Oh the numbers
We've already posted our review, and we've already posted some tweaks you can do to get your new XP system up and going. Now we're finally posting the one thing you guys probably wanted to see first - the numbers. Raw data on how this puppy performs.
XP - Our settings
If you haven't looked at our review of WinXP or the quick setup guide, you might not know that XP has quite a few toys hidden beneath its hood. There are tons more settings to be tweaked with, than with previous versions of Windows.
For testing purposes, we have to set standards on how the OS will be setup. For our tests, we are disabling System Restore, as the computer will most likely think that nothing is happening at the most inopportune moments, thus ruining any hope of getting consistent numbers within a reasonable period of time. We chose to leave all the eye-candy of the OS on, as we don't know what the majority of our readers will do, so in essence, we have a worst case scenario result - the numbers can only get better once we disable all the foofy parts. Most of the other settings within XP have been left alone, although we did take the bit depth down to 16-bit in our tests.
XP testing procedures
When operating our testbeds with the older OSs, there hasn't been much to worry about. Prior methodology required us to install the OS, install the drivers and then run the benchmarks as we would any program. With the advent of XP, our usual testing procedures developed a little kink. Microsoft actually has a section on their website explaining how to run tests on XP. It seems that WinXP has some interesting disk caching, or disk arrangement, features that run in the background. The purpose of these tasks is to speed up the programs you use on a daily basis. This is akin to the way defrag works, only these processes startup whenever you aren't doing anything on your computer.