Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 5th Mar 2008 21:06 UTC, submitted by Research Staff
Windows "If you've been paying attention to the various industry news outlets you've no doubt come across the story about the Microsoft engineer advocating Windows Server 2008 as a 'workstation' OS. According to him, if you make the right tweaks - installing the Desktop Experience feature, adding a few missing utilities, tuning the scheduler - you can turn Server 2008 into a fairly convincing Vista knock-off, one that's faster and more scalable than the original. Curious, we decided to see for ourselves just how well Server 2008 stacks-up to Vista with SP1." In addition, ExtremeTech has an article on Vista SP1 performance.
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That doesn't surprise me
by SReilly on Wed 5th Mar 2008 21:49 UTC
SReilly
Member since:
2006-12-28

...at all. I know quite a few people who run Win2003 64bit as there desktop system and loved it.

FTA:

Our recommendation: If you have an MSDN account or otherwise have access to a Server 2008 license, check it out for yourself. You may find that Windows "Workstation" 2008 is the Windows Vista you've been waiting for all along.

They talk about an 11%-17% increase in performance for the 3 benchmarks they did and think that DRM could be one of the reasons for Vista's lag (one of the tests was Windows Media based).

If that is the case, and there is no reason for it not to be, then all the more reason to be upset at MS for implementing that crap in the first place.

Reply Score: 11

Never Used Windows XP
by Bink on Wed 5th Mar 2008 22:10 UTC
Bink
Member since:
2006-02-19

This is not much of a surprise. I have never liked Windows XP and I ran Windows 2003 on my production laptop for many years. Granted, few would pay ~750 dollars for their workstation OS, but it was the best experience I’ve ever had with a production laptop.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Never Used Windows XP
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 5th Mar 2008 22:46 UTC in reply to "Never Used Windows XP"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Yup, I used to run Windows 2003 too, but I lost my disk (which had the license on it) and now I only have a copy of that disk left. I've been trying to get my hands on a cheap license somewhere, but no luck yet.

Anyway, Windows 2003 was ahead of XP. It was faster and more secure, services turned off - basically what XP should've been. Till this very day, Server 2003 is the best example of what NT can do.

Maybe 2008 overtakes that role. I'll have to try it out for myself.

Reply Score: 3

2008 as a workstation
by flojlg on Wed 5th Mar 2008 22:47 UTC
flojlg
Member since:
2007-01-11
Call me crazy....
by Phloptical on Wed 5th Mar 2008 23:50 UTC
Phloptical
Member since:
2006-10-10

But tweaking a server OS to run desktop apps costs WAY more than I'm willing to spend.

I find it funny that super-prefetch, Pre-Prefetch, or whatever that bloatware service in Vista is called, is an option on a Server OS. That just reminds me of the Win98 days when they were trying that dog-and-pony show in Defrag. "Let Windows order your programs for you"....No thanks, just defrag the drive and no one gets hurt, you POS. I never came across a system, back then, that didn't perform better when that option was disabled.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Call me crazy....
by Bending Unit on Fri 7th Mar 2008 12:56 UTC in reply to "Call me crazy...."
Bending Unit Member since:
2005-07-06

Superfetch is also an option in Vista. Feel free to turn the service off if you really want. But then you will just have more unused ram and slower application launches.

Reply Score: 2

Free Trial Versions
by KugelKurt on Wed 5th Mar 2008 23:56 UTC
KugelKurt
Member since:
2005-07-06

MS gives away free trial versions of Win2008. They run up to 240 days. So if one doesn't mind reinstalling the OS every 240 days then grab the trial: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/cc137123.aspx
Also worth reading: http://support.microsoft.com/?scid=kb%3Ben-us%3B948472&x=8&...

A big drawback IMHO is that some programs (especially anti virus tools) require a more expensive server license to be bought. IIRC there was a registry tweak for Windows Server 2003 to make itself identify as non-server OS (in that case WinXP Pro) towards applications, but I can't find it any more. Anybody knows where to find it and if it works on Win2008?

Reply Score: 5

Super Fetch
by blitze on Thu 6th Mar 2008 00:44 UTC
blitze
Member since:
2006-09-15

Really hard to turn off in Vista if you don't want it. Come-on people, I though you would have some clue as to OS's as you're posting on this site.

I'm trying it out now as I have 4Gig of ram to play with and see how it performs over time. I still think MS should have gone the OS-X route and that is hold the app in memory only after it has been run by choice of the user. That and the easy ability to shut the app down if you don't want it running in memory.

