The computer geeks over at PC World run a few benchmarks on the consumer preview for Windows 8, comparing it to Windows 7. The findings indicate that Windows 8 offers improved performance on almost every test. PC World reports that the consumer preview of Windows 8 was generally faster, and often much faster, than Windows 7.
PC World used a test machine running an Intel Core i5-2500K at 3.3 GHz, 8 GB of RAM, 1 TB hard drive, and an NVIDIA GTX 560 Ti video card. The same machine had previously been subjected to an identical battery of tests running Windows 7. The machine was benchmark using WorldBench 7 tests. WorldBench results showed that Windows 8 was 14% faster than Windows 7. The publication reports that a difference of 5% or more on WorldBench is noticeable performance wise, so 14% is significantly faster.
Using the same computer benchmark and PC, Windows 7 scored 100 while the system running Windows 8 scored 114. Start up time for the Windows 8 machine was 36.8 seconds compared to 56.2 seconds for the same system running Windows 7.
Web performance for the Windows 8 machine using WebVizBench gives a score of 28.6 frames per second compared to 18.9 frames per second for a Windows 7 machine. Interestingly, when running Windows 7 the test machine was faster for content creation compared to running Windows 8. The difference was slight though and new drivers for Windows 8 machines can significantly improve performance.
It's also worth noting that Futuremark is working on updating the PCMark benchmark suite for Windows 8. The office productivity tests were performed using PC Mark from Futuremark and an upgrade to the software for Windows 8 could mean significantly improved performance. As it stands now Windows 7 was quicker in both content creation and office productivity on PCMark. In Office productivity the Windows 7 system scored 2280 compared to the 2099 of the Windows 8 system.
Windows 8 could be significantly faster than Windows 7 on the same computer once drivers and benchmarks are optimized. That, however, isn't likely to happen until Windows 8 launches or is close to launch.