Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Does Windows 7 Aero Slow Down Your 3D?

Early last week I made a post that detailed some benchmarks with Linux desktop effects being on and Linux desktop effects being off. In the case of Compiz I found that slowed 3D performance of the system on average by over 10%. Several of you dropped comments wondering if a similar performance decrease was present when utilizing Window 7's Aero feature while gaming - today I am going to set that wonder to rest.

The Test:
I am going to use Unigine Benchmarks on Winodws 7 Ultimate 64bit. This was a fresh install of Windows that had only the security updates applied to it. No anti-virus was running (or even installed on) the system. I used the latest nVidia driver for Windows (260.xx). The tests where all performed using the OpenGL rendering of the benchmarks.

The Hardware:
I'm using my same gaming rig that I've used for all my other benchmarks: Processor - Intel p9700 2.8ghz Dual Core, RAM - 4gigs of DDR3 1066, Video Card: nVidia 260m with 1gig DDR3 dedicated memory.

The Results:
I was decently surprised at the results, in fact I ran each test several times to ensure their consistency.

Heaven Benchmark -
  • Aero Off - 23.7fps, 598 Score
  • Aerp On - 23.7fps, 598 Score
Tropics Benchmark -
  • Aero Off - 31fps, 782 Score
  • Aero On - 31.1fps, 782 Score
Sanctuary Benchmark -
  • Aero Off - 36.8fps, 1562 Score
  • Aero On - 36.7fps, 1558 Score
As you can see Aero makes virtually no difference in OpenGL performance. Perhaps this might change if the benchmarks are rendered in DirectX (A benchmark for another day methinks)?

Oh and one other note, it appears Windows still benchmarks slower than almost every Linux distro I've tried.

~Jeff Hoogland