The results for ATI were largely very impressive. On ATI hardware, we saw that there was generally only a modest difference between XP and Vista in performance. In our previous article, we noted dramatic framerate discrepancies between the two OSes and perhaps drew a bit too much attention to Windows Vista as being the common denominator. As our readers noted, it would have been better to qualify those statements by stating that our experiences were with NVIDIA hardware alone, and it’s not possible to tell if the problem is intrinsic to the operating system, the NVIDIA hardware or driver revisions, or possibly all of the above.
We’ll make that distinction now – the implementation of the driver revision that we used for our NVIDIA hardware was woefully underperforming in a Vista environment. Again, NVIDIA recently released a new driver set, and we wanted to see if there was any effect in some of the games that were disappointing when run under Vista. From the graph above, we see that the new driver set has closed some of the gaps, while others remain wide open. This is interesting to see, as ATI seems to largely have its ducks in a row concerning Vista.
We were intrigued by the 158.xx revision of the NVIDIA driver set as some games showed marked improvement since our last go-around. However, some titles still exhibited large performance gaps - notably, Need for Speed: Carbon. It's important to note, however, that EA has not patched this title since before the retail release of Vista (about six months ago). Between the recent developer patches and perhaps the new driver revision, the performance gap for Company of Heroes closed to a much more reasonable interval.
It's still very interesting to see the overall trend, though. Even on ATI hardware, seven of our eight gaming titles showed a higher framerate in XP over Vista. In the one case where Vista outpaced XP, it was by an average of 0.9fps. Even on the new NVIDIA drivers, our panel showed the same trend.
Now that we've used new drivers and a more comprehensive panel of hardware, we're at a point where we have to look at this profound trend in the data as significant. Even though it's only by a few frames here and there, it's curious to see that Vista continues to underperform (albeit slightly in most cases) in 3D gaming applications compared to XP.
We hope that this follow-up has placated some of the curiosities about what ATI is doing to make sure that gamers are happy with their gaming experiences in Vista. It’s obvious now that ATI should have been included in our previous round-up as it would have been an interesting contrasting element and would have made the article more complete. In effect, NVIDIA got a pass while we put the blame on Microsoft. From our results, it looks like some blame still does go to Microsoft, but it's also clear that NVIDIA's previous driver revision was largely underperforming. We want to express our thanks to our readers for their thoughts and always holding us accountable for the content that we produce.
EDIT: Here's Part 1 http://www.overclock.net/news-overcl...+of+Framerates