Does Windows 11 ruin game performance? We put the statement to the test

Windows 11 sabs game performance up to 28 percent! At least that’s the feeling that prevails on the internet right now.

It’s largely based on tests done by PC gamers Dave James, which showed how a gaming computer equipped with an Intel 10th generation Core i7 and Geforce RTX 3060 Ti was drastically affected when vbs was enabled.

Vbs stands for virtualization-based security, which increases security on Windows 11 by creating virtual security enclaves. This is one of the demands that Microsoft has made to stop support for processors older than Intel’s eighth generation, as well as AMD’s Ryzen 1000 series. We have done our own vbs test on a large selection of processors to see if Windows 11 has a potential negative effect on performance.

To find out if PC players are really facing a bleak future after upgrading, we installed the same version of Windows 11 that Microsoft delivered to those who tested Surface computers: Windows 11 Home 22000.194 on an Acer Predator Triton 500 laptop equipped with the eighth generation Intel Core i7-8750H, 16 gigabyte ddr4 and an Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 Max-Q graphics card. We installed the latest updates and drivers for the laptop as well as Nvidia’s drivers for Windows 11.

We then went through a list of ten games, using their built-in benchmark program for it to be consistent. We ran an average of three tests with Core Insulation’s Memory Integrity turned off and on (this is the function that enables vbs). The games ran at 1,920 × 1,080 resolution and usually with medium or normal graphics settings, as the Geforce RTX 2060 Max-Q does not directly hold world-class performance.

When we heard that performance decreased by 25 percent, we expected to see really depressing results, but strangely enough, few games were affected regardless of whether vbs was on or off. In fact, most of the results were within the margin of error. The most affected, Counter-Strike: Global Operations, saw a performance decline of about six percent. You can see our results below. The diagram shows vbs on in green and vbs off in red.

Windows 11
Chart of game performance on ten titles in Windows 11 with vbs on or off. We did not see any of the performance decline reported by others. Click to see the image in larger format.

So what does that mean? Frankly, we are not completely sure, when there are many variables to play with. First of all, we use a laptop computer instead of a home build, which PC Gamer used. Both core components that PC Gamer uses are also significantly faster than our laptop, better cooled and the system is equipped with more internal memory.

What’s even more confusing is that some of the titles PC Gamer tested used the same benchmark we used, but our results did not show a decline in performance. Could it be that even though we activate vbs, it is de facto not activated on our laptop? We do not know.

What we do know is that more performance testing needs to be done on Windows 11, now that the final version has been released. We know that even Microsoft believes that it costs performance to turn on all security features in Windows 11, allowing OEMs to actually deliver systems with some of the features turned off.

“Because hvci relies on Windows Hypervisor, the security benefits of memory integrity compromise on computer performance and power,” says Microsoft’s own document.

“Some devices that are particularly performance sensitive (such as gaming computers) may choose to be shipped with hvci disabled. Given the impact it has on overall safety, we recommend that you carefully test this before doing so. ”

The conclusion? It’s complicated. But before you get a rage over game performance in Windows 11, it may be worth waiting for more tests to be performed.

Read more about Windows 11

Original article by Gordon Ung
Translated and edited by Petter Ahrnstedt