After we have all of the previously introduced 12th Gen Intel Core CPUs.
We briefly covered the performance of Windows 10 vs. Windows 11 in our Core i9-12900K review, but this time we dig deeper into the tests to draw more solid conclusions. Additionally, it is important to include VBS results as some systems are configured this way and it is assumed that Intel performed all benchmarking with VBS enabled. Perhaps it doesn't affect newer architecture as much as it did older generations.
VBS is an enterprise-class feature designed to protect corporate PCs by creating an isolated and secure storage area from the normal operating system. Windows can use this "virtual safe mode" to host a number of security solutions that give them significantly increased protection against vulnerabilities in the operating system and prevent the use of malicious exploits that attempt to bypass the protection.
We don't think VBS is a security feature that PC gamers need to enable, but how secure your system should be is up to you and your system can do more than just play games. If the performance hit is only a few percent, it's probably worth it, but that was 10th with the processors.
It's also worth noting that for most enthusiast-built systems, i. H. Custom-built PCs that use Asus, MSI, Gigabyte or Asrock motherboards, VBS is not enabled by default. For this reason, it makes the most sense to test Windows 11 with VBS disabled, as that will be the situation for the majority of our audience, but we are of course also interested in how Alder Lake fares with the feature enabled.
We also think that if you're building a new PC from scratch or just upgrading your motherboard and CPU, reinstalling Windows 11 is the ideal way to go. Because of this, we've spent two weeks updating all of our CPU data on the newer platform.
We know there is a lot of discussion going on about how well Windows 11 works, which can usually be expected when a new Microsoft operating system is released, but we haven't had bad experiences after multiple installations on numerous test systems. The upgrade process from Windows 10 to 11 is an improvement over previous generations, but not yet perfect and can degrade performance. We therefore recommend a new installation if possible.
For this 12th generation test, we'll stick with DDR4 memory by using the MSI Z690 Tomahawk Wi-Fi DDR4. We have also added the Ryzen 7 5800X Windows 11 results for reference only. All application and game data was collected using a Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics card.
Now let's get to the results …
Based on the Cinebench R23 multi-core results, we see that the difference between Windows 10 and Windows 11 is absent, as both operating systems are able to maximize the performance of Intel's newest Core i7 processor. However, you will see a performance drop of around 5% with VBS enabled, which is not a huge difference, but it is worth being aware of.
We see the same thing with the single-core performance, Windows 10 and 11 are pretty much the same here, but activating VBS under Windows 11 reduced the performance by 5%.
The compression performance of the 7-Zip file manager is again similar between Windows 10 and Windows 11, with both operating systems running with VBS disabled. However, activating VBS reduces the performance of Windows 11 with the 12700KF by 10%.
VBS wasn't as detrimental to performance during decompression work, but we still see a 7% reduction. Other than that, Windows 10 and 11 were pretty much the same.
We see something similar in the Corona benchmark, although Windows 11 without activated VBS delivered the best result overall and exceeded Windows 10 by 5%. This time activating VBS reduced the performance by 8%, which is upwards and noticeable.
Interestingly, the Adobe Premiere Pro 2021 results were virtually identical between Windows 10 and Windows 11 using VBS. That made Windows 11 5% faster than Windows 10 without VBS. Not much of a difference, but the newer operating system gave the best results.
Windows 11 was also superior in Adobe Photoshop 2022, beating the previous operating system by 4%. VBS reduced performance by 7%, making it slower than Windows 10.
We have yet another example where Windows 11 is faster than 10 with Adobe After Effects in 2022, this time by a 4% lead. VBS only reduced performance by 3%, which is a negligible margin.
Windows 11 delivered the best results in the Factorio benchmark and exceeded the previous version by 7%. It was also faster with VBS enabled, so overall a strong result for Microsoft's newest operating system.
We see a 4% performance improvement for code compilation on Windows 11 over 10, even though enabling VBS reduced performance by 6%. Smaller margins on this one, but performance trends are similar to the other application benchmarks.
The last application benchmark we'll look at is Blender Open Data and here we find that Windows 10 and 11 give exactly the same result, a completion time of 636 seconds. Enabling VBS slowed Windows 11 down by 4% which is not significant, but it makes Windows 11 appear slower than 10 when in reality it doesn't.
It is interesting that the power consumption was identical between Windows 10 and 11, which makes sense in view of the equally identical performance. Despite the slightly reduced performance, VBS does not reduce power consumption, at least in this example. VBS-enabled Windows 11 therefore provides poorer efficiency data compared to Windows 10.
Time to check the game results and as usual the game data is mixed up, but we're starting with F1 2021. This is where Windows 10 performed the best, beating Windows 11 by a small 3% lead when comparing the 1% low data. However, enabling VBS tank power will reduce the low power of 1% by up to 14%, which is a massive drop in frame rate and gamers should be aware of.
The results of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege using the Vulkan API are interesting. Windows 11 is up to 14% faster than Windows 10. We've seen a 5% increase for Ryzen, but 14% with the 12700KF is huge. It is also interesting that Windows 10 and Windows 11 delivered practically the same level of performance with activated VBS.
The results of Borderlands 3 are rather boring as both versions of Windows are pretty much the same. Enabling VBS will reduce Windows 11 performance by up to 11% when looking at the 1% low data.
The data from Watch Dogs: Legion is so shocking that I went back and tested it again to be sure. Here we see that Windows 10 and 11 go together, just like in Borderlands 3. However, with VBS-enabled Windows 11 performance tanks, the average frame rate drops by 14% and the 1% frame rate drops by a staggering 29%. We have heard reports of VBS killing gaming performance by up to 30% and here is an example of that.
