Now that Windows XP Release Candidate 1 is available and we’ve had a chance to kick the tires a bit, we’re ready to update the results for our “XP Transition” story. As no doubt many of you suspected, RC1 is indeed faster than Beta 2. However, the performance improvement, as measured by our business productivity-centric test scenarios (see original article for details), is not overwhelming and in no way invalidates our original conclusion: That IT organizations need to budget for additional client PC processing power in order to compensate for the increased demands of Windows XP/Office XP.

What has changed is the amount of processing power you’ll need to achieve comparable performance. With Beta 2, we saw a 30-37% performance delta when comparing our Pentium 4 Windows XP/Office XP test bed vs. the same system running Windows 2000/Office 2000. Under RC1, this delta stabilizes at a still daunting 25-27%.

For more background we strongly suggest that you take a look at our original XP Transition story.  This time around we took a more comprehensive look at performance under Windows XP, testing across multiple CPU speeds and various OS configurations.

The Test

Windows NT4 / 2000 / XP Test System


CPU(s) Intel Pentium 4 1.5GHz Intel Pentium III 933MHz
Intel Pentium III 533MHz
Motherboard(s) Intel D850GB (BIOS Revision 86A.0058.P12) Intel 815DEA

256MB PC800 Samsung RDRAM
256MB PC133 SDRAM (CAS2)

Hard Drive

Maxtor 51536U3 (Ultra ATA/66 - 7200RPM)
Intel ATA Drivers Version 6.1



Video Card(s)

ATI Radeon DDR 64MB


Intel Pro 100+ Management Adapter (Driver v5.41)


Operating System

Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Service Pack 6.0a
Windows 2000 Professional Service Pack 2
Windows XP Professional RC1

Video Drivers

Windows 2000/XP (ATI Beta 5.13.3205)
Windows NT 4 (4.3.3132)

Benchmarking Applications

CSA Research OfficeBench 2001
Performance in an Optimized Configuration
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