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Gaming and Vista

Fabrice Roux

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A lot of people say that Vista made their gaming rig smoother (frame rate wise)... Anandtech ran a benchmark on various games with the latest Vista build 5728 against Windows XP SP2.

The test rig is an AMD 64 X2 4600 / 2Gb / Ati X1900XTX but I can't believe using a nVidia GPU on a Intel CPU would change things completely.


Vista 5728 / XP SP2

3DMark06 5615 / 5798

Half-Life 2: Episode 1 (No AA) 94.4 / 103.6

Half-Life 2: Episode 1 (4x AA) 84.49 / 86.4

Battlefield 2 (No AA) 55.1 / 77.96

Battlefield 2 (4x AA) 52 / 77.11

FEAR (No AA) 52 / 70

FEAR (4x AA) 32 / 52

My favorite performance drop part: The sound

The third notable issue is audio for gaming purposes, and while we'll have a lot more on this when the final version of Vista is released, it at least deserves a quick mention right now. As Microsoft has moved most of the Windows audio system into Vista itself and out of hardware and drivers, DirectSound3D is no longer hardware accelerated and EAX effects may never work with it again. There are several exceptions and specific scenarios to talk about here, especially with Creative Labs' soundcards since they're the de-facto vendor of gaming soundcards, but it looks like a lot of older games are going to lose some of their audio abilities. There may also be a greater performance hit due to the amount of processing that is now done solely in software.
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Good point about the sound. Those of us who rely on Toshiba Virtual Sound (or Surround) to wring more out of our laptop speakers are out of luck too. It doesn't work with Vista.

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My rather common Creative Audigy requires a beta driver that will expire in november. It seems that I reach the best quality in 3D positionning years ago with Aureal A3D 2.0 back in the early days of Counter Strike and Tribes.

Back then I was able to "see thru my ears" enemies on Counter Strike... at that time you found a lot of soundless players that wouldn't even turn around at the delicate sound of the AK47 at pointblank. It was almost an unfair advantage over classic SoundBlaster Live users which were limited to stinky EAX positionning. :)

Creative pushed Aureal to bankruptcy then baught their assets... but I have yet to see some sort of result.

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Interesting, this doesn't bode well for the future of Vista as a gaming platform... (or ANY platform for that matter)

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  • 5 weeks later...

Not sure if any extensive tests have been done to compare these results on DTRs, but I can tell you from my POV, it utterly blows. I was using Vista RC2, and could not use the Vista RC2 drivers supplied on Nvidia's site. WoW and other games had MAJOR artifacting, and this has already been mentioned, something to due with lowered support for DX9? Not sure. Anyway, we shall see once Vista goes RTM and "real" drivers are released by companies such as Dell who are promising drivers for Vista ASAP. Will be interesting, but I know I will be running XP for at least a couple years to come :/. Or maybe seomthing else...

*looks over to Ubuntu or Gentoo*

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  • 3 weeks later...

This might explain why Pro Evolution Soccer 5, when I run it, has sound during the intro but then after that there is nothing.

Runs better though. I am using a SoundMAX sound card, no-chance of a fix so I will have sound is there?

Even in compatibility mode I have no sound in-game.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Flatout has a sound problem too....In menu the ound is normal, but when playing a race the sound starts to "lagg" if u press esc during stunt or race its even getting worse...but i dont know if its a problem of vista or a problem of my DSP Headset....

does enyone know?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ah, that is interesting about the sound, that expains why the sound in games like BF2 is really messed up, the radio guy has this huge stutter.

Anyways, I have been using Vista for a few months now, from RC1 through RC2 to RTM. Now, I can say the graphic drivers have definetly improved, the huge texture corruption from the 96.xx drivers is gone with the new 97.xx drivers, and most games work. But most games I have played, including CS:S, BF2, NWN2, Oblivion, Quake 4, Guild Wars, etc, do have more or less of a performance drop. In some games, like Oblivion, I hardly notice it, I can play it fine in both XP and Vista. Other games, like BF2 and CSS become virtually unplayable, due to the need for somewhat higher FPS to accomplish anything in these games. It might have something to do with the sound too I guess, because the games seem to get more of a performance drop than benchmarks would indicate (3550 down to 3250 in 3DMark05 in Vista for example).

It's too bad, because I really like Vista for all it's other features, but currently the best solution for me is to boot up XP when games are going to be enjoyed :)

Edited by Kahl
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I dont use 3DMark but I can say that the games I play, and the ones my Roomate plays, are consistently faster in Vista (or at least smoother FPS) than they are in XP on the same machines.

Of course, I am not the kind of gamer that has to have the absolute highest FPS.. once it goes beyond a certain point it no longer makes any real difference except in benchmarks.

One thing that may be related, both our systems have full driver support in Vista. We are not using built in Drivers for Video however. (the ones we have are faster than the MS ones)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I updated to 32-bit Ultimate and I love it. Finally Windows actually acknowledges I have a good computer. One really cool thing to point out is the sleep features. It instantly boots and turns off, and after 27 hours in this mode in my backpack I dropped a mear 5% battery.

As for gaming, I may be an isolated instance but my games get 25 to 35% better framerates... The only change is XP Home to Vista... The only hickup I have right now is when COD2 loads it takes about 20 seconds to get to the point where it starts doing the videos. Once it finishes that everything else runs perfectly, and quite a bit faster than XP did. Why? Don't have a clue... As for audio, im not an audiophile (to go further I barely even care), so I can't comment on that. I just use my laptop speakers anyways so its no biggie to me.

I use vista on my primary machine (my only one now that I got rid of my desktop) and I would never go back. Windows moves faster, I haven't crashed yet, I like the new security features, games run faster, UI is freaking sweet, Love the 3d tab thing, audio is changeable now for individual programs, gadgets are cool, and most noticably networking is 1000times faster. Networking(even to XP computers) now is just as fast as surfing your own HD. With XP, even on a gigabit LAN it was like being on frickin dialup... I actually only have 1 complaint about the entire operating system, and that is windows explorer. Its a minor annoyance, but it is a little harder to surf through than XP was (just that way stuff is positioned)

PS, for all the people who bash Microsoft and Windows in favor of Linux or Mac, I have but one important final word why both are impossible for your primary OS:


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