Sorta more like Super Fetch on the users terms rather than the OS's terms.

For all that don';t know how to deal with Super Fetch, use the Services Applet to access it and turn it off and disable if you don't want it running, really hard but that's how you choose to run it or not.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Super Fetch
by PJBonoVox on Thu 6th Mar 2008 16:35 UTC in reply to "Super Fetch"
PJBonoVox Member since:
2006-08-14

How is that really hard? I doubt anyone on OS News doesn't know how to disable a service.

Edited 2008-03-06 16:37 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Super Fetch
by blitze on Fri 7th Mar 2008 05:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Super Fetch"
blitze Member since:
2006-09-15

It ain't hard but people winging about it as part of Vista on this site, we'll it leaves in doubt their capabilities to admin an OS.

DRM, hasn't effected me in any of my audio work, games, Vid playback through component or anything else I can think of that I use my system for. Then again, I don't use MS built in apps for content creation or multimedia playback.

Reply Score: 2

Notorious Slow Copy ...
by PLan on Thu 6th Mar 2008 01:39 UTC
PLan
Member since:
2006-01-10

I'd agree Server 2008 is Vista done right. For starters the notorious Vista slow file copy problem (frankly a showstopper for many people) appears non-existent.

P.S. It's only taken Microsoft over a year, with Vista SP1, to fix the slow transfers to my external Firewire disk. Pathetic. ;)

Reply Score: 4

Same OS
by Zoidberg on Thu 6th Mar 2008 02:24 UTC
Zoidberg
Member since:
2006-02-11

Vista SP1 and Server 2008 share exactly the same kernel. That is why Server 2008 is already at SP1 on release and when SP2 comes out it will install on either OS. Aside from having a lot of stuff disabled or not installed by default, there's really no difference. You can disable and remove this stuff from Vista SP1 and have the same result.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Same OS
by jjmckay on Thu 6th Mar 2008 04:40 UTC in reply to "Same OS"
jjmckay Member since:
2005-11-11

Zoidberg then what accounts for the performance difference between Vista and W2K8? Can Vista be tweaked to run as fast? That information is golden right now.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Same OS
by Zoidberg on Thu 6th Mar 2008 05:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Same OS"
Zoidberg Member since:
2006-02-11

If I were guessing I'd say it would have to be having all the fancy special effects turned off by default, things like the indexing service disabled, etc. If someone were to disable all of that same stuff on Vista SP1, run the classic theme and so on I would think it would be as fast as Server 2008. I haven't actually tried though, but I'm not sure why they would perform any differently.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Same OS
by NxStY on Thu 6th Mar 2008 12:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Same OS"
NxStY Member since:
2005-11-12

If I were guessing I'd say it would have to be having all the fancy special effects turned off by default, things like the indexing service disabled, etc. If someone were to disable all of that same stuff on Vista SP1, run the classic theme and so on I would think it would be as fast as Server 2008. I haven't actually tried though, but I'm not sure why they would perform any differently.


There is stuff in Vista that you can't disable. DRM for example. Supposedly this is disabled in WS 2008 as it would be more difficult for MS to force this stuff on corporations rather than ordinary users.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Same OS
by WorknMan on Thu 6th Mar 2008 14:56 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Same OS"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

There is stuff in Vista that you can't disable. DRM for example. Supposedly this is disabled in WS 2008 as it would be more difficult for MS to force this stuff on corporations rather than ordinary users.

As another poster inquired, which 'DRM' are people speaking of that is supposedly slowing Vista down to a crawl?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Same OS
by PlatformAgnostic on Thu 6th Mar 2008 15:24 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Same OS"
PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

The people who are telling you it's DRM are misinformed (perhaps intentionally). For the components they share, Vista and 2k8 have the exact same binaries. There are obviously components that are present in the client that aren't in the server and vice-versa. But there is no specific 'DRM' component, so it's not one of those things.

Edited 2008-03-06 15:26 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Same OS
by vondur on Thu 6th Mar 2008 15:55 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Same OS"
vondur Member since:
2005-07-07

The people who are telling you it's DRM are misinformed (perhaps intentionally). For the components they share, Vista and 2k8 have the exact same binaries. There are obviously components that are present in the client that aren't in the server and vice-versa. But there is no specific 'DRM' component, so it's not one of those things.




