If geeks love it, we’re on it

Does Service Pack 2 slow you down?

Does Service Pack 2 slow you down?


Does Service Pack 2 slow you down?

Microsoft released Service Pack 2 and millions installed it. Did boat anchors come with the enhancements? We threw 108 benchmarks at Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2 in an attempt to declare a winner.

Does the old saying go “newer, better, faster” or “you can only rework the plumbing so many times”? Service Pack 2 brought enhancements to Windows XP including a very handy pop-up stopper and the much needed firewall security. A new Service Pack does improve upon some features of an operating system besides plugging up the holes but do the improvements come as extra weight or is some code jettisoned in favor of newer, leaner code?

A comparison between the Service Pack 1 clean install and Service Pack 2 clean install shows 4 extra processes and 42 extra megabytes added to SP2 on the test system.

Service Pack 1

Service Pack 2

Benchmarks

The test systems

  • AMD Athlon 64 3800+ Processor (32-bit mode)
  • MSI K8T Neo2 MS-6702E ver 1 ATX mainboard
  • ATI 9800 PRO 256 MB Video Card Catalyst 4.9 drivers (Default settings)
  • 2 x 512 MB Corsair PC3200LL TwinX DDR RAM in DIMM 1 and 3
  • LG 8x DVD+/-RW.
  • 120 GB Seagate SATA Hard Drive
  • Samsung 950p 19″ Monitors
  • USB Keyboard and MX700 Optical Mouse
  • Retail HSF
  • AMK PC67 PC case (window, fans, cables, loom)
  • Enermax 465 Watt FC PSU
  • Windows XP Professional Service Pack SP1 – Listed in graphs as AMD 3800+ (SP1)
  • Windows XP Professional Service Pack SP1&2 – Listed in graphs as AMD 3800+

Programs used

Catalyst settings: let application decide for Anti-Aliasing/Anisotropic filtering, quality texture preference, quality midimap detail level, no smartshader or truform. AGP aperture
was set to 256 MB. Windows visual effects
was set to ADJUST FOR BEST PERFORMANCE. Pagefile set to 1024 MB min/max. System Restore set to off.

Individual performance will vary with any particular or specific timings or
tweaks enabled by you. All programs were benchmarked with initial monitor
settings at 1024×768@75Hz. Your own mileage may very.

3DMark 2003

3D Mark 2003 was originally designed to measure performance specifically in
shader-heavy titles.

3dmark03

3DMark 2005

3D Mark 2005 takes advantage of more DirectX 9 functionality that many new game titles are using.

3dmark05

Aquamark3

Aquamark3 is a benchmark from Massive Development. For the most part
it is a DirectX 8.1 benchmark though it is run with DirectX 90c installed. Four
measurement sets were used. The first has high and low detail with Anti Aliasing
and Anisotropic filtering turned off. The second has high and low detail with
Anti-Aliasing (6x) and Anisotropic filtering (16x) set at max.

aquamark_off_off_low

aquamark_off_off_high

aquamark_6x_16x_low

aquamark_6x_16x_high

GL Excess

GL Excess is an OPENGL benchmark that is optimized for DX8.1.

glexcess

Quake III high quality

Quake III still continues to hang around. This benchmark is one that
most can’t just let go of and it retains grandfather rights in the community.
Many of today’s games are based upon the Quake engine. The accuracy of this benchmark is becoming questionable with frame rates consistently around or over 300.

quake

Serious Sam

Serious Sam uses OPENGL.

sam

UT2003 Flyby

ut2003

UT2004 Benchmark

ut2004

Wolfenstein Enemy Territory: Railgun timedemo

Wolfenstein Enemy Territory uses an improved version of the heavily
modified Quake III engine from Return to Castle Wolfenstein. The Railgun time
demo results were recorded.

wolfenstein

X2 Rolling Demo

X2 – The Threat is a teaser with a benchmark option for Egosoft’s
upcoming release. It does not use pixel shaders.

x2

SplinterCell (Chinese Embassy Timedemo)

Splinter Cell is a DirectX 8.1 based game that is involves very GPU-intensive texture rendering.

splintercell

Sisoft Sandra 2004

sandra_math

sandra_multi

sandra_memory

NBench-3

nbench_3_cpu

nbench_3_3d

nbench_3_overall

Specviewperf 8.0

SpecviewPerf measures the rendering performance of systems
running under OPENGL incorporating eight standard SPECopc applications viewsets:

  • 3dsmax-03 , based on SPECapc for 3ds max 3.1 configured with the Open GL driver; includes three models containing an average of 1.5 million vertices each, and tests performance of scenes with different levels of lighting.
  • catia-01, based on Dassault’s CATIA, with models containing up to two million vertices.
  • ensight-01 , based on CEI’s EnSight engineering and scientific visualization application, covers both display-list and immediate-mode workloads.
  • light-07 , based on traces of Discreet’s Lightscape radiosity application.
  • maya-01 , based on traces of Alias’ Maya 5.
  • proe-03 , based on SPECapc for Pro/ENGINEER 2001, measures two models in three modes — shaded, wireframe and hidden-line removal (HLR).
  • sw-01 , based traces of the Solidworks 2004 application from Dassault Systemes.
  • ugs-04 , based on SPECapc for Unigraphics V17, tests performance based on an engine model containing 4.1 million vertices.

specview8

The following two tests are targeted mainly towards CPU performance and will
show if any “flaws” are in board design affecting the ability of the
CPU to crunch through the data. While in render mode the two test programs virtually
bypass ram and GPU.

Adobe After Effects 6.0

Adobe After Effects is a tool to produce motion
graphics and visual effects for film, video, multimedia and the web. It is primarily
a 2D application using imported graphics or digital footage or self generated
effects. A test project was created combining many video footage
files, resizing and rasterizing effects, text animations and multiple layer
effects. This “average” combination was felt to best demonstrate advantages
and/or disadvantages that a real world user may experience rather than isolating
and benchmarking a particular effect.

