Fat, fatter, fattest: Microsoft's kings of bloat
Our tests show that Windows Vista and Office 2007 not only smash Redmond's previous records for weight gain, but given the same hardware diet, run at less than half the speed of generation XP
About OfficeBench: The OfficeBench test script is a version-independent benchmark tool that uses OLE automation to drive Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Internet Explorer through a series of common business productivity tasks. These include assembling and formatting a compound document and support workbooks and presentation materials, as well as gathering data through simulated browsing of a Web-based research database. (For more detail, see "Cross-generational Windows/Office performance: About OfficeBench.") OfficeBench is available for free download from the exo.performance.network Web site as part of the DMS Clarity Studio testing framework.
The Stone Age: Windows 2000/Office 2000
Back in 1999, when I was working as an advisor to Intel's Desktop Architecture Labs (DAL), I remember how thrilled we all were to get our hands on Windows 2000 and Office 2000 – finally, a version of the Windows/Office stack that could leverage all of the desktop horsepower we were building into the next-generation Pentium 4 platform. I remember it was also the first time I had a fully scriptable version of the Office suite to work with (previous versions had supported OLE automation only in Word and Excel). Shortly thereafter, the first version of OfficeBench was born, and I began my odyssey of chronicling TGMLC through the years.
First off, let me characterize the state-of-the-art at the time. The Pentium 4 CPU was about to be unveiled and the standard configuration in our test labs was a single-CPU system with 128MB of RDRAM and an IDE hard disk. A joke by today's standards, this was considered a true power-user configuration suitable for heavy number-crunching or even lightweight engineering workstation applications. It was also only marginally faster than the previous-generation Pentium III, a fact that Intel tried hard to hide by cranking up the CPU clock to 1.5GHz and turning its competition with rival AMD into a drag race.
Sadly, I didn't have access to an original Pentium 4 system for this article. My engineering test bed was long ago scrapped for parts, and I doubt that many of these old i840 chip-set-based boxes are still in use outside of the third world. However, I could at least evaluate the software stack itself. Through the magic of virtualization, we can see that, even with only 128MB of RAM, a Windows 2000-based configuration had plenty of room to perform. During OfficeBench testing, the entire suite consumed only 9MB of RAM, while the overall OS footprint never exceeded 132MB of RAM, roughly half of the available memory. Clearly this was a lean, mean version of Windows/Office. It chewed through the test script a full 17 percent faster than its nearest competitor, Windows XP (SP1) and Office XP. View the overall test results. View more detailed test results at xpnet.com.