“Since [encryption] uses CPU cycles, an OEM may have to bump the speed grade on the CPU to maintain equivalent multimedia performance. This cost is passed on to purchasers of multimedia PCs” — ATI.
This is the DRM that stops high def videos from playing at full res on non HDCP enabled monitors/video cards
this comes from:
http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.html

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: Same OS
by blitze on Thu 6th Mar 2008 22:13 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Same OS"
blitze Member since:
2006-09-15

DRM is only enforced (active) if you use HD content on Vista with Microsoft's Media playing tools.

For non HD content and non MS media playback software DRM is non exisitant. It doesn't stop you creating or playing back media.

I'm also usre that by the time HD Video content becomes mainstream on computers (re BlueRay Drives) then VLC or equivelents will be able to play back that content bypassing MS DRM components.

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: Same OS
by PlatformAgnostic on Sat 8th Mar 2008 15:56 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Same OS"
PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

Gutmann's article has only tangential connections with reality. He makes a lot of easily-confirmable assertions (you would only need a profiler or kernel debugger to prove any of them... both of these things are provided for free by Microsoft). Despite the lack of actual confirmation of any of his claims and the opposing statements of Microsoft employees who actually work on the relevant parts of Windows, people still believe that there is some mysterious DRM that's magically consuming their cycles without doing anything to confirm it.

Reply Score: 2

RAM
by qroon on Thu 6th Mar 2008 04:25 UTC
qroon
Member since:
2005-10-21

4GB of RAM is needed? At least, that is what I saw on this screenshot [1]:

[1] http://win2k8workstation.googlepages.com/Win2k8WorkstationFinal3.jp...

Reply Score: 2

RE: RAM
by cjcoats on Fri 7th Mar 2008 16:35 UTC in reply to "RAM"
cjcoats Member since:
2006-04-16

"Tom's Hardware" says it runs quite a bit faster yet
with 8 GB of RAM. Fortunately, 2GB RAM-modules are
getting much cheaper lately :-)

Reply Score: 1

DRM?
by Tom K on Thu 6th Mar 2008 09:02 UTC
Tom K
Member since:
2005-07-06

Yet another site throwing around claims of "DRM" slowing things down in Vista.

Someone ought to define what "DRM" is and isn't, how it actually functions, and explain that it doesn't sit there in the kernel churning away, eating clock cycles, for no reason.

Reply Score: 3

Lobotomik
Member since:
2006-01-03

Why bother? 15% faster than Vista is like saying 15% faster than treacle. If it were 50%, then it might be worth considering.

If you really must use Vista, better spend your money on a faster processor and more memory.

Reply Score: 2

How about a server as a desktop?
by unclefester on Thu 6th Mar 2008 09:19 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

For about a year I used a dual 2001 vintage P3 tower server as a workstation. It was unbelievably stable and very fast on both Windows 2000 and Ubuntu 6.06. The quad SCSCI RAID and 2GB of RAM worked very well. I just addded a PCI sound card and decent VGA card. It was a little noisy and extremely slow to boot.

Reply Score: 1

helf Member since:
2005-07-06

That's what I had for awhile. A dual PPR-200-S tower with 512mb of ECC Registered ram and SCSI drives. This was way bakc when everyone had p1-233s and what not. I loved that machine ;) Still have it somewhere. Ran super fast with windows NT4/2k pro and very stable.

Reply Score: 3

cerbie
Member since:
2006-01-02

Have they revamped the whole set of configuration dialogs? Just go change your gateway, or set a better font to use on your titlebar...basic settings get buried deeper (and of course each step is modal), rather than MS actually creating useful dialogs.

While every X DE and Linux distro have been making changes to just about everything quicker and easier, it's more time-consuming in Vista.

I was going to make The Switch, "one of these days," and a few months of using Vista Business did it. They did some good stuff, but the interface needs a major overhaul, not added windows on top of ones that have barely changed since NT4, and too many of them modal.

Reply Score: 2

DRM
by TechGeek on Fri 7th Mar 2008 03:16 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

Last time I checked, the DRM they are talking about required Vista to have an active process which the user can't shut off. This process is constantly checking to see if you are running hi-def stuff it needs to protect. That process eats a lot of cycles and some ram.