There is no official benchmark for After Effects
but render tasks can be timed to show specific results. Rendering, or the task of building
and compiling frames, is primarily CPU intensive and After Effects generally bypasses
the video card to rely solely upon the processor for speed. The time taken
to a render 900 frame Quicktime 720×486 movie file (animation codec, millions of colors, best quality) shows how fast the processor is working on the
given task.

aefx

Which wins?

Service Pack 1 tallied 63 “wins” out of a total of 108 scores. Service Pack 2 took only 42 possibilities with the rest nullified by matching scores. It can be said that, on average, Windows XP Professional with only Service Pack 1 installed is faster 2/3 of the time. The table below is the sum of all resolutions for each category.

All resolution scores combined
SP1 score
SP2 score
SP 1 Percentage faster than SP2
3D Mark 2003
31684
30888
2.6%
3D Mark 2005
12689
12399
2.3%
Aquamark
AA off, Aniso Off Details vlow
546
542
0.7%
AA off, Aniso Off Details vhigh
217
239
-9.3%
AA 6x, Aniso 16x Details vlow
400
393
1.7%
AA 6x, Aniso 16x Details vhigh
173
205
-15.5%
Doom III
130
130
0.0%
GL Excess
66274
66082
0.3%

N-Bench 3 (1024×768 and 1600×1200 scores combined)

Integer 1 (Landscape)
6148
6094
0.9%
Integer 2 (Mandelbrot)
5796
5796
0.0%
Float 1 (Flock)
4950
5045
-1.9%
Float 2 (Rigid Body)
4977
4919
1.2%
CPU Overall
5467
5463
0.1%
Ninja 1
8122
8069
0.7%
Ninja 2
6914
6873
0.6%
Grand Touring
8469
8423
0.5%
Star Fighter
7258
7281
-0.3%
3D Overall
7690
7661
0.4%
Overall Score
6578
6562
0.2%
PCMark 2004
4781
4761
0.4%
Quake III high quality v.11
1640
1592
3.0%
Serious Sam
586
592
-1.0%
Splinter Cell Chinese Embassy
449
445
0.8%
UT2004 – Umark utility – 16 bots BR-Colossus – High Image Quality
585
577
1.4%
UT2003 – flyby
845
868
-2.7%
Wolfenstein Enemy Territory (railgun demo)
434
451
-3.8%
X2 Rolling demo
106
107
-0.9%
Sisoft Sandra CPU Arithmetic
18662
18746
-0.4%
Sisoft Sandra CPU Multi Media Benchmark
41543
41519
0.1%
Sisoft Sandra Memory Bandwidth
11740
11704
0.3%
SpecviewPerf 8.1
98.7
98.1
0.6%
After Effects 6.0
2.11
2.07
-1.9%

The test PC equipped with Windows XP Professional Service Pack 1 was an average of 0.5% faster than the same hardware with Service Pack 2 installed. The percentage difference between faster and slower is insignificantly small. Less than 2 or 3 percent in some benchmarks could be dismissed by most but when gamers are looking to squeeze every extra frame out of their machines…it may count.

Digital food for thought.

Comments

  1. shwaip
    shwaip good article, but the graphs seem to look like you're comparing XP to XP SP1 instead of XP SP1 to XP SP2.
  2. primesuspect
    primesuspect What inspired you to do these tests, Mediaman?
  3. MediaMan
    MediaMan
    primesuspect said:
    What inspired you to do these tests, Mediaman?

    I re-vamped my benchmark suite and in the process of re-re-benchmarking I noticed numbers that led me further down the garden path. It seemed only logical to pursue it.
  4. t1rhino
    t1rhino I have found that SP2 has fixed a few problems on my laptop, and it actually seems faster now. :scratch:
  5. TheSmJ
    TheSmJ Well, I'm personally not too worried about a 3% (or less) decrease in performance. The difference is negligible, to say the least.
  6. Unregistered
    Unregistered This is sick and makes short-media.com a lough off you say that 2,5% aren't worth all the security improvements that SP2 brings ? then this test is absolutely worthless and i advice any Gamer in the World to take Security into Account. Just as an example i was on a LAN and scanned throug it and found alot of XP Pc's didn't even used a Administrator password such things are scarry as hell and short-media.com should better releases such information instead of this bullshit btw did you tried to deactivate DEP in SP2 to get more Speed this should give a Speedup still you have a more secure Windows then SP1. So please every user with a Brain see this test as worthless it is absolutely and i dont know what the Author thought about releaseing such an useless Article every well informed Windows user can only lough about this, but me is scared that Gamers take this into Account when they decide for Sp1 or Sp2 and this is absolutely fatal for the Security of the Internet.
  7. Unregistered
    Unregistered Mediaman, please do your homework before writing such silly comparison.
    Really hate those amateur kids :(
  8. Unregistered
    Unregistered hmmm I wonder whats used here ...
    some cool splipstream installation ?
    or has the windows been upgraded ...
    I advise ANYBODY to do a slimpstream install this will give you a totally different windows feeling ... upgrading sucks

    Mertsch
  9. Unregistered
    Unregistered Hmm, where are you getting an average of SP1 2.5% faster than SP2 from the numbers you posted? I get -0.5%, or 0.5% slower, which would be negligible as it's probably within the margin of error. 2.5% might even be in the margin of error, but just for the sake of accuracy.
  10. t1rhino
    t1rhino Guest, it sounds like you think sp2 is some magical package that will somehow make your computer impervious to being attacked. ;D
    With regards to admin passwords on a lan, no service pack can help cure users stupidity.
  11. Unregistered
    Unregistered I don't know what conclusion you would like to reach? Recommending people not to patch their computer with SP2 that fixes HUNDREDS of bugs in XP?? This is a SERVICE PACK: a cummulative patch to address lots and lots of problems in SP1 and not installing it means you are blocking your way for any future bug-fixes too!
  12. Dexter
    Dexter To the unregistered comments above: first of all I don't know if the comments are from 3 separate unregistered guests, or from one, but I am going to address all at once in defence of MediaMan.

