Now that the Windows 7 beta is out, the benchmarks are coming fast and furious, and while 7's been previously found to best XP and Vista during "real-world" tasks, it looks like XP is still the outright speed champ on current hardware. That's at least the word according to InfoWorld, which pitted all three systems against each other in a suite of tests designed to suss out how each performed on modern multicore systems, and while we won't pretend to grok all the data, there's nothing complicated about the final results, which showed that "any illusions about Windows 7 somehow being leaner or more efficient than Vista can now be thrown out the window." Sure, there was some speedup -- 7 was 60 percent faster than Vista during the dual-core workflow tests -- but overall, 7's just slower on dual- and quad-core hardware than XP. However, there's a silver lining here: InfoWorld says the slowdown is in large part due to the extra code Vista and 7 use to manage multicore processors, and as the number of cores increase, the corresponding performance gains are much bigger than with XP since they can be used more efficiently. Of course, by the time we're all sitting pretty with 48-core Larrabee machines this all might be just a distant memory, so for right now we're just going to get back to installing the Windows 7 beta on anything we can find and reveling in the glory of perceived speedups.

Read - Analysis I (against Vista alone)
Read - Analysis II (against Vista and XP)

Update: The author of one of our sources here has seen been released from InfoWorld due to breach of trust. InfoWorld maintains that Randall C. Kennedy's "insight and analysis [is believed] to be accurate and reliable."

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Windows 7 put up against Vista and XP in hardcore multicore benchmarks, XP wins