Reply Score: 2

RE: DRM
by Zoidberg on Fri 7th Mar 2008 11:56 UTC in reply to "DRM"
Zoidberg Member since:
2006-02-11

"That process eats a lot of cycles"

Not true, the protected media path protection only kicks in when you play a DRM protected Blu-Ray or HD DVD movie. All it does is check to see that you have HDCP compliant hardware, and if so it allows the movie to play. That's it, and it's certainly is not running in the background eating CPU cycles all the time. Check your CPU usage in the task manager. Also, Server 2008 and Vista both have the same DRM protection features.

Reply Score: 2

RE: DRM
by PlatformAgnostic on Sat 8th Mar 2008 16:00 UTC in reply to "DRM"
PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

How did you check this? By reading the Gutman article or actually looking at a Vista machine (which by now should be easy enough to find that you don't have to go by hearsay and flawed research)?

Reply Score: 2

movies, DirectX games, music
by trenchsol on Fri 7th Mar 2008 04:17 UTC
trenchsol
Member since:
2006-12-07

What about movies, DirectX games, music. Does it work?

DG

Reply Score: 2

RE: movies, DirectX games, music
by Shannara on Fri 7th Mar 2008 21:24 UTC in reply to "movies, DirectX games, music"
Shannara Member since:
2005-07-06

I want to know this too. Since about 80% of windows users use it for games and DX stuff ...

Reply Score: 0

camouflageX Member since:
2008-03-07

I downloaded and installed Windows Server 2008 Standard 32bit on my iMac (late 2007) today. Movies, DirectX games and music work fine. You could even install Windows Media Player and Aero if you wanted to.

Then I installed graphics and sound drivers. Now it runs Team Fortress 2 even a bit faster than it did on Windows XP. (Timedemo 56.41 FPS vs. 58.56 FPS).

After this quick testdrive I am quite impressed. A "free", modern, fast Windows without all the crap installed. Yay! ;)

Edited 2008-03-08 00:07 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Shannara Member since:
2005-07-06

Thanks for the info. Vista does not run Photoshop CS3, despite Adobe's false advertisement. Will photoshop run ok on Windows Server 2008?

Reply Score: 1

camouflageX Member since:
2008-03-07

I'm sorry, I can't really help you with that question. But here is some information: Both Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 use the same kernel. If it doesn't run on Vista SP1, I doubt it will run on Server 2008.

Of course it's the best to try it yourself. Why not try to install it in a free/trial virtual machine like VMware, Parallels, VirtualBox or maybe qemu?

Reply Score: 1

PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

What goes wrong when you try installing CS3? Are you on 64-bit or 32-bit? Have you tried running the thing as admin?

Reply Score: 2

Shannara Member since:
2005-07-06

I went through everything on the adobe site, I am running 32bit, admin mode, and Windows XP SP2 compat mode as required to install. It always freeze (install) on shared objects.

Reply Score: 1

PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

Apparently there have been some issues with CS3 and some dlls that it forgets to register.

Have you tried anything along these lines?
http://blogs.msdn.com/rickbrew/archive/2007/04/26/problems-installi...

Or since you're on 32-bit:
http://www.metah.ch/blog/2007/09/12/welcome-home-cs3-master-jedi-or...

There are some bad interactions with AV, apparently. I'm not a big fan of Antivirus myself for exactly this reason... it breaks stuff randomly.

Reply Score: 2

Shannara Member since:
2005-07-06

One basically does one of the step of the other. Both of those were registered. No go. And before someone mention it, I did try Adobe support. They pulled a Microsoft and forgot to actually test the product on Vista before releasing. heh.

Reply Score: 1

amazing
by viton on Fri 7th Mar 2008 18:45 UTC
viton
Member since:
2005-08-09

it took almost two hours to install ... and rebooted the machine three times in the process

Amazing performance. LOL
Why they can't make an OS what would reboot only ONE time? These stupid reboots makes me angry. Microsoft programmers should not have the rights to touch the computers.

Reply Score: 2

Drivers? Software compatibility?
by gilboa on Fri 7th Mar 2008 22:26 UTC
gilboa
Member since:
2005-07-06

A couple of yours ago my employer considered switching a large number of XP workstation to the 2K3.
However, the attempt failed (miserably) due to driver (especially on high-end laptops, graphics cards running in VGA'ish mose, etc) and software compatibility problems. (Mostly licensing problems - but not only)

In the end, the idea was dropped.
I wonder if Windows 2K8 server-as-a-workstation won't suffer from the same issues?

- Gilboa

Reply Score: 3