Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer reveals details of Windows 7 in a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer reveals details of Windows 7 in a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

Personally, I’m still using Windows XP SP3, both at home and at work. Well, I don’t have a choice here at work. Even when we purchased a new set of quad core workstation late last year, we needed to downgrade the bundled Vista to XP to avoid network conflicts.

Windows Vista has 3 short answers for users to upgrade. New features, improved secucity, and better overall user experience. But we also know how poorly Windows Vista performs as compared to Windows XP but have you ever wondered how the early beta of Windows 7 stacks up against the two? Maybe Windows 7 has what it takes to make us upgrade….

ZDNet’s Hardware 2.0 guru Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, rose to the challenge and has put Windows 7 build 6956 up against Vista SP1, Vista RTM (the original and worst version), and Windows XP SP3 in three benchmarks: boot time performance, Passmark Performance Test 6.1, and Cinebench R10.

Not surprisingly, Windows Vista SP1 blew the doors off its RTM ancestor, but was similarly run off the road by Windows 7, which also made Windows XP SP3 eat its dust in virtually every test. The only test in which Windows XP SP3 held off its two-generation newer rival was in the OpenGL version of the Cinebench R10 benchmark. If this performance level continues until Windows 7 sees the light of day sometime next year, Windows 7 users will be very happy, and Windows XP diehards who have resisted “Mojave” will finally upgrade.

Windows 7 Beta Download: Where to Find It

The Microsoft Windows 7 beta download can be found here. If you’re thinking about downloading it, you might want to do so sooner than later — the beta is being offered only to the first 2.5 million users who snag the file.

As with any beta software, the standard disclaimers apply: Windows 7 beta is meant only for advanced computer users who are willing and able to look for bugs and help provide feedback on any issues that arise. Microsoft recommends you use it only on a secondary computer dedicated to testing the software. There is also no direct technical support available, and you may encounter some compatibility issues with older hardware and software.

Windows 7 Beta: Should I Upgrade?

So given all of that, is it worth the upgrade to Windows 7 beta? It’s still early to have any solid impressions or definitive answers, but we’ve culled a few worthwhile opinions on both sides from around the Web. Check out these views and decide for yourself.