Windows 7 vs Windows 8 RTM: Gaming Performance

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

I only tested a handful of games but the results are clear. Windows 8 is not as fast as Windows 7 when it comes to games, yet. There is still room for improvement through drivers, game updates and Windows updates.

First time I tried Windows 8 (Consumer Preview) I wasn’t able to run any Games for Windows Live (GFWL) titles and now they all at least start. There is only one game I wished to test that didn’t work at all and that was Max Payne 3. All the other games started just fine but in a few cases some fiddling was necessary. For instance, Sleeping Dogs didn’t start before running it in Win 98 Compatibility Mode.

Another issue I had was the Screen Refresh Rate wasn’t detected correctly. When changing the resolution to 1080p, DiRT Showdown and F1 2012 detected the Screen Refresh Rate at 59hz, Battlefield 3 reported 59.9hz and that’s the most probable cause for the mouse input lag I had in BF3. Using the default Monitor driver or the ones from the manufacturer made no difference, also changing the Catalyst driver had no impact on the matter. Had the same problem back in Consumer Preview with Crysis 2 but Battlefield 3 worked OK back then.

Is Windows 8 ready to run all your games on release ?

Probably not, games like Max Payne 3 and L.A. Noire won’t even start. Some need to be ran in compatibility mode. Some won’t even detect the correct Refresh Rate. And most of them will under perform in comparison to Windows 7. While just a few will perform the same or better under Windows 8.

Things will definitely change in the future, just before making the tests I had to install a 300 MB “Security” Update from Windows Update, though, highly unlikely, I’m not entirely sure that this and previous Windows updates hadn’t have anything to do with the Screen Refresh Rate issues I mentioned earlier.

As a last “thing”, I’ve read a few articles “out there” that pretty much praise Windows 8 and how big of an improvement it is over Windows 7. Let me remind you how huge Microsoft’s Marketing Department is in order to bury OpenGL and all it stood for, you can read up on that all over the Internet.

Windows 7 vs Windows 8 RTM: Gaming Performance - Totals

Note: Results may vary with each system. You should not make an opinion about Windows 8 solely on this article.

Page 2 – Windows 7 vs Windows 8 Results

  • Evgeny Tumanov

    se7en rulezzz)))

  • DOS

    “Windows 8 is not as fast as Windows 8 when it comes to games”

    • Johnny 3D

      Well, you get the point, stuff like this happens…

  • Alienscavenger

    Hey, why not make a poll about “Do you want to upgrade into Windows 8 ?”

    • Johnny 3D

      Thanks for the tip !

  • Tsvetan

    Huge disappointment.Its like the new Vista.

    • Donald Costabile

      No, it’s actually *not*.

      But you wouldn’t know that, because you haven’t actually tried it; you simply jumped on the “LMAOROFLERZ – THIS SUXXXORZ!” bandwagon.


      • debo

        Dude, either you work for Microsoft, or you need to growup. Or perhaps both…..

  • ReFu

    I agree with Tsvetan, Windows 8 is A BUST! I dont see why anyone would upgrade to such a crappy OS, I know I wont. I’ll stick to good ol Win 7 untill Win 9 comes out. Why they had to change the whole look and the feel of Win 7 is beyond me. U’d think they would try to improve upon on Win 7 not totally abandon all the great features of it. Instead they put in some stupid A$$ features that suck DONKEY NOODLES and that no one will ever use. Instead of simplifying stuff, they manage to complicate stuff beyond reason. Might as well be called VISTA 8 (2012) repack LMAO!

    • Donald Costabile

      And you, sir, are a fool. *sigh*


    • debo

      I have to agree with you; I made the jump to win7 from Vista because there were many compelling reasons to do so. I don’t see a single thing that win8 does better than win7, to merit an upgrade. It’s new and surely “different”. But that UI is a change that benefits a tablet, not a desktop OS where there is the use of mouse and keyboard.

      Another Brick by Microsoft.

  • Adi Adó

    I’m using final version of windows 8 and i have to clear some states . (here is a pic:

    On the FINAL version:
    – i’m having both LA Noire and Max Payne 3. Both run well in Win8.
    – I didn’t find any game or software that need to be in Compatibility Mode to run.
    – Never found in any game that refresh problem. I ran BF3 and still no problem. It detects the correct refresh rate.

    I know that you ran RTM but i can say that in the final win8 everything goes well.

