Instead of using benchmarking programs, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes from ZDNet put together 23 real-world scenarios to see which operating system would be the quickest to complete all of the tasks.
He tested the 32-bit versions of Windows 7 build 6.1.7000.0.081212-1400, Windows Vista SP1, and Windows XP SP3. Two separate test machines were used:
* An AMD Phenom 9700 2.4GHz system fitted with an ATI Radeon 3850 and 4GB of RAM
* An Intel Pentium Dual Core E2200 2.2GHz fitted with an NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS and 1GB of RAM
Neither of these computers is top of the line, but Windows 7 managed to outperform both Vista and XP on both. Kingsley gave a 1 to the operating system that finished each test first, a 2 for second place, and a 3 for third. Windows 7 scored 25 points on both systems, placing first in 21 tests, and second in two other ones. On the AMD system, XP scored 61 points and Vista scored 52, while on the Intel system, XP scored 56 points and Vista scored 57.