HomeWinBuzzer NewsInvestigations Reveal Similar Intel CPU Performance Across Windows 10 and 11

Investigations Reveal Similar Intel CPU Performance Across Windows 10 and 11

Microsoft claimed Windows 11 boosts performance on Intel's latest CPUs. However, tests show minimal difference compared to Windows 10.


Microsoft has long positioned Windows 11 as a superior platform for harnessing the maximum potential of modern hardware, particularly Intel’s latest processors. Since its announcement in 2021, the tech giant has been vocal about its efforts to optimize performance, emphasizing enhancements catered to Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake and newer CPUs, which feature a Performance Hybrid architecture. These claims suggest substantive improvements, particularly in leveraging the Thread Director hardware scheduler for optimal CPU task allocation.

Testing and Third-Party Assessments

Despite these assertions, empirical evidence gathered through various benchmarks and user experiences indicates a less dramatic distinction in performance between Windows 10 and Windows 11. In particular, testing by Neowin and Albacore focused on the Intel 14th Gen CPUs conducted to ascertain any tangible benefits of upgrading to Windows 11, or performing a clean installation thereof, revealed outcomes consistent with previous findings — indicating minimal to no significant performance uplift. Similarly, comparative analyses conducted in 2022, spanning general usage scenarios and gaming, showed inconsistent advantages across both operating systems.

Technical Insights and Underlying Support

The roots of this performance parity may lie deep within the Windows architecture itself. A revelation by technology enthusiast and social media user Albacore on X (formerly Twitter) sheds light on the situation. According to their research, support for Intel’s Thread Director, pivotal for efficient scheduling between Efficiency and Performance cores in 12th Gen and newer Intel CPUs, is not exclusive to Windows 11. It appears that Windows 10 builds, starting from version 21301 — released in February 2021, months before Windows 11’s public reveal — also encompass these optimizations. Albacore’s discovery, derived from examining kernel mode instructions pertaining to the “MSR_IA32_HW_FEEDBACK_THREAD_CONFIG” register, uncovers that both Windows 10 (from build 21301 onwards) and Windows 11 inherently support Thread Director functionalities.

This finding suggests the reason behind the negligible performance difference observed between the operating systems for Intel’s latest CPUs, suggesting that users running versions of Windows 10 newer than build 21301 already benefit from Thread Director optimizations. Consequently, the upgrade to Windows 11, at least from the perspective of optimizing for Intel’s 12th Gen or newer processors, may not offer the significant performance leap originally anticipated by many in the tech community.

Ongoing Performance Comparisons Tell the Story

This is not the first time Windows 11 has been found to be delivering similar performance to Windows 10. In January 2023, PCWorld found that performance was similar across both operating systems on Intel’s Raptor Lake CPU. Windows 10 was better than Windows 11 on the benchmark for photo and video editing in PugetBench. Elsewhere, the Cinebench Nero Score , which tests AI photo tagging and AVC (H.264) performance. Windows 10 also came out best in the Handbrake video codec conversion and transcoding test.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.