    This is sick and makes short-media.com a lough off you say that 2,5% aren't worth all the security improvements that SP2 brings ?
    The security enhancements of Service Pack 2 are really minimal if you are an experienced user.

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/sp2/features.mspx

    SP2 features such as an full integrated firewall, built in IE pop-up stopper, and a revamped Security Centre are not that ground-breaking. A 3rd party software firewall or, as most users these days prefer, a hardware firewall, make the built in XPSP2 firewall pointless. A Pop-up stopper is hardly a new invention from Microsoft, there are very good 3rd party pop-up stoppers available, and many users just use those or free toolbars with integrated pop-up stoppers from Google, MSN or Yahoo. The Security Centre is just an integrated alerter, which if you are using any of the above mentioned alternatives makes it pointless as well. For instance, since I use Norton Antivirus with automatic updating enabled, a hardware firewall, and a 3rd party software pop-up stopper, plus the Firefox browser, I have completely disabled every feature of the security centre, because they are irrelevant. Except, of course for automatic Windows Updates, which are not a new feature of SP2. Any critical security updates are still available for SP1, and wil lbe for a very long time, so there is no pressing need to update to SP2 for any of the security features mentioned above.

    Just as an example i was on a LAN and scanned throug it and found alot of XP Pc's didn't even used a Administrator password such things are scarry as hell and short-media.com should better releases such information instead of this bull****
    This would be a user problem. You can have an Administrator enabled account without a password on SP2 just as easily as you can on SP1. SP2 does not make a user any smarter about password security, nor does it force them to use a password. Therefore this comment is pointless and uninformed.

    btw did you tried to deactivate DEP in SP2 to get more Speed this should give a Speedup
    Data Execution Prevention (DEP) helps prevent damage from viruses and other security threats that attack by running (executing) malicious code from memory locations that only Windows and other programs should use. By default, DEP is only turned on for essential Windows operating system programs and services. Turning DEP off is, by definition, making your OS less secure. Since you are blasting MediaMan by saying his article will entice users to be less secure, why are you suggesting doing something that would make their boxes less secure! If you are going to be critical, please be consistent. Do you want them to be more secure or less secure??? ;D

    nd i dont know what the Author thought about releaseing such an useless Article every well informed Windows user can only lough about this,
    Every well informed Windows user did not need most of the security enhancements of SP2 a I explained above. SP2's security enhancements were targetted for the "average user" who does not know a lot about security to begin with. Most of the core users of this site had systems much more secure on XPSP1 than the average user on XPSP2...and many use FireFox for their primary browser as well, to reduce the risk of Active X enabled security problems.

    this is absolutely fatal for the Security of the Internet
    Well, if the internet stops working tomorrow, you can blame MediaMan. ;D

    Mediaman, please do your homework before writing such silly comparison.
    Really hate those amateur kids
    For your information, MediaMan is in his late 30's (sorry MM ;)) and is a very experienced and respected computer user. Your comment is an ad hominem attack, and an incorrect one at that. That comment is not even worth the number of bits it takes to store it.

    I advise ANYBODY to do a slimpstream install this will give you a totally different windows feeling ... upgrading sucks
    Slipstreaming is a bit more advanced process, and not one likely to be tackled by the average user. It is a bit more work, and is better suited to corporate installs, or people who re-install their OS quite often. The amount of work required to create a slipstream install is roughly equal to the amount of time it takes to run updates separately after an upgrade. For an average user with one system, why bother?

    Finally, if you are a gamer please note carefully the last page of the article:

    http://www.short-media.com/review.php?r=265&p=6

    Note the numbers for the games used to benchmark, which show performance differences of 0.0%, 3.0%, -1.0%, 0.8%, 1.4%, -2.7%, -3.8%, and -0.9%.

    Average those out and you will see a .4% increase in performance when you only look at the games! So if you are scared that gamers will be afraid opf SP2 based on this review, I suspect you didn't pay attention to the numbers very well, you only read the closing line. The biggest impacts were done using benchmarking programs with higg graphics details. Average gamers do not have high details turned on, they go with defaults. Advanced gamers have suped up boxes and high-end graphics cards, so they are not going to be too worried about a small 2.5% possible performance hit...and if they are, they are smart enough to know how to disable some background processes to speed things back up.

    Dexter...
  13. mmonnin
    mmonnin Not being a duambass user is way better than upgrading to any Service Pack.
  14. Unregistered
    Unregistered
    Slipstreaming is a bit more advanced process, and not one likely to be tackled by the average user. It is a bit more work, and is better suited to corporate installs, or people who re-install their OS quite often. The amount of work required to create a slipstream install is roughly equal to the amount of time it takes to run updates separately after an upgrade. For an average user with one system, why bother?
    just because an updated and slipstreamed install do not equal ... right from the start windows behaves quite different in numerous situations ... it was the same way when SP1 was release a fresh slipstream install will top anything in real-life-performance

    and it should at least be mentioned ... also look at the new XP CDs you can buy/you get with your new PC ... they have SP2 integrated ... so it must really be considered
  15. MediaMan
    MediaMan Well.

    It seems as though I have annoyed and offended at least one reader. There are always two sides to the coin.

    For the record Windows XP was installed. Then Service Pack 1. Then the Windows Update site to update the installation. Tests were conducted. Then Service Pack 2 was installed and tests were run. I did it this way to emulate what a typical user would do. Slipstreaming Service Packs is not typically done by the majority of users.

    The unregistered guest is entitled to his/her comments. I just wonder if he/she conducts himself/herself like that in person?



    I never said that Service Pack 2 was not worth it. I never said not to install it. I never recommended any step. I made observations based on a test system that is why I stated "the test system showed..." I never said or inferred that this was typical of all systems.

    The typical user should not notice any significant change in their computer's performance between service pack 1 and 2. As I did state the 2-3% was not much to be concerned about.

    What I did say was that gamers, who may want to find ways to get every additional frame per second, may consider my results and apply the theory to their own system.

    This was a "digital food for thought" article and made no recommendations for any user to apply Service Pack 2 or not.

