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NT going slowly on Cyrix

Microsoft may be sacrificing performance to gain stability for NT 4.0 running on Cyrix processors.

Users of the brand-new Windows NT 4.0 working on PCs built around Cyrix Pentium-class 6x86 processors may find their systems run inordinately slow.

When running a standard benchmark suite, the chip exhibits a slow-down of about 25 percent compared to an earlier beta version of the software, according to testing of the final release candidate of Windows NT Workstation 4.0 conducted by Byte Magazine.

The systems also ran the tests on NT 4.0 about 16 percent slower than on the earlier release of the operating system, Windows 3.51, and 24 percent slower than Windows 95.

The performance tests were run on a Cyrix PC with a 150-MHz "6x86-P200+" Cyrix processor.

In preparing this final version, Microsoft added code to NT to make it more stable when running on Cyrix-based PCs but that new code apparently sacrificed performance to gain stability, Byte reported.

The tests found that NT 4.0 on Pentium PCs, however, ran the benchmark tests about 30 percent faster than NT 3.51, and 12 percent faster than Windows 95.