According to the microsoft website [
"On average, Windows XP-based computers:
Score 36% higher than Windows 98 SE on Business Winstone 2001.
Score 77% higher than Windows 98 SE on Content Creation Winstone 2001.
Perform equivalent to the record-setting speed of Windows 2000
Professional, even with the addition of extensive new productivity
They go on to say:
"Faster startup performance: Windows XP is on average 34% faster than
Windows 2000 and 27% faster than Windows 98 SE.
Better run-time performance: This measurement refers to the speed at
which Windows XP performs tasks while your computer is running.
Improvements in Windows XP runtime performance are evident in
application startup and time and resource management. For example,
average application startup on Windows XP is 25% faster than Windows
98 SE and equivalent to Windows 2000 Professional.
Memory and Performance: In systems which include the recommended
memory requirement of 128 megabytes of RAM, Windows XP is consistently
superior to previous versions of Windows."
Even though this information comes from microsoft, it was performed by
an independant lab [ http://www.etestinglabs.com/ ], so generally I
trust that it was performed under fair conditions. Also, from my
reading of various benchmarks throughout the last 6 years, windows nt,
2000, and xp have always run significantly faster than windows 95, 98
and me when run on computers with sifficient processing power and ram
in the major benchmarks (of which winstone is one of the major ones).
In other words, running windows xp would make a slow computer slower,
and a fast computer faster. This is due to 1) its increased use of
system resources, which slows down slower computers, and 2) its more
effecient allocation of excess resources to applications. Thus, when
there are enough resources that the operating system is not the chief
user of ram and cpu power, its more effecient allocation of these
resources to applications results in much better overall performance.
I certainly think your Pentium 4 system would qualify as high enough
performance for this effect to be noticed. If you are playing some
older games, however, be aware that windows 2000 and to a lesser
extent windows xp, may not be fully compatible with games released
prior to 2000, with only about 50% of games (in my experience) that
were released before 1998 being still compatible with windows 2000
(although xp home edition may do a better job with these very old
games). For example, when I installed windows 2000 instead of windows
ME on my girlfriends laptop (with 128 ram), most applications ran
faster, but heavy ram use games now run slower. In particular, the
sims, which was not designed for windows 2000 according to the
program, runs very much slower on windows 2000, due to both its
increased ram use and its incompatibility. Just about everything else
runs faster now however, as well as being much more crashproof.
Also, many games that I love, such as Star wars racer and Fallout 2,
do not run under windows 2000. These and other games released around
1998 are usually not compatible, but they may work under windows xp,
which has tried to make a bigger effort at compatibility with games.
Overclockers addiction, when testing the athlon xp [
http://www.ocaddiction.com/articles/os/98vsXP/ ], however, found a
different result. All of their tests focused on straight 3d rendering
and games, which benefit from as little operating system overhead as
possible. They do not need all the advanced features of an operating
system to perform quickly, although they will still crash less often
in xp (typically). They found that windows xp vs windows 98 se, when
neither os was tweaked in any way, had windows xp perform a couple
percent slower than windows 98se in most tests. This was not a
significant slowdown, but shows that windows xp may be slower
Another test [ http://www.tech-report.com/onearticle.x/3076 ] from
tech-report.com found that windows 2000 is much faster than windows xp
"Our tests of the multitasking capabilities of Windows XP and Windows
2000 demonstrated that under the same heavy load on identical
hardware, Windows 2000 significantly outperformed Windows XP. In the
most extreme scenario, our Windows XP system took nearly twice as long
to complete a workload as did the Windows 2000 client...", which bears
out my anecdotal testing that although windows xp is better than
windows 98 on very fast computers, it is still sluggish compared to
In conclusion, I would say that either windows 2000 or windows xp
should be a better choice than windows 98 when run on a pentium 4. If
you will see performance benefits depends on what applications you are
running. Games will likely perform similarly on the newer and older
operating systems, and all other programs should run faster on the
newer os'es, so long as you have enough ram.
I hope this fully answers your question. If you need more information,
please feel free to request a clarification, and I would be glad to