    Thank you for reading and commenting.
  16. entropy
    entropy Did anyone else notice we were linked on the front page of [H]? Maybe that's why the whole site seems real slow lately, and would explain all the Guest posts, too. Congrats, MM :D
  17. Unregistered
  18. Medlock
    Medlock
    entropy said:
    Did anyone else notice we were linked on the front page of [H]? Maybe that's why the whole site seems real slow lately, and would explain all the Guest posts, too. Congrats, MM :D
    Phew! I thought it was just me! ;D

    Unregistered, please stop, you sound like a child. :shakehead
  19. Unregistered
    Unregistered Another unregistered user, from W2S.
    While I see your point in emulating a typical install, I believe a slipstreamed install should be considered for benchmarking pruposes as well. Also, a SP2 install DOES have the firewall among other things enabled by default.
    It has been said that an expirieneced user would have a software firewall activated anyways, but would't this mean that the SP2 is at a disadvantage, since it already provides this feature by default and uses more system resources with the firewall.
  20. Thrax
    Thrax It's a difference in your target audience.

    If you want to emulate an enthusiast environment for benchmarking, by all means, slipstream your service pack and go from there.

    However, the majority of the internet is not enthusiast, and so, for once, the internet gets tech article designed for their installation habits. No big deal.
  21. Unregistered
    Unregistered Well I for one will not use sp2 untill the bugs are worked out. Thank god that I use a spare machine for experimenting with updates.Ran sp2 over sp1 and Diskeeper 8 corp edition quit working even after I installed their update. Mcafee corp adition quit etc etc. This time I did a fresh install again, and decided to just go to Microsoft update and pick what updates I wanted, right off the bat it starts loading up the firewall with out letting me know, which was ok I figured since I could disable it and stay with my router and other software to protect my machine. Well guess what rebooted and xp says my ntldr is missing or corrupt. Well that was enough for me, I will not be using sp2 on my main machine untill its fixed. Since Im one that makes sure my machine is secure I dont think I really need it untill some new technology comes along where I do need it. The main thing I stress to my Customers is get a router for the same price as the software firewalls which can be shut down by a Trojan, I could go on but you get my drift. But for the noobie go for it instead of doing some reading and research, and when your machine gets borked just do the old reinstall routine that other noobies always seem to recommend.
  22. Unregistered
    Unregistered This article is bogus!

    I immediately became skeptical upon seeing the claim that 4 new processes were in the task manager process list - msiexec.exe being one of them. MSIEXEC.EXE is used by Windows Installer to install programs or updates. The author must have finished installing a buggy program that did not close msiexec.exe properly, or was in the middle of an install!

    Also the WUAUCLT.EXE process is only active while the system is updating or searching for product updates to Windows.

    Logically, one would assume the author of the article recently booted this computer, the computer was downloading the post-SP2 patches (as is the default setup) and took a screenshot.

    Therefore, these screenshots and the suggestion that 4 new processes is running on his machine due to SP2 is a minor form of sensationalism as they were probably activated by the SP2 update.

    This oversight causes me to wonder how "clean" the tests were. Did he consider prefetch data? Did he ensure before / after settings in Windows were the same?

    I ran my own tests on a system by installing a Windows XP Pro SP1 OEM install, formatting and then installing Windows XP Pro SP2 OEM (both from the manufacturer), running Sandra, 3DMark 05, UT 2004, and Wolf ET tests and found
    differences to range between 0.05% on total average between both installs. In fact, I ran the same test Pre and Post SP2 on the system three times and found a 1% change on the system between reboots!

    The moral is - take these minor percentage in performance changes with a grain of salt. With the benefits that SP2 offers over this suggested performance decrease, it's not worth it to hold out.
  23. Unregistered
    Unregistered To clarify my comments above, when I state that I found a 1% difference between reboots, it means that on the system with SP1 I ran a test, rebooted the computer and still with SP1 found a performance change.
  24. Unregistered
    Unregistered User from W2S here,
    The tests are mostly all synthetic, therefore they dont represent what a 'real' user will experence.

    A 'real' user uses an upgrade, not slipstreamed install, therefore

    for synthetic tests, a slipstreamed install should have been used.

    Also, all the improvements of SP2, wireless included, considerbly outweigh the aparent 2.5% loss SP2 has.
  25. Thrax
    Thrax No one ever said they didn't outweigh the 2.5% loss.
  26. MediaMan
    MediaMan The author (me)

    1) Installed Windows XP Professional from a disk. The SP1a Service Pack network installation package was already downloaded. It was installed and after the installation completed the Windows Update site was utilized to install the remaining patches.

    A screen shot was then taken of what processes were active.

    2) The SP2 network installation was already downloaded. The installation was completed, the computer rebooted and a screen shot was taken.

    I never said this was true of all systems and reported only what the test system showed. Again I never recommended against the installation of SP2 nor made any comments to infer that the service pack was not beneficial.



    The genesis of the article came from wondering if there was a difference in performance from SP1 to SP2. The drive was formatted and Windows XP was installed then SP1 plus the updates, the necessary sound, chipset and video drivers and all the benchmark programs. Benchmarking was conducted.

    The drive was then formatted, Windows XP installed then Service Pack 1, then the updates then SP2.

    The difference in this route and that of a typical user is that the typical user may choose the web install route for SP2 and not download the entire service pack.

    The article makes no concrete claim that Service Pack 2 does slow down all systems. It makes no comments as to the operational usefulness of Service Pack 2. I do find the security enhancements very beneficial for the average user. By "average" I mean the user who turns on their computer, uses it and then turns it off and does not "tinker" with it near the extent that an enthusiast would. I would hope that a knowledgeable user would have taken other steps for security and virus protection or have considered those steps.

    An enthusiast or gamer looking for more FPS should CONSIDER the option that some games may run faster in one or the other environment. Which would be best in that respect can only be determined by setting up and benchmarking their own particular system.

    Any enthusiast is aware of security issues and when streamlining their system does so at their own risk.

