Walt Mossberg on Vista’s Performance

Walt Mossberg:

I tested Vista on three computers. On a new, top-of-the-line Hewlett-Packard laptop, with Vista preinstalled, it worked smoothly and quickly. It was a pleasure.

On a three-year-old H-P desktop, a Vista upgrade installed itself fine. But even though this computer had a full gigabyte of memory and what was once a high-end graphics card, Vista Ultimate reverted to the Basic user interface. And even then, it ran so slowly and unsteadily as to make the PC essentially unusable.

Mac OS X is the only desktop operating system I know of that has gotten faster, rather than slower, with each major release. The classic Mac OS was just as guilty as Windows in this regard. (Going from System 6 to System 7 was painful.)

Sure, part of it is that 10.0 was just so damn slow, but I think it’s a sign that Apple’s executives value engineering as a core principle. Apple spends engineering resources to improve the performance of existing code. Marketing-driven companies never do this because you can’t use “Many things are now a little bit faster than they used to be” as a selling point for an upgrade. I suspect this is a big part of why OS X appears to run so well on the iPhone.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007