In Guardians of the Galaxy, Windows 11 and 10 are practically the same. However, enabling VBS will affect game performance. While we're only seeing a 5% reduction in average frame rates, the 1% lows dropped an astounding 18%, not as extreme as Watch Dogs but still significant.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider performed slightly better on Windows 10, although we're only talking about a 2.5% improvement. That margin was small, but we've found that enabling VBS reduces performance by 5-6%, which, for this example, is small enough to be concerned about.
The performance in Hitman 3 was pretty much the same between Windows 10 and 11, but with VBS enabled we see a frame rate reduction of up to 11% which can be seen when looking at the 1%.
Age of Empires IV gives us another typical looking set of results, which is comparable performance between Windows 10 and 11, with the VBS-enabled Windows 11 configuration showing a significant performance hit, this time a 17% reduction for the 1% low.
Horizon Zero Dawn has some strange results. Windows 10 outperforms Windows 11 by 7%, both in average frame rates and the low 1%. Enabling VBS reduced performance by 1% by another 7%, although the average frame rate was only reduced by 1.5%. In any case, this was an unusually faint display for Windows 11.
Finally, we have Cyberpunk 2077, where both Windows 10 and 11 worked similarly. However, activating VBS destroyed 1% low performance in that title.
Although the average frame rate was only hit by 5%, the 1% low was crippled by nearly 30%, similar to what happened in Watch Dogs: Legion. While it's extreme and a little unexpected, it's not an outlier as we've seen another example of it, another CPU-demanding title.
10 games average
In terms of the average frame rates in our 10 game sample, we find that Windows 10 and Windows 11 are a great deal, with no more than a frame or two separating the two as long as VBS is not enabled.
If we were to only test Windows 11 with activated VBS, the conclusion would be very different. Here Windows 11 is 7% slower than Windows 10 when you compare the average frame rate, and a massive 15% slower when you look at the 1% low data.
This could be seen as a rather bad light for Microsoft's newest operating system, which is not entirely correct as both Windows 11 and 10 can run with or without VBS enabled.
What we learned
There are a number of things to unzip here, so let's break it down in a meaningful order. Let's start with a simple question: How should reviewers have tested the 12th Generation Core series with Windows 10 or 11? The answer to that is simple. It doesn't matter as long as the same operating system was used for all hardware configurations and the same operating system configuration was used for all tests.
Mixing operating systems in the same test can result in inaccurate data, especially if the security features differ. For the reasons above, I think the best course of action was to upgrade everything to Windows 11, but I also fully acknowledge that there is no right or wrong option here as long as everything was apples for apples on the software side .
The next point of contention will be, should Windows 11 be tested with or without VBS enabled? At the moment we are testing with VBS disabled unless otherwise stated, and this has been the default configuration for all of our new installations so far.
Interestingly, Microsoft states that the default behavior is to enable VBS for Windows 11 on systems that support the feature, but again, this wasn't the case on any of the Intel Z690 systems we installed it on. These systems support VBS and it can be turned on or off without changing anything in the BIOS, but by default Windows 11 didn't enable it.
Apparently, all you need is an 11th generation Intel CPU or newer, AMD Zen 2 CPU or newer, 8 GB RAM or more, 64 GB SSD or more, and virtualization enabled in the BIOS to enable VBS by default. Our test systems met these criteria and yet VBS was not yet activated by default.
In this article, we've clearly shown the impact VBS can have on performance, at least on our hardware configuration tests, since we're using a high-end, low-resolution GPU, which makes the game more CPU-bound than it would be under most normal conditions, so a slower GPU with a higher resolution.
But of course this is the best way to highlight the CPU performance and the data is correct. However, this means that under more GPU constrained conditions, VBS may only degrade performance by around 5%, which is pretty negligible.
Ultimately, I think the best practice for testing is to disable VBS, but whether or not gamers and users in general should do this is up to them to decide. Personally, I would disable VBS on my gaming PC, but I would probably run VBS enabled on my work PC as I am willing to accept a small performance hit there for improved security.
When it comes to choosing between these two operating systems for new 12th generation Intel owners, especially gamers, another factor is compatibility. There are some issues that Intel is facing with Denuvo's DRM software. In short, the DRM software does not recognize what these new hybrid CPUs are offering, it was not designed for them and therefore can cause the game to crash or even not load. Intel discussed this with the media before it was released, so it wasn't a surprise. Intel has already addressed the problem for a variety of games and workarounds are in place for the remaining ones. This kind of teething problem with a brand new architecture is really natural, but unfortunately it is massively exaggerated by some outlets.
Intel is still actively working to fix any issues with the remaining games and should fix them very soon for Windows 11 users. There are still close to 30 games that have compatibility issues running Windows 10, and the ETA as to when they will be fixed could be postponed until next year. However, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is on that list and we've never had an issue running and playing on Windows 10, so it could be very hardware-specific.
Intel might actually do gamers a favor in the long run as some developers simply chose to remove DRM from their game and honestly they should all be as things like Denuvo are a cancer for gamers. Games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which are now 3 years old and retail for around $ 10, don't need DRM to hold them in place.
- Intel Core i7-12700KF on Amazon
- Intel Core i7-12700K at Amazon
- Intel Core i9-12900K on Amazon
- Intel Core i5-12600K at Amazon
- AMD Ryzen 7 5800X on Amazon