    Thank you all for your comments. How else are we to find answers except by asking questions.
  27. Unregistered
    Unregistered IT WOULD BE NICE TO SEE BOTH O.S. WITH SP1 AND SP2, but BOTH OF THEM OPTIMIZED, COMPARED!

    WITH ALMOST EVERY SERVICE SHUTDOWN!
    MAYBE ALSO ATI & NVIDIA comparation!

    Thanks for you article, thought

    By .:Gian-Pa.com:.
  28. Medlock
    Medlock
    Unregistered said:
    IT WOULD BE NICE TO SEE BOTH O.S. WITH SP1 AND SP2, but BOTH OF THEM OPTIMIZED, COMPARED!

    WITH ALMOST EVERY SERVICE SHUTDOWN!
    MAYBE ALSO ATI & NVIDIA comparation!

    Thanks for you article, thought

    By .:Gian-Pa.com:.
    The average user doesn't spend hours optimizing the OS for their particular system to get every last drop of performance out of it.

    The point of the article is to compare Service Pack 1 and 2, not ATi and nVidia.
  29. Medlock
    Medlock I see we have quite a few guests... Welcome to Short-Media! Register an account, make yourself at home! :wave:
  30. Dexter
    Dexter
    Unregistered Guest said:

    just because an updated and slipstreamed install do not equal ... right from the start windows behaves quite different in numerous situations ... it was the same way when SP1 was release a fresh slipstream install will top anything in real-life-performance
    But the original point of the first unregistered guest's comments was that a 2.5% speed difference might entice a gaming enthusiast user to forgo SP2, and therefore be at a higher security risk. The slipstream comments are totally irrelevant to that discussion. Slipstreaming does not make your system any more or less secure, it simply includes all the new critical updates at the same time as the service pack is installed. Whether a slipstream install was done on this article's test system or not will not make any difference to the end results of the test, assuming that the critical updates were applied after the service pack. The resulting OS will be identical if you slipstream or if you do a regular upgrade then do the updates via the Windows update site. All you are doing s making the installation process a little faster using a slipstream CD. You are not making the resulting OS any faster. Slipstreaming is only a benefit to people who re-install their OS on a regular basis, and the average user just does not do that.

    So once you wrap your head around the fact that usually only more experienced users will do slipstreaming, then you have to accept the obvious fact that these more experienced users are much more likely to have a much better security setup on their PC to begin with, so are much less likely to see any benefit from the new security features SP2 offers. It's a simple thing to see, really.
    Unregistered Guest said:

    It has been said that an expirieneced user would have a software firewall activated anyways, but would't this mean that the SP2 is at a disadvantage, since it already provides this feature by default and uses more system resources with the firewall.
    What was said was "A 3rd party software firewall or, as most users these days prefer, a hardware firewall, make the built in XPSP2 firewall pointless."

    That does not put SP2 at a disadvantage, because you would assume that an experienced user would turn off the built in firewall. They will know that it is on by default because the Windows Security centre will show up immediately after the service pack install, and will tell the user that the built in firewall is on. With 2 clicks of the mouse, the firewall is disabled.

    Just for the fun of it, I just tested my system with the Windows firewall on, then off, while watching the task manager's performance monitor. The difference was pretty negligible.

    While we welcome any guest's comments on any of our articles, we would hope that you take the time to make informed comments rather than bash articles with what appear to be uninformed random comments (case in point, the user who cited security concerns while bashing the article, then in the same post recommended disabling DEP.) Some of the later guest comments here are better thought out and better stated, but the early ones are not.

    We also encourage users to do their own benchmarking and post their scores for comparison, we have an entire forum section dedicated to benchmarking: http://www.short-media.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=39

    Dexter...
  31. Straight_Man
    Straight_Man Also, and this is weird, I got a smoother and slightly faster XP SP2 performance after:

    2 Restarts, not just one (after first restart it was visibly SLOWER than SP1, after second it was about the same visibly and I did not bother benching, simply ran 4 programs like WordPerfect, Corel Graphics Suite, and Peachtree, and Paint Shop Pro all at once, and had three of them opening large files and Peachtree Complete Accounting doing a data file backup, to see how it bogged... After second restart and a major defrag it did NOT bog, before second restart it bogged more than after second restart, and after defragging (After SECOND RESTART) it went a bit faster yet) . Then defragging the HD, given that about 250 MB (SP2 archive size rounded to nearest ten MB) of files got written if you accepted all the defaults for the SP2 install.
  32. Unregistered
  33. Unregistered
    Unregistered You did no disk marks or boot times, you did not check show processes by all user when comparing startup processes.
  34. Unregistered
    Unregistered What about benchmarks on a 1GHz to 2GHz machine like most of us have?
  35. jworm
    jworm I personnaly don't understand what all the guest users are getting all excited about. I didn't find anything wrong with MM's conclutions and I agree that he never said not to install it. He simply had a question and did some research on it and came up with his own conclutions based on what he found. Other people will find different conclutions based on their experiments cause they will probably do things a little different. Welcome to the world of Sceince!

    As for my view on SP2 -- and keep in mind that this is my OPINION so flame me all you want, you won't change my mind -- I won't be putting it on anytime soon. I feel my system runs fine without it. I think that some firewall is better than none, but I don't see what good upgrading is going to do when it's integrated with IE which we can all see is full of security holes - else why would they be making all these "critical updates". Like any software, someone is going to exploit it and any fixes they come up with. To the average user, great - download the crap out of SP2. With as may people as there are who dislike windows, you can be sure you're going to need all the help you can get to protect yourself. As for myself, I'll go for a separate piece of hardware to do the blocking for my system and do without the extra problems I might get from SP2 (at least until I absolutly have to).
  36. Unregistered
    Unregistered This is guest who wrote comment on first page about msiexec.exe and windows update exe file running...

    Mediaman, is it possible you may have made a slight mistake in assuming that there were four new processes running and that your computer was indeed installing some form of update, or software?

