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Old September 22nd, 2007, 10:01 AM   #1
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Editing OS: Windows XP vs Windows Vista

In a few other threads I've tried to make a strong case to suggest that despite the "new" Windows Vista, I *highly* recommend sticking with Windows XP when building or buying a computer for heavy Video Editing tasks. Programs like Premiere Pro CS3, Vegas 7/8, Edius, Avid, etc have largely all been developed with Windows XP at heart (and probably Windows Vista in mind).

Seems the debate rages on as to which operating system to use but frankly, I can't understand why there is really even a debate. The operating system is merely the underlying foundation of which enables the ability of all your "clone" components to properly work with your software of choice. In the end, it doesn't really do anything for you directly unless you consider the included solitaire game a real must have.

In computer technology it's usually assumed that the newer is the better but this has rarely been the case with the development of new operating systems. It typically takes a generation or two of service packs and hotfixes along with application developers time to take advantage of new software technologies before either the speed is returned or functionality and safety/security is enhanced.

I have no doubt Windows Vista in the long run will probably prove to be a wonderfull operating system just as Windows 2000 was and Windows XP has become.

What prompted me to post this is an article I found comparing the raw performance of applications/benchmarks while running an equivelent system under Windows XP and Windows Vista. I *strongly* recommend taking the 5-10 minutes and reading it through, particularly the area as it relates to audio/video encoding.
http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/01/...sta/index.html

Jon
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 11:25 AM   #2
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That's interesting, Jon. The article in question (which I read in its entirety) is 9 months old. That's almost eternity in high tech (grin). I'm not saying this to defend Vista, just that I'd liked to have been reading a more current comparison of the two.

-gb-
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 12:37 PM   #3
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I generally agree that, for now, XP should be the preferred OS for video editing over Vista but not for the reasons implied by Tom's Hardware. For me, the simple reason is: maturity. XP is a mature, stable and well-supported OS. Vista is still relatively new (and will be until the first service pack comes along - or whatever MS decide to call it).

The Tom's Hardware comparison raises some important points (to me at least):

The test applications fall into a number of categories. Some show worse perfomance cf. XP than others. These applications have been developed for XP and, therefore, implicity make fundamental architectural assumptions. Some of the assumptions have a direct, negative impact on performance on Vista. Vista is a new major release of Windows (NT6.0) vs. XP (NT5.0). There are considerable architectural differences, especially in the realms of audio and video.

Applications that use DirectDraw for 2D graphics will suffer a performance hit. DirectDraw is deprecated and is emulated in the 3D graphics pipeline. In fact, one of the major differences between Vista and earlier Windows is that all the graphics are done in the 3D graphics pipeline - this includes maintaining the desktop.

Applications that are 3D graphics intensive but Vista-naive will show a very severe hit. This relates to 3D applications that display 3D graphics in real-time, not the creation of 3D image files. The reason is that the presentation of each 3D frame is synchronized to the vertical blanking interval of the display in order to prevent tearing of the display. This is not the default behavior on XP. Vista-aware applications can overcome this. It is not surprising, therefore, that many of the graphics benchmarks perform so poorly. More details at:

http://www.opengl.org/pipeline/article/vol003_9/
http://www.spec.org/gwpg/publish/vista_paper.html

Applications that are audio intensive - such as games - will also take a hit if they are Vista-naive and make use of DirectSound. DirectSound is deprecated in Vista and is entirely emulated by software. Applications using DirectSound will demonstrate a performance hit. This may explain part of the slower performance for the games benchmarks.

I've learnt the DirectDraw and DirectSound differences the difficult way - our software performed less on Vista than XP and I had to wade through a mountain of MS documentation to find out why. Making the software Vista-aware allows it to select the appropriate video and audio pipelines for the host OS. Consequently, the performance on Vista is comparable. There is a caveat: there is still a performance hit if Aero (dwm.exe) is running. Typically, I see dwm.exe using 1 to 3% of processor time. The more that is going on - e.g., video playing, vectorscopes etc etc), the more dwm.exe uses.

