The Web has been abuzz with chatter about Windows Vista's upcoming Service Pack 1 (SP1): What it will and will not fix, how it will affect performance, how long will it take to install, and so on. PC manufacturers, some journalists, and a great deal of torrent addicts already have the service pack, and we're among that crew.
While there are lots of things to write about SP1, the first thing we're going to focus on is performance. Sure, security is important as is compatibility, but we're hoping SP1 turns Vista into the screaming speed demon Microsoft once seemed to suggest it would be. Of course, when we say performance, we're mainly talking about games, but we checked out other areas in which it supposedly improves the Vista experience as well.
Prior to the coming of SP1, Microsoft released a batch of "hotfixes" for Windows Vista to tackle such issues as the ridiculously long time it takes to locally copy a folder full of files, the time remaining dialog box seeming to fall asleep at the wheel, memory allocation glitches in games and other graphical activities, and serious SLI performance issues. Maddeningly, those fixes aren't available through Windows Update; you have to manually download and install them.
What, we then asked ourselves, is the performance advantage of SP1 over simply installing the hotfixes? Will the upcoming service pack further boost Vista's power above and beyond the benefits the fixes offer over a vanilla installation of the OS? We decided to look into this question a bit further, along with plenty of synthetic and gaming benchmarks to prove it. The answers might surprise you.
Windows Vista, Hotfix, Vista SP1