    You commented that you took a screenshot immediately after the system booted, which sidesteps my issue that you made a sensationalist comment.
  37. Unregistered
    Unregistered @Dexter
    im sorry it wasn't my intention to offend anyone and im not this unregistered who said MediaMan is a Kid or anything i don't do such things im just schoked and i think you belive to much in [DEP] only on the Software side it's bad the CPU has to support it to be secure, i see DEP in SP2 as useless as anything else you allready mentioned like the popup blocking thing in the ie core wich the idear was stolen from Firefox the useless Security Center the so called Firewall and many useless Services that running in the Background that you never gonna use especialy as a Gamer. But nevertheless Sp2 is not slower then Sp1 when correctly tweaked but still more secure it took some time before the last patches for Sp1 where released on this months patchday Sp2 was allready fixed by that time and belive me the russians and chinese are fast in finding security problems in Windows. And also i don't think you can be happy to be on W2S with such an Article i think it's the other way arround you should be worried. I just feared Gamers could take this serious and decide to stay with Sp1 wich wouldn't be good in time ahead circumstances as patches will still be sooner released for Sp2 then for Sp1 that's a fact and should be taken into consideration. I remember about the Blaster disaster the russians found the whole the chinese exploited it and hell was lose, me was 1 day fixed before the whole thing broke lose and i had the exploit in that time myself so now you can make your mind up what for a user i'am. And no im not a Script Kiddie under Windows im useing Kerio Winroute Firewall and as Virus Scanner Kaspersky. As you see im useing products from Russia and Croatia (Europe) i never would use Norton or Symantec Products as they weak and under US regulations. But this is to much info for the Average user the Key Point was Gamers shouldn't only fell their decissions on the Speed factor of SP2 even if it is slower then Sp1 wich it is absolutely not (correctly configured) this would make no diference and the decission should be Pro Sp2. i hope it is clear now what i wanted to say in short words "You have to be ahead of the Enemy" the same as in Games.

    Cheers and please leave MediaMan alone insulting is bad behaveiour
    sincerly yours CruNcher :)

    :i will not post here anymore just to be sure everyone who tries to impersonate me is a faked me:
  38. Geeky1
    Geeky1
    :i will not post here anymore just to be sure everyone who tries to impersonate me is a faked me:
    That's not necessary. Why not register? :)
  39. MediaMan
    MediaMan
    Unregistered said:
    Mediaman, is it possible you may have made a slight mistake in assuming that there were four new processes running and that your computer was indeed installing some form of update, or software?
    It does indeed seem odd and I don't mind your observations. That's just the way it appeared on the system after SP2 was installed and the PC was rebooted.

    To the unregistered guest 2 posts up.

    You are welcome to keep posting and please do. :) Your comments here are welcome. I have been called many other names before...some have been very colorful metaphors.

    I try to put my articles on a level of a typical user. Most users do not go to the extent of slipstreaming or streamlining (tweaking) an OS that we do. I simply installed the OS, service packs and updates and noted my observations.

    The tests could have been endless but Microsoft appears to have left me off the payroll. I had to stop somewhere. :)

    The article encourages readers to think.

    It encourages readers to examine their own system, ask questions and apply possible solutions then determine if those solutions suit their needs.

    In all of these comments about this article there is much to learn for the reader. Many faithfully believe that Symantec or Mcafee are the best and you've raised interesting comments about Kerio and Kaspersky. Users are again reminded that an OS can be adjusted to increase performance...especially for gaming. There is this not often used term DEP that some may be questioning.

    In all of this...questioning is good. Debate and discussion leads to improvement.

    Your comments are welcome here.
  40. Unregistered
    Unregistered I worked in the IT industry and we work with this sort of stuff all the time. We have done extensive tests and so forth on sp2 and I have done on my home PC which i use for games etc...1% difference here and there is nothing, even in benchmarking. In normal windows sp2 hasn't slowed down any pc's I have worked on and installed.
  41. Unregistered
    Unregistered 31684 marks in 3dmark2k3 on ath64 3800+ and 9800 pro ???? NO WAY !
    I wonder in what resolution was tested... but anyway.. 31000+ in that test seems to be a SF or a huge mistake.
  42. mmonnin
    mmonnin Uhh look again. Its not 2001 either because he never tested for it.

    Edit: I hope next time you read the whole damn article and NOT skip to the end. The 31k is adding up each test. If you read the article you would have know that.

    image
  43. Aoen
    Aoen MediaMan,
    I am curious, when you set the memory static to 1024, did you set the start point at the end of the physical memory?
  44. Unregistered
    Unregistered what a waste of time....
  45. MediaMan
    MediaMan Aoen,

    The page file was set to a min and max of 1024 and kept on C:. No other adjustment or settings were made to memory configuration. Timings are irrelevant to the article as BIOS settings were the same between both SP1 and SP2 tests.

    Thanks for your comment.


    To the unregistered guest following Aoen's comment.

    Why was it a waste of time. Many users have reported their own problems they believe are attributable to the installation of SP2. I am not saying that SP2 is not to be installed but I hope the article shows those users, though mostly by game benchmarks, that the difference in speed of SP1 vs. SP2, on average, is negligable.

    This article does not make comment to the importance of SP2.
  46. Thrax
    Thrax I am amused by the volume of armchair quarterbacks syndication summons.
  47. MediaMan
    MediaMan Thrax,

    I have yet to unleash you upon them. I cringe at the thought of someone going head to head with you. I have visions of you jumping from the top ropes and the announcer yelling "Thrax let's loose with a decompiler! Oh my god that's got to hurt."

    :D
  48. Thrax
    Thrax ;D

    We'll see what happens when my DVD2XViD article goes live. Should be interesting.
  49. Unregistered
    Unregistered An importand point that was missed is that SP2 has some security enhancements under the hood that is not "new features" such as the code review that have been done and also the buffer check that was put into place. "Old" (released pre SP2) software can thus be at odds because of this and new software can also take this into consideration. That the results give such a no difference is a clear signal for everyone, including hardcore gamers, to install SP2. Hardcore gamers are not the best at securing their systems (just go to any LAN-party that host a serious competition and you'll see). THere have already been discovered bugs in SP1 that did not affect SP2 due to the new enhancments. If that doesn't tell you anything I don't know what will.
  50. Unregistered
    Unregistered thanks for the article, never heard of this site before. But what you have stated about the 2-3% I have found true on my wifes machine. Mine however got a clean install, then up to SP2...