A final thought: if the differences between a well-known NLE are 5 - 10%, then does it really matter? Let's say a final rendering will take 5 hours on XP, then it will take perhaps an extra 30 mins on Vista. If the rendering is running overnight, does it matter? Or, that 30 mins can easily be swallowed up by the system sitting almost idle while you scratch your head trying to work out how to achieve a certain effect. i.e., the total time to complete the project has more uncertainties beyond OS differences. The analogy I would use is: I drive 30 miles to work and can do so at 65 mph in my trusty but aging Ford XP. It's getting expensive to maintain and some of the parts aren't available anymore. A new Ford Vista could do it at 60 mph but in more (perceived) comfort. It take about 2.5 minutes longer. And it is a new model, so it might have all kinds of undiscovered mechanical problems...
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 01:41 PM   #4
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The analogy I would use is: I drive 30 miles to work and can do so at 65 mph in my trusty but aging Ford XP. It's getting expensive to maintain and some of the parts aren't available anymore. A new Ford Vista could do it at 60 mph but in more (perceived) comfort. It take about 2.5 minutes longer. And it is a new model, so it might have all kinds of undiscovered mechanical problems...
Then there is the fact that many of us have a few other old Ford XP's in the garage that we tinker with and maintain. We can't afford to go to a fleet dealership and replace the whole lot, expecially given that the new pickups would be slower and probably force us to buy some superchargers. Plus having that one shiny new pickup makes the other drivers in the household want the shiny new paint, which means I'd have to teach them all the new-fangled controls, and... sigh... think I'll just stick to the old model.
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 09:35 PM   #5
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That's interesting, Jon. The article in question (which I read in its entirety) is 9 months old. That's almost eternity in high tech (grin). I'm not saying this to defend Vista, just that I'd liked to have been reading a more current comparison of the two.

-gb-
Yep, you're right Greg on most occasions except that Vista hasn't had the benefit of a service pack update and many of the problems I've seen on o around the internet have barely been addressed with hotfixes. There's actually a huge memory "bug" in Vista that's driving the gamers nuts..

Also, I would imagine in the past 9 months compatability issues have been improved, but there's nothing out there suggesting speed has been increased.

Another thing I didn't mention was that smaller third party type apps like custom Title software, Boris Effects, Cineform, plug-ins, etc, etc are typically even SLOWER to adapt new operating systems..

Jon
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 09:47 PM   #6
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Thanks for putting your input into this John..

I think you actually lay out ALL the accurate reasons not to screw around with Vista that this point. I'm sure as time progresses and new applications are no longer naive to Vista's features, the speed gap will be smaller and smaller.

I think you make a good point of showing that the performance difference may not be THAT much but on the other hand, what do you get for taking that 5-15% performance hit with Vista? If I had something to show for it then I could maybe justify the performance penalty. Perhaps a render overnight doens't mean much but what about those 100 minute renders that could be done 10 or 15 minutes sooner? That certainly makes a difference if you're doing that 2-3 times a day.

All Vista offers me is a guaranteed slower machine with possible compatability issues. Where is the benefit? OH! I almost forgot, it costs more too!

I don't mean to come off sounding as a Microsoft basher because I'm not. I also don't want to turn the thread into some kind of flame war ala PC vs Mac, but I can't help but think anybody using Vista is doing so for not a legitimately good reason. Kinda reminds me of people who bid on used equipment on eBay just to win the auction when they could have bought it new off the internet for cheaper without going through auction hassles. In the same way people have this compelling reason to win an auction, they have this strong urge to have the "new" software. It frustrates me a bit that because of peoples emotional knee jerk reactions we let Microsoft get away with giving us new software that is more bloat-ware like and slower.

Jon
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 10:16 PM   #7
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Perhaps a render overnight doens't mean much but what about those 100 minute renders that could be done 10 or 15 minutes sooner?
I think you have highlighted an important point. Nearly all of the XP vs Vista benchmarks relate to very CPU intensive applications - video encoding, gaming, CAD - that also need to run for a long time. Hence, the performance loss soon adds up. There's another type of application that represents probably 99% of Windows' use. These are things like office suites, accounting, publishing, data processing (e.g., statistic analysis of scientific/technological processes). For the most part these applications sit idle. Someone typing away hits a key maybe five times a second - in CPU terms, that is an astronomical time. What Microsoft have done, though, is change the interaction between the computer and Windows in such a way that the user *perceives* it to be more responsive and faster even when it isn't. That doesn't mean they alway get it right. I've just tried Excel 2007 and all I can say is "Ugh". Things that are just a click away in previous versions have been buried - a theme true of Vista, too.

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but I can't help but think anybody using Vista is doing so for not a legitimately good reason
Agreed. I'm using Vista right now since I am doing some software development and want to make sure it works on Vista for my customers. My wife has been provided with a Vista laptop by her company and we are trying to put XP on it (another sordid story of frustration and disbelief...).

John.
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 10:53 PM   #8
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...but I can't help but think anybody using Vista is doing so for not a legitimately good reason.
Let me try to help you to understand then. It comes installed on the computer I bought, and is installed on virtually everything now. Is that not legitimately good reason enough?
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 10:55 PM   #9
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I bought a dell laptop with Vista Home Premium installed for a client of mine. It playing around with it, it has a modern AMD Dual Core processor and I couldn't believe how long it took to boot up. Unbelievable...

