Today we're taking a look at Windows 11's performance compared to Windows 10 with AMD Ryzen processors. We recently did the same with Intel's 10th and 11th generation Core CPUs, but refrained from testing AMD parts due to the known performance issue with L3 cache latency.
While we were working on this piece, Microsoft and AMD released the fix, which consisted of a Windows 11 update along with a new chipset driver. Many of you have been waiting to see more performance around Ryzen CPUs, so we're using the Ryzen 5 3600 and Ryzen 9 5950X here.
Both CPUs were tested on the Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero motherboard with BIOS version 3801. For the memory we used a Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3200 CL16 kit and an MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio graphics card. On the storage front, we used TeamGroup's 8TB MP34Q NVMe SSDs, which are very fast, and we'll be including some SSD results towards the end of the article.
There are a total of 5 test configurations, three with the 5950X and two with the 3600. The Ryzen 5 3600 compares the performance of Windows 10 with Windows 11 with L3 cache latency fix. Then we use the 5950X to compare Windows 10 with two Windows 11 configurations, one with the L3 fix and one without.
We'll look at application, game, memory, and load time performance. All results are based on an average of 3 passes and in some cases we shut down the entire system between passes to avoid caching. Now let's get to the graphics …
Based on AIDA64 cache and storage results, we don't really see any difference between the various configurations when we compare DRAM latency, L1 cache latency, and L2 cache latency. However, here you can see how bad the L3 latency was before the fix, as the 5950X's L3 latency has been moved to 36ns which is about 3x higher than it should be.
Fortunately, AMD and Microsoft have now addressed this issue and so Windows 10 and Windows 11 should be comparable in this regard.
If we move on to Cinebench, we find some pretty boring results, if not entirely unexpected. Basically it doesn't matter which version of Windows you are using, performance will be pretty much the same and it was before the L3 cache latency fix.
The same applies to the Blender Open Data benchmark, especially if you look at the Ryzen 9 5950X, which has a performance deviation of less than 1%. The R5 3600 was similar too, although we see a 3% improvement with Windows 11, which is pretty insignificant in my opinion.
Moving on to the 7-Zip results, for the decompression work we find that there is little difference between the two operating systems. The compression results are interesting, however, as the Ryzen 9 5950X suffered a 7% performance loss due to the L3 bug, which of course has now been fixed and with the fix Windows 11 and 10 are the same.
Tests with Adobe Photoshop 2021 show a 5% increase in performance for the R5 3600 under Windows 11, which was interesting, especially since there was no performance improvement on the 5950X.
Then we see a 2% improvement in Adobe After Effects 2021 with Windows 11 for both CPU configurations, while the L3 bug reduced performance by 4%, so not much of an impact, although it was consistently slower in our tests.
The last application benchmark we ran was Adobe Premiere Pro 2021, and this time the Ryzen 5 3600 delivered practically identical results with both operating systems, while the 5950X performed 4% better with Windows 10.
On to some gaming benchmarks. F1 2021 saw the same performance in all tested configurations with the 5950X, even the L3 cache bug did not cause any performance degradation. The R5 3600 was an average of 3% faster on Windows 11, but that's a negligible difference.
These results are really interesting now …
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege was repeatedly faster when using Windows 11 with either processor, although it was more pronounced with Zen 3, now offering 5% more performance consistently.
We saw a smaller improvement of 3% in the R5 3600, but here too, Windows 11 was consistently faster by a small margin.
The Ryzen 9 5950X also proved to be faster under Windows 11 and increased the performance again by 5%. The R5 3600 was faster with the newer operating system too, although the margin here was only 2%.
Cyberpunk 2077's results are similar to Rainbow Six Siege and Watch Dogs Legion. Windows 11 offers a performance increase of 5% with the 5950X and a smaller performance increase of 2% with the R5 3600.
When it comes to game loading times – or rather loading times – as we found with Intel CPUs, Windows 11 doesn't do anything to reduce them.
Regardless of the version used, the Ryzen 5 3600 took 11 seconds to load Windows. The 5950X was a bit faster with Windows 10 and took 10 seconds to get to the desktop via the boot selection menu in the BIOS. In the meantime, Windows 11 took 12 seconds as it seemed to take longer to pass through the loading screen. These results are consistent with what we found when testing with the Intel CPUs.
Finally, we have CrystalDiskMark memory results, and when it comes to sequential throughput, Windows 11 doesn't offer any performance advantage over Windows 10. However, as we found when testing the Intel CPUs, Windows 11 appears to improve random read and write performance significantly.
With the 5950X, we expect an increase in write performance of almost 70% and an increase in read throughput of over 20%. Again, this is in line with what we saw earlier when testing Intel Core processors.
Big gains were also made using the Ryzen 5 3600, as write performance increased by 44% and read performance increased by 30%. I wasn't convinced that the gains made when testing the Intel CPUs were correct, but after seeing the same thing on a completely different platform with different installations of both operating systems, I am now convinced that this data is correct.
What we learned
These results were just a little more interesting than what we found when testing the 10th and 11th generation Intel Core processors, which for the most part showed no performance difference between Windows 11 and 10 for applications and games.
Same goes for Ryzen, especially when it comes to application performance. In gaming, it can vary from zero delta as in F1 2021 to a small increase of ~ 2-5% with Windows 11. The Ryzen 9 5950X was often ~ 5% faster with the newer operating system, and while that's a trivial difference for gamers, it's less trivial for product reviews.
We had originally planned to take the practical route for our upcoming Intel Alder Lake CPU tests, namely to reuse the Windows 10 data that we had already collected for Ryzen and Intel processors. After all, we have limited time to prepare this content, and the thought of cramming the 12th Gen Core test along with all the other CPUs into a week wasn't fun.
But since Windows 11 consistently delivered better gaming performance for Ryzen, even if it was only in the 2% to 5% range in the games we tested, the more we grappled with the dilemma of what to do, and the clearer it became it. that we'd better discard any existing data and start over.
So in a few days you can look forward to something … all of our Alder Lake content and CPUs are tested on the latest version of Windows 11 with all updates applied and VBS disabled. All motherboard BIOSes are also updated to the latest versions and we have switched from the RTX 2080 Ti for application tests and the RTX 3090 for gaming benchmarks to the Radeon RX 6900 XT, which was used exclusively for all tests.
There's still plenty of benchmarking to do before you see our first Alder Lake CPU review, and an avalanche of content will follow. Stay tuned.