    Anywho, thanks for doing the work, I know it took some time. People are to eager to criticize these days...

    :)
  51. Unregistered
    Unregistered Hello all,
    another guest from Sweden (no not a site ...... ;-) ...... a country).

    I was running XP-PRO-RTM with SP1a on top of it, fully updated. When I installed SP2 on top of that, I ended up with the same processes running as before. That can be deceptive since quite a few processes hide behind one/any of the instances of svchost.exe. Bring up the cmd window, type TASKLIST /SVC and You will find all processes that are running. I didn't think of comparing before and after installing SP2 but I guess there are differences.

    My system is rather "low-end", Athlon Thunderbird 1GHz/266MHz, 512MB PC133 and I noticed that startup time was increased from 60~65 seconds to 65~70 seconds (until userinit.exe disappeared from taskmanager).

    Since then, I have installed my old XP-PRO-RTM with SP2 slipstreamed and I notice no difference but then, I have only timed startups, no benchmarking. The feel of the system with SP2 slipstreamed compared to the prior system, with two SP's on top, is the same. I recommend slipstreaming anyway since the resulting installation is much slimmer. Some 0.5 GB at least, in uninstall folders, are avoided.
  52. ArcticBirdman
    ArcticBirdman I've installed on my Thinkpad A31p(no problems) and one of my main computers(ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe) which it promptly took out both onboard NIC's. Also, not sure, but I think it also seems to load up my CPU to 100% whenever I am using external USB 2.0 devices. During your tests, did you try using external devices to see if slowdowns occurred. Unlike SP1, SP@ does uninstall very nicely, though I expect Microsoft will eventually force us to update whether we like it or not.
  53. SimGuy
    SimGuy Caught the link from the [H] yesterday. Props on a very informative article MediaMan.

    :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
  54. Straight_Man
    Straight_Man
    MediaMan said:
    Aoen,

    The page file was set to a min and max of 1024 and kept on C:. No other adjustment or settings were made to memory configuration. Timings are irrelevant to the article as BIOS settings were the same between both SP1 and SP2 tests.

    Thanks for your comment.


    To the unregistered guest following Aoen's comment.

    Why was it a waste of time. Many users have reported their own problems they believe are attributable to the installation of SP2. I am not saying that SP2 is not to be installed but I hope the article shows those users, though mostly by game benchmarks, that the difference in speed of SP1 vs. SP2, on average, is negligable.

    This article does not make comment to the importance of SP2.
    You are more likely to have slowdowns due to virals or malware present during install and before it, and non- WHQL drivers or very old drivers that XP SP2 is stricter about than SP1, than you are to have a lot of security-fix-only slowdowns. SP2 can slow things down to what it perceives as the effectiveness of the box and safest way to run the box as it stands. Using non- WHQL drivers(intended for XP, not just 2000) or older drivers and updating to SP2, since SP2 is tighter on what privs processes can have, can lead to odd issues. The most sensitive things are monitor and chipset and video adapter, then mouse an dkeyboard and USB and firewire device drivers, then scanner and optical I\O like cameras (TWIN devices), then (last) printer drivers. One of the things XP SP2 will crack down on is vxd's that are not really legal to XP SP2 standards-- in fact the install might hang if video non-WHQL drivers are present, or bog after install if they are. Fix then, can be as simple as new video drivers or chipset AGP drivers, or a complete reload with a slipstreamed SP2 install whihc some people like. But, a successful and complete SP2 install tends to be so close to SP1 in performance if you do not have lots of old software or drivers running and little to no malware or virals present(or hardware faults present also), that for some folks performance change is a non-issue.


    Take a look at the nots on Microsoft's SP2 support site areas, essentially wirtten as "thou shalts." You shall remove malware and virals before installing SP2 (if you don't, you might get to reload windows totally). You shall have, as much as possible, XP SP2 ready drivers (not many of those out yet, really, but WHQL drivers for SP1a are next-best). You shall NOT have major unsolved hardware issues, a STOP Error on first reboot after install of SP2 will bork the install big time, the registry never gets settled in to SP2 settings right. Instead, SP1 entries in registry are accessing SP2 components, after a stop error you recover from, unless you can successfully load SP2 completely AFTER or DURING (slipstream) the recovery.
  55. Unregistered
    Unregistered Hey, please bear in mind that the test rig is using AMD Athlon 64 which comes with a NX bit built into the hardware. If SP2 detected no NX function in hardware, it will emulate in software. From there, I believe it will have big difference between SP1 and SP2 will be greater. Try to re-run the benchmark on a P4 rig or AMD rig with no NX bit.
  56. Thrax
    Thrax SP2 does not emulate the NX function in software. That's misinformation.
  57. Unregistered
    Unregistered Service pack 2 has not slowed my computer down in any way. I say that SP2 is slower on weaker computers. SP2 just needs a bit more processing power that SP1.
  58. Unregistered
    Unregistered I hate SP2! Simply because of that DEP. I uninstalled it once and for all and now back to SP1. I've tried to disable DEP, editing boot ini but to know avail. It has no effect, the small module keeps poping up and asking me "Run as.." S**t!! I'm the owner of this computer! Why do that program asking me who should run a certain application. To hell with that Data Execution Prevention!
  59. Shorty
    Shorty
    Unregistered said:
    I hate SP2! Simply because of that DEP. I uninstalled it once and for all and now back to SP1. I've tried to disable DEP, editing boot ini but to know avail. It has no effect, the small module keeps poping up and asking me "Run as.." S**t!! I'm the owner of this computer! Why do that program asking me who should run a certain application. To hell with that Data Execution Prevention!
    Run as... means you do not have elevated privileges (you are not an admin on that PC).