I will say this... the OS is a MUCH more pretty OS to work with. From a practical standpoint that doesn't mean anything, but I commend Microsoft on definately enhancing the look of Windows.
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 10:56 PM   #10
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Let me try to help you to understand then. It comes installed on the computer I bought, and is installed on virtually everything now. Is that not legitimately good reason enough?
I suppose if you're "stuck" with it, then you didn't make the choice. I'm only referring to people who are actually making the choice to either buy the software and "upgrade" their version of Windows or those who build new systems and make that "choice" to put Vista on it when they could have gone with Windows XP Pro.
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Old October 20th, 2007, 11:27 PM   #11
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Have come across what I consider to be an alarming number of reports similiar to this over the past couple weeks.. It appears maybe Vista is WORSE off than I originally thought..

http://www.dailytech.com/Update+Wind...rticle9294.htm

Buyer beware.. Vista is not ready for prime time...
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 02:16 PM   #12
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Vista - Look out

As an avid (no pun intended) windows guy having just switched to a mac a year ago, I am utterly apalled with Vista. I bought my wife a new laptop from HP and it came preinstalled with Vista Home Premium. Now I don't want to be a Vista Hater but I can't help it. I actually am becoming a Microsoft Hater! If anyone has the ability to decide on Vista vs. XP, my 2 cents is stick with XP Pro. This laptop has so many bugs in it it's not funny. I bought it at Best Buy and it's out of the 30 return period. Crashes all the time and has lots of bugs with simple email and surfing. I searched the Vista forums and I have never seen anything so rampant as this. Everyone is complaining. So here's what I ended up having to do. Searched the forums and it gave me a support site. On the site it says if your software has been pre-installed, you have to call the computer manufacturer. I called the manufacturer and they say that they won't support the software, only the hardware to work with that software! I don't want to change the purpose of this thread but I promised myself if a Vista/XP issue ever came up, I would go out of my way to flame VISTA. Sorry. I am now off my soapbox. My apologies.

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Old October 22nd, 2007, 02:57 PM   #13
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I feel your pain Jeff... It's going to take a few more updates to get Vista up to snuff and, even then, it will probably not perform as well as Windows XP Pro when running on similiar hardware. Just absurd that the foundation layer of software a computer requires to run, the operating system is so bloated that it slows your progress. I'm a big Microsoft proponent overall and I think they don't get as much credit as they typically deserve considering what they are dealing with and what they have had to deliver but Vista seems horribly misguided.

My opinion is they should have created a completely 100% brand new OS from the ground up and completely ditch any backward compatability whatsoever. Continue to support and sell the crap out of Windows Xp and let the software industry slowly migrate their new software over to the "better" Windows on the new platform. This would have given Microsoft a leg up down the line as well...

Jon
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 08:28 PM   #14
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I was wary of going to Vista at first, but I REALLY wanted to get my machine running in 64-bit mode to see if it would really show a performance boost. So, I removed my hard drive with my current XP install, put in a shiny new hard drive, and put on Vista Ultimate 64-bit. The installation went very smoothly, and took noticeably less time than it does to install XP.

The one thing I think is of the utmost importance when installing Vista: Make sure you have all the drivers for your hardware downloaded or on disk and ready. With the exception of my LAN adapter, wireless adapter, and touchpad, every other piece of hardware had to installed manually. Vista could not see my Quadro Card or my sound card, so I had to "force" those drivers in to get the machine to start operating the way it should.

The other thing I think is important is that once you install Vista, you should turn off "User Account Control" so the computer doesn't ask you permission to do everything every few seconds. You'll get all the red flags and warnings, but it will make your whole computing experience less frustrating.

Once past all that, I installed my spiffy new copy of 3ds Max 64-bit, and have been enjoying my machine ever since. It takes less time to boot up than it did in XP, and my programs load MUCH faster. The other key to Vista is knowing that it IS a resource hog. I can understand why Vista would seem sluggish on these $500 bargain laptops and desktops from Big Box retailers. Those machines all have onboard video/audio, and aren't meant to be used the way Vista wants to be.

I remember alot of these same issues coming up back when XP first came out. People were so shocked that it wouldn't run well on their first generation Pentium. Vista will have its problems now, but I'm positive that the next OS Microsoft releases in 6 or 7 years will cause just as much of an uproar!

Just my two cents...
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 10:42 AM   #15
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Calmed down

OK, I calmed down a lot overnight. What I am more frustrated over right now is the control Vista seems to take over my machine. Call me paranoid but I think MS has developed a system to secretly control our machines by FORCING us to use their browser, email programs etc. I think it's a conspiracy! BTW, MS took XP Pro 64 bit off the shelves so they can force us to use Vista and btw, why didn't they install a 64 bit version on a 64 bit machine?

George is getting upset!
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