The Electric Wand

Weekly tips from the "Tip o' the Week" email distribution inside of Microsoft.

Vista Aero Glass - performance hit (or not)

Vista Aero Glass - performance hit (or not)

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Just read an interesting analysis at where they tested a couple of different systems running Windows Vista with Aero Glass switched on and off. (Windows Aero - if you're not aware of it by name - is the new user interface functionality, with transparent windows and the swish new effects present all through Vista)

The cynic in most techies would assume that flashy graphics mean hammering the system performance; I've known plenty of people who even switched off all the fancy UI features, on the basis that the machine would be a few % more responsive... remember the old advice on Windows 3.1 or 95 to not use a graphical desktop backdrop since that put an overhead on system performance?

Anyway, the FiringSquad results are predictably games-focused, but draw an interesting conclusion - graphical performance is, in some cases, marginally better with Aero switched on, and even in the cases where it isn't, it's only fractionally less so.

"Quite frankly, we were shocked by these results."

So, the moral of the story is... switch on all the bells and whistles if you can :)

  • Since the Vista news has exploded in recent days, I'm going to start doing link posts for the articles

  • If you were thinking of winning performance by turning of Glass and the aero interface: DON'T. In this

  • This is indeed shocking, as you'd expected that the system needs more cpu time and memory to show all the fancy stuff they put into vista.

    I wonder though, does the same apply when I have an integrated intel graphics chip. That chip doesn't have the necessary features to show earo.

  • If you don't have an Aero-capable card in the first place, then I suppose this is a moot point... it means you'll be running in "Windows Basic" rather than "Windows Aero" mode.

    When you do get Aero, a different graphics engine is used to draw the UI... hence why switching between Aero and Basic may show so little overhead performance difference - ie it's not the case that a single graphics engine is either doing the basic or doing more work to generate the Aero experience...

  • I'd disagree.  I followed the directions at the URL below and saved over 100MB of memory usage.

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