    • Johnny 3D

      As I said in the article, Max Payne 3 doesn’t start for me and I’ve tried everything I could find on the Internet even though I’ve read of people running it “out of the box” in Win 8.

      The refresh problem wasn’t there in Consumer Preview with BF3, now, with the RTM build + updates some games have issues detecting it properly. In most cases that isn’t a problem but in BF3 it causes input lag, for whatever reason.

      Basically, RTM = Final Version, but straight after installing Win 8 you’ll have to install almost half a GB worth of Windows Updates, which I have.

      • kn00tcn

        hmm max payne 3 & lanoire use the same gameshield protection, maybe retail vs steam vs cracked all act differently

        i also had a guy that said he had massive audio stuttering in lanoire (in the past, win7)

        • Johnny 3D

          Retail version here, if one version works so should the other (retail vs steam). In the first few weeks from the game’s launch there were some issues with incorrect OS detection and CTDs on startup but those were fixed, at least on Windows 7.

          A Rockstar official said some time ago that MP3 doesn’t support Windows 8. I got MP3 3-4 months after its release. In the CAP article I used a friend’s Steam account to test it so I didn’t get a chance to see if it worked on Dev or Consumer Preview. It would be interesting to see if my issue is present only in the RTM, like the Refresh Rate and compatibility problems I mentioned. That would make finding the culprit easier. I’m thinking that the MB related drivers might have something to do with it but that’s just a guess.

    • Donald Costabile

      Haven’t had any problems with Max Payne (outside of the *game’s* known issues) since the initial release candidate version of Win8 up to, and including now (Win8 RTM).

  • n4tive

    Very informative, thank you.

  • Jonhson

    windows 8 is bad….is the next vista… windows 7 is the star of windows xp

    • Donald Costabile

      Shut. Up.

  • RMK_99
    • Johnny 3D

      Look, I’m not saying that Windows 8 is pure cr*p when it comes to games (drivers are still long way away from “perfection”) these are just the results I got on my machine, take them as they are.

      Those videos have absolutely no value, take the 2nd one, the guy “tests” BF3 in two totally different scenarios…those results are null. The first one is just a guy playing games in Windows 8 and just talking about it, again, no real value. Look at the description of the 3rd video: “What did i notice? I notice a huge performance boost in games” and he shows gameplay of Crysis 2 (which may or may not be in Windows 8) and gives no data. Those videos (like most w7 vs w8 youtube videos) have no real value.

      I’m sure that their intentions were good but that’s just no the way of getting to a clear and valid conclusion…

      • Mike Kozdron

        these are similar to my test results, using 3dmark 11 and 3dmark vantage, also in game performance is less on most of the games i have run between the two.

      • kn00tcn

        another thing people need to focus on, nv & ati are different, the crysis one was an nv user so results from him certainly cant be expected to automatically mirror

        youtube users… lulz

        we’ll have hardocp etc post results soon enough, & i remember seeing awful lost planet numbers when vista came out, it’s fine now of course

        • Johnny 3D

          I recently saw a youtube W7 vs W8 and the Shogun 2 avg results improved with 20 FPS on Windows 8. To say the least, that’s just hard to believe…

  • Johnny 3D

    I really don’t mind, actually I should thank you, so…thank you :)

  • Donald Costabile

    For clarification, my rig:

    Sager 8170 laptop

    Core i7 2630qm

    2x4GBs GSkill PC16000

    ATI HD6970m

    Seagate Momentus XT 750GB

    What, sir, are you talking about, “…most games won’t run; Max Payne 3 and L.A. Noire won’t even start”?

    I have been running Windows 8 since the first release candidate in February, and, aside from minor driver teething problems, have had NO such major problems running any of the above-mentioned (or ANY, for that matter) games on my rig.

    Any and all drivers I’ve used, I’ve procured from *your* website (thank you for all your hard work).

    I have currently installed (in no particular order):

    World of Warcraft


    XCOM: Enemy Unknown

    Borderlands 2

    Battlefield 2

    Max Payne 3

    Starcraft 2

    Rainbow Six: Vegas 2

    Flatout: Ultimate Carnage

    System Shock 2

    Thief 2


    I’m currently enjoying ALL of these games, and they all run perfectly fine, within the limits of my GPU/hardware. I haven’t run any hard and fast tests (as you clearly have), but neither have I suffered ANY of the bugs/difficulties you claim.