    Check your user account to confirm you are an administrator, not a standard user.
  60. Unregistered
    Unregistered I install SP 2,thinking it was a good thing to have the added security from a firewall which seemed to work well.But I lost internal network pluss 20 GBs of data,which I was due to backup.
  61. Unregistered
    Unregistered I winder who chooses screenshots format, author or website's CMS ?
    JPEG screenshots are very messy.

    It would be cool next time to see solid PNG screenshots.
    One can make them, for example, with www.IrfanView.com
  62. Unregistered
    Unregistered Internal Windows firewall is almost not a firewall at all.
    I wonder if it has any chances to pass tests, say, one www.grc.com
  63. CyrixInstead
    CyrixInstead If Microsoft were allowed to give away a decent quality firewall free with Windows, there would be much less of a need to buy other companies Firewalls. So, they just let you have the basics, it's not that they don't know how to make decent firewall software.

    As SP2 is all about security etc etc etc it helps for Joe Average who doesn't even know what a firewall is.

    ~Cyrix
  64. Thrax
    Thrax If Microsoft were to incorporate the features that their user base demanded of them, they'd be under a johnnypile of antitrust suits. If they don't implement those demands, they get accused of having poor security. It's a pathetic double standard.
  65. MediaMan
    MediaMan
    Unregistered said:
    I winder who chooses screenshots format, author or website's CMS ?
    JPEG screenshots are very messy.

    It would be cool next time to see solid PNG screenshots.
    One can make them, for example, with www.IrfanView.com

    There are several contributing factors to this. What can contribute to the lack of clarity with screen shots is the overall size. Often these are images 800-1000 pixels wide that have been reduced to a standard 455 pixels wide. I've attached two such examples. One is in JPEG format and the other in PNG format. Neither is superior when an image has bee reduced in dimension.

    Although the PNG image has a file size 2.5 times larger than the JPEG shot.

    We aim to avoid what some other sites have done and that is to present very small thumbnails that must be clicked to be enlarged.

    This is done for several reasons. Personally I prefer an article that loads without the requirement to click on an image to see a larger, higher resolution image. This is balanced against the overall file size of the page. In order to have a page load quickly then the images must be small in file size.

    10 images in JPEG format that are 15 Kb each for 150 kb page load versus 1/2 a meg using PNG.

    Also...with so many users loading a page the bandwidth consumption can very quickly become expensive thus we try to stay "fuel efficient" with image file sizes.

    Your point is well noted and I'll try to make a habit of showing a larger screen shot then a secondary of the specfic area being refered to. Two 15 kb pictures will be better than one image 60 or 70 kb or that a user has to click to enlarge.

    I'm not here to debate the merits or downfalls of GIF, JPEG or PNG or the optimisations of any of the aforementioned. It shall be noted and you can depend on the fact that future articles will take steps to ensure that you see the big picture then get a secondary image that zero in on any specifics necessary to the article.

    Thank you for your comment. :)
  66. Unregistered
    Unregistered I installed XP sp2 (slipstream) on my P4 3ghz 800mhz FSB with 1gig of ram ddr 400 and a ati radeon 9000 128mb, on a fresh install it can barely run need for speed underground 2 smoothly in 640x480 with minimum effects. My friend run the same game with the same video card on is laptop less performan than my pc and it's smooth with graphics effects at medium in 1024x768. And my girlfriend's sims 2 freeze my computer every 10 minutes. Conclusion: no need for benchmark here, service pack 2 S*CKS real bad.
  67. Thrax
    Thrax Your conclusion is absolutely terrible. Just because SP2 exists on your computer doesn't mean that it's SP2's fault. What order did you install your drivers in? What updates did you pick for Windows? What drivers did you install? How did you configure your graphics card? What are your BIOS settings?

    Granted, the Radeon 9000 isn't exactly a powerhouse of a video card. Don't be so quick to point the finger.
  68. workmany2k
    workmany2k here is something i noticed. With service pack 1 i could go do a bandwidth test and test at a 7 meg clip and download at awesome speeds. Before service pack 2 came out. On service pack 1 when you went to search for updates, An update for Network Adapters in general was available, It was some kind of software i cant remeber right off hand but once i downloaded it. I noticed my internet got slow, and i do mean alot slower, i would clock in at around 2 meg on a bandwidth test and downloads slowed 100-200 k slower. I uninstalled the software patch and all of a sudden i am back at flying speeds. Now when service back 2 came out it automaticaly had that patch in it and i again noticed slowing down on the internet. i took off service pack 2 and installed just the updates i pick with service pack 1 and i dont have a problem with viruses or spyware.
    Why would microsoft force you to take a known patch that slows you down on the internet? especially in something like a service pack which you may need?
  69. Shadow2018
    Shadow2018 How do you know you don't have viruses and spyware? I have sp2 and my computer runs just the same. The loss, as MediaMan pointed out, is so minimal the average user can't tell. More times than not it will be user error in the setup process and not sp2 as some are claiming, this was pointed out by Dexter( or something very close to that).
  70. workmany2k
    workmany2k you must have misunderstood my position on service pack 2 my main complaint is the NIC software update that slows down your pc on the internet, i was hoping someone else has experienced noticing a difference once that NIC software was downloaded on their pc when service pack 1 was out. It is included without anyone knowing in service pack 2. Viruses and spyware are protected enough with service pack 1 that you dont need service pack 2 as ;long as you get all the critical updates. Now again my only concern is why would microsoft put out a network software patch that slows you down? It sounds like they want to keep people at a slower speed, and my question is why? Service pack 2 will defeniatley slow a pc down, take for instance a pentium 3 700 mhz pc running only 128mb ram, install service pack 1 and it still seems to run ok but with service pack 2 you will see a major decrease. Now if you put service pack 2 on lets say a 3 ghz pc no you wont see a big change, so its really the speed of the pc that helps out on wether or not you see a difference in service pack 1 or service pack 2.. My only gripe is the software patch on NIC's

Howdy, ! Got something to say?