The biggest difference we see comes from LotRO at full screen
1920x1200. It comes to a whopping 171.4 percent faster on Windows 7.
That, however, is a simple anomaly as every other result is within a
much smaller threshold.


style="font-weight: bold;">In Favor of Windows 7 (Majority)



Even though Win7 won the majority of the avg scores, it wasn't by many.
5 to 4 wins are marginal.



1024x768 Windowed - Windows 7
has 5 games faster by an average of 16.94%

1024x768 Full Screen - Windows
7 has 5 games faster by an average of 14.67%

1920x1200 Windowed - Windows 7
has 6 games faster by an average of 16.67%

1920x1200 Full Screen - Windows
7 has 6 games faster by an average of 49.58% (largely affected by the
LotRO fluke)


style="font-weight: bold;">In Favor of Windows Vista (Minority)

Windows 7 may have won the majority of comparisons, but not by much.
It's worth taking a look at the results that favored
Vista.



1024x768 Windowed - Vista has 4
games faster by an average of 15.13%

1024x768 Full Screen - Vista
has 4 games faster by an average of 29.5%

1920x1200 Windowed - Vista has
3 games faster by an average of 30.73%

1920x1200 Full Screen - Vista
has 3 games faster by an average of 14.5%


style="font-weight: bold;">Conclusion

We see Windows 7 narrowly winning the majority, but as to why, it's only conjecture. Age of Conan plays better all around on Vista, but if LotRO's your game, you're better off with Win7. I looked for patterns between older games and newer games and came to a dead end there too.


What’s interesting though, is that even though Windows 7 won by a small margin, it’s actually a pretty impressive win. The OS is only a few weeks old, and we haven't seen many, if any, take advantage of it yet. Things like drivers and code optimization haven’t been done yet. The test rig was also one that relies heavily on optimization, particularly since the video cards are new and they’re running in Crossfire. DDR3 is also the variable that not many have set up, let alone optimized yet. The fact that it was able to weigh in at all against an OS that’s already had two service packs is a victory in itself. As time goes on drivers will be updated and games will be optimized and then, I’m quite confident, we’ll see these numbers really swing over to favor Win7.


But, I'm sure you have your own conclusions to draw from this test. Did I miss something? Let me know in the forums.



Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

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