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' 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
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.
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.
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.
: 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.
& Dragons Online
: Stormreach Harbor.
Since DDO has gone F2P, there are always people in the Harbor. This was
a good test.
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
: 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.
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.
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.
: Dalaran. Where else?
Onto the test results!