    • Johnny 3D

      Either quote what I say or just abstain from commenting.There’s a huge difference between “most” and “some” and I gave specifics. I never said “most games won’t start”. Max Payne 3 didn’t start on my machine using Windows 8.

      One can say whatever it wants about Windows 8 but no one can disprove the fact that it targets mobile devices and the Metro UI reduces productivity on a Desktop PC.

      It’s obvious that each machine will produce different results, arguing on this is pointless. Take the results as they are, not universally true….

      • Donald Costabile

        Ah! Apologies for the mis-quote! D:

        I’m just tired of seeing Windows 8-bashing articles, and (though yours wasn’t *necessarily* that) I rushed a bit through my reply.

        Although, regarding Metro UI: I see it for maybe 5 seconds, between logging in and getting to my (Windows 95-to-7 like) desktop; for all the advancements under the hood (USB transfer, SATA transfer, multi-core addressing), I can deal with the Start Screen for 5 seconds.

        Apologies, again, for the inaccurate quote.

        • Johnny 3D

          Thanks for clarifying. But how do you go about quickly accessing your apps without the new UI? Without stacking tons of shortcuts on the Desktop. The Start Menu is the main accessibility function since 95 and with Vista it became more useful with the integrated Search function.

          With Win 8 instead of using the keyboard to access my apps I need to click countless times in a very unintuitive and unfriendly mouse environment…but that’s just me, though I’ve seen many others have the same complaints.

          • Twoguns McMurphy

            I have to agree with Donald completely after using it as my main OS at home and at work since day 1 of RTM. I find it actually much faster to navigate now despite having the same fears about productivity as everyone else. I’ve customised my start page enough but not a huge amount – just enough for common tools to be right there and handy. For everything else i press the windows key and just type the first character or two of what I need. The quick-access navigation to admin tools by right clicking where the start button was also makes many common tasks quicker to get to. I could go on but that’d be silly – needless to say I’m just getting on well now despite me believing along with everyone else the new UI (full screen start menu) would get in the way.. As for gaming bugs thankfully I’ve yet to hit any – really pleased with driver support so far – dozens of times better than Vista’s launch for example – though I am running current gen hardware this time around at home at least.

          • Austin Jack Casey Schoonover

            It’s so hard to open apps….
            Watch me open and minimize my Media center app twice in less that six seconds.

    • teeworm

      how did you install the max payne 3…. was working perfectly well on my window 7 on my dell xps 14z till i upgraded to windows 8

  • Wahid

    Windows 8 is an horrible OS to be avoided…

  • bsbs

    Stop using relative bars and column for benchmarks!!!!!!!!!

    • Johnny 3D

      All results are relative to the Y axis (in the case of columns) and not to each other. If the Y axis starts from “absolute” 0 I don’t get your point. Be more explicit, I do have understanding of absolute and relative concepts but I don’t see the logic behind your comment…

  • Gintoki

    Hi, I’m a fan of the site coz the benchmarks are for the gamers and the rig you use use isn’t very high end. Unlike other review sites that uses six-core i7 3960X CPU’s and OC’ing them to ridiculous frequency or a GTX 690, Like HELL everyone can afford that S***. But I’ve noticed recently that you don’t benchmark games as often as you did in the past. What gives ?

    • Johnny 3D

      The main reason is that I can’t afford the game on day 1, I usually get them later on and use them in driver benchmarks or various other articles.

  • Vini

    I want to see Win8 benchs with Radeon HD7000 cards, they are the only cards that support DX11.1 and are fully optimized for Win8

  • vini

    Hey, i’m playing Max payne3 and L.A. Noire in Windows8 just now!

  • John

    Windows 8 = Windows Vista

  • Niall

    I still remember when the Windows 7 RTM was released. I was running Vista 64 (then moved to XP 64 coz it was rubbish). Windows 7 Ultimate 64 RTM was significantly quicker than Vista 64. So to anyone calling Windows 8 the next Vista, just remember that Vista isn’t as bad.

  • debo

    Clearly another “review” that shows win8 gaming performance as decent, out of box.

    But the usability of Windows 8, it’s counterproductive Metro interface, makes this OS a brick. Win8 feels like a smartphone OS ported to a PC. It seems to go out of it’s way to feel more like a tablet or smartphone, but never a pc OS. Where application navigation and launching was simple, now it’s ugly and cumbersome, forcing you to pan via apps or app groups a flat, linear fashion.

