Windows 10 vs Windows 8.1 Gaming Benchmark Comparison: Which OS Grants Better Performance?

By Giuseppe Nelva

July 30, 2015

With every new iteration of Windows, many always wonder how the new version stacks in comparison with the old for gaming. In order to know, we tested Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 it with both popular graphics benchmarks and benchmarks included in a few games, in order to give us a spectrum of different situations and see which operating system provides the best performance.

The benchmarks were tested on a recently built system, the same for both operating systems, in the same condition (Windows 10 was updated over Windows 8.1, so even the hard disk drive load is basically the same). Here’s our test hardware:

Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4790K CPU @ 4.00GHz
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
RAM: 32 GB

Keep in mind that since there aren’t games supporting DirectX 12 at the moment, the test was done in DirectX 11 applications, which is pretty much the point, as we know that DirectX 12 games are supposed to perform much better with Windows 10.

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

Windows 8

Windows 10

On the benchmark of the popular Final Fantasy MMORPG, Windows 10 gained over 100 points. It may not be an enormous difference, considering the total score of almost 11,000, but an improvement is an improvement. Interestingly, average loading times also improved by a couple seconds.

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Batman: Arkham Knight

Windows 8

Windows 10

Batman: Arkham Knight‘s benchmarking tool also showcased a gain in frame rate with Windows 10: Minimum FPS increased by 1, while both maximum and average FPS increased by 3.

Total War: Attila

Windows 8

Windows 10

Total War: Attila is interesting, as it displays an extremely large number of small animated units on the screen. We also get a handy graph. Average FPS increased by 2 with Windows 10, Maximum FPS by 5, and minimum FPS by 2. The frame rate is also visibly more stable on Windows 10, even if there’s a single scene at about 13 seconds where frame rate drops sharply lower than on Windows 8.

By the way, a small public service announcement. If you upgrade your operating system by keeping your data, you will need to verify the game cache on Steam for Total War: Attila and a few other games, or they won’t run.

3D Mark Firestrike

Windows 8

Windows 10

Windows 10 allowed us to gain 70 points in the popular benchmark by Futuremark. Interestingly, it outperformed by a little bit Windows 8 in graphics and combined tests, but it actually slightly underperformed its predecessor in the physics benchmark.

Unigine Valley

Windows 8

Windows 10

The newest benchmark by Unigine, Valley, isn’t only beautiful, but it’s designed to test the graphics card quite brutally. Interestingly, both minimum and maximum FPS were infinitesimally lower (0.2 and 0.1) in Windows 10, but average FPS and overall score were slightly higher (by 0.6 FPS and 22 points), showing a slightly more stable overall performance.

While the true test of Windows 10 will come when DirectX 12 games will start becoming widespread, if you’re worried about the new operating system negatively impacting your gaming experience, we can say that at least on our test machine not only this did not happen, but performance was improved across the board.

While it isn’t an enormous improvement, any gain is a good gain, and combined with how snappy the OS is and with the great features of the Xbox App (that aren’t limited to Xbox One users, as the Game DVR feature is very good even if you’ll never touch a console in your life), I’d definitely advise to do the upgrade. After all, it’s free.

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Giuseppe Nelva

Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.

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