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Due to utilizing modern processor features better, Windows 11 has generally offered better performance on the same hardware as Windows 11.
It turns out however that a new Windows 11 security feature may reverse those gains for gamers.
UL benchmarks, the creator of popular 3DMark, Computer Base and PC Gamer has been testing Windows 11, and has discovered an issue caused by Microsoft’s Virtualization-based Security (VBS), which in some circumstances can cause a nearly 30% hit in gaming performance.
UL benchmarks notes:
In our testing with pre-release builds of Windows 11, a feature called Virtualization-based Security (VBS) causes performance to drop. VBS is enabled by default after a clean install of Windows 11, but not when upgrading from Windows 10. This means the same system can get different benchmark scores depending on how Windows 11 was installed and whether VBS is enabled or not.
In PC Gamer’s tests, they found an up to 28% hit in Shadow of the Tomb Raider (SoTR). The results have however been inconsistent, with Computer Base finding a smaller hit with Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
This may be related to which version of Windows 11 is being tested, with Computer Base testing using the Dev channel builds, while PC Gamer testing using the Beta builds, which are closer to the RTM builds we will see next week.
Microsoft says VBS uses hardware virtualization features to create and isolate a secure region of memory from the normal operating system. Windows can use this ‘virtual secure mode’ to host a number of security solutions, providing them with greatly increased protection from vulnerabilities in the operating system, and preventing the use of malicious exploits which attempt to defeat protections.
Hopefully, Microsoft will be able to optimise this feature a bit more or alternatively disable this mainly enterprise-focused security feature by default.
UL benchmarks said they will be updated 3D Mark to detect VBS on a user’s system so fair performance comparisons can be made.