    And the final straw for me is Microsoft’s bullish method of forcing win8 adoption via the abandonment of anymore servicepacks for win7 (the best MS desktop OS ever). If Win8 was half of what the fanboys argue it to be, MS would not feel so compelled to put a dagger in the heart of Win7.


    • Thomas Maher

      i love both windows 7 and windows 8 they both do awesome for gaming but in the end its all about a user expeirence some may like it some may not but why idd they stop supporting windows 7 with service packs all it needed was a kernal fix with service pack 2 and it would be unstapible with the best os out there :) lol

  • HS

    for short stone age DX9 games performs better on Win7

  • Steven Easterly

    AS with any new O.S. the software is new and the driver coders are still in a state of learning the new operating environment. As is microsoft learning what new issues will be occuring now that win 8 has hit the mass consumer population and all of the different hardware configurations. As I have learned until WIn 8 hits at leasts its first service pack it is still somewhat under construction as are any drivers it uses. Windows Seven is “as of now” a well built stable operating environment that will give gamers the best performance and reliability. If windows 8 becomes more matured in terms of controlling software then it will be possible for it to outperform windows 7. I for one feel windows 8 has become a broad scoped mass user (all in one) tablet, desktop, netbook mesh work that will be far from the gaming platform that seven is for some time. I will use Windows SEVEN for some time why. I use android tablets and phones for touch screen use. I want my Desktop to be a stable work and gaming powerhouse not an all in one touch screen tablet PC so from experience 7 will be my choice for some time. Good Article Johnny.

  • aaa

    nice fake idiots

  • FatAmerica

    hey dumbasses you should start testing ping on the graphics card itself none of this colum shit matters anymore you know why? cause every benchmark is different its not the same on every machine and not to mention AMD also has they’re drivers optimizes for 3dmark 11 on windows 8 now. lets see the benchmark on a 7000 series. peace

  • VanceCrafter

    Just like Johnny said, “It’s obvious that each machine will produce different results, arguing
    on this is pointless. Take the results as they are, not universally
    true….” – Johnny 3D Windows 8 on my PC occupies 756 MB of my RAM and it’s fully updated, while Windows 7 fully updated took me a whooping 3720 MB of my RAM I could hardly play with Windows 7 on my 4 GB computer without running into problems.

    I got myself more RAM, but THIS is exactly my point. Why in the hell do I have to go to a computer store and invest even more than I did to get MORE ram. Why in the hell I can’t just install and play? From Windows Vista+ I go install a game and leave my PC and come back to find out UAC had stopped the install progress to ask my permission to install or not when I clearly the instalation was running when I left. Then I have to go hold hands with my windows OS everything the installer is doing I have to allow it through UAC, then after the installation I try run the game… immediately some error about the icon, I click continue anyway. Then another error, it wont run. I look around forums it says it needs Physx, I install that and then another error, I find out it needs C++ redist I get that, another error .Net Framework, then another error I look around needs compatibility mode 256b color, then another error must run the game with a parameter. When the game finaly runs and after 10 additional UAC questions it wont connect… remember error after error I have to search around on the forums. Have to go to properties and “Unblock” it and add it to firewall exceptions. The game is now running and I get connected online but now it has latency issues. With Vista and later I just cant stop having issues with my different games.

    When I had Windows XP SP1 all I had to do was install and run, there was never any fine print, never any tweaks, no fiddling, no compatibility mode, no frameworks to get, no redist, no buying more RAM it was simply install and run!! Install and RUN. I have owned all versions of Windows since 95, you can’t say I haven’t “tried” before I talked. Now you guys might see me as an XP fanboy but as of 2 weeks ago my computer died because of Windows 8’s ever so popular “Operating System Not Found” problem, it is NOW that I decided to revert to XP and before that I been using Windows 8 for months because it used less resources than 7.

    Microsoft should have taken a hint from the latest survey 46% of Microsoft windows users still use XP as of September 16th. I do take note we all have different machines, but on mine I can’t run my Borderlands 2 on Windows 8, hell I went too far with such an advanced game perhaps I should have mentioned firstly I can’t run Minecraft or Tibia properly. I have a diversity of games, from new hotness to old busted hotness but they all work on Windows XP and most of them on Windows 7.

  • Bilif Khanal

    I dont really care about what all the people think but in my opinion windows 8 has a lower fps in games than windows 7