That’s 70 In Dog Years
This year marks the 10th anniversary of windows 98. Because of this and the fact that Vista is getting so much press, albeit negative, we decided to do an actual comparison using Windows 98, Windows XP, and Windows Vista, just to get a true idea of how far technology has progressed. The results might be surprising to some of you and were certainly an eye-opener for me.
To keep things as fair as possible, the hardware was exactly the same for all three operating systems. The system was somewhat of a compromise in order to satisfy all the requirements of operating systems separated by 10 years. I’ve listed the hardware below. Because memory suggestions always gets a lot of comment from those that think more is always better, and others that think anything over 256 MB is wasted, I used what I consider the minimum amount necessary for anything that resembles computing. I know there are some that question whether Windows 98 will function with that amount but although I’ve heard stories; I’ve never met anyone whose 98 system would not operate with 512 MB of memory.
None of the installs used firewalls, anti virus, or protection software of any sort. All update, and unnecessary background programs were disabled. This included the Vista UAC. All systems were run without themes, or clear type. All systems were run without updates and as the original install disk was shipped. All systems were set for maximum performance in the systems performance section. Drivers were supplied by the motherboard manufacturer or by the hardware manufacturer.
In order to accommodate Windows 98, the drives used were older ATA drives. I tried several suggestions to supply drivers for the newer SATA drives but stopped short of making a “slip streamed” copy of Windows. Without that, Windows 98 would not recognize the SATA drives for the OS installation. You will see that I later came to regret that decision.
Notice in the chart below that I’ve left the drive scores out of the mix. That is because a short time after testing Windows 98 using the PC Pitstop test, the drive failed. The disk test scores reflected a failing drive and were not a reflection of the operating system. I was able to transfer/clone the install to a newer drive with similar specifications to complete the testing.
The competition consisted of a combination of CPU, memory, and 2D scores from the PC Pitstop Test, along with3DMark 2003, and 3DMark 2001. The results were then totaled and shown on the far right. This is reminiscent of some of the past benchmark competitions we’ve held in the Custom PCs, Case Mods and Over Clocking section of the forum. This combination is a good representation of how a system will perform on a daily basis.
And the winner is!
I think it’s fair to say that most people would have expected or at least hoped for the latest version of windows to dominate a competition like this. Even if there had been some time given to tweak the video settings for the Pitstop test, Vista would not have been close to Windows 98 in performance. It lagged behind its older brothers in every race. Although I included the 2D section of the PC Pitstop test in the totals, any of today’s hardware should be able to complete that portion of the test with no problem.
The competition between Windows 98 and XP was pretty tight. Not much of a gap considering the length of time between their development. Not only are the totals close, but also the scores are evenly matched across all tests.
The one thing that the benchmarks don’t show is ease of installation and operation of tasks and programs. While 98 ran the benchmarks right with XP, getting the Operating System installed with working drivers took a good amount of time. When I bought my first computer it came with Windows XP, so I was not prepared for the problems I ran into trying to use Windows 98.
Just surfing the Internet seemed too much sometimes for Windows 98 and it’s accompanying IE 5. Finding a connection and opening programs are things I expect to happen instantly. This was not the case with Windows 98. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to a person who considers himself an over clocker but it looks like speed is dependant completely on hardware. I just expected there to be a bigger difference between Windows 98 and Windows XP.
Vista, what can I say? It’s pitiful. Blame it on the need for more memory. Blame it on the background apps. Blame it on whatever suits your fancy. It doesn’t perform in benchmarks any better than it performs in ease of use.
As for Windows 98, what the heck not bad for 10 year old technology, after all that’s 70 in dog years.
* Special thanks to Doug, Sandy, and Corey.
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