Install vs Archive & Install: Performance Testing

Recently, after Vista launched, I read one article about the way Vista installs over Windows XP. Microsoft took a different approach from the past and Vista actually copies its image onto the machine, and then goes through, weeding out the old operating system to make way for the new bling. In the article they ran benchmarks to test whether or not this process resulted in less bloat than a fully clean installation. The results showed that both resulted in pretty similar performance, post install.

I bring this up now, because as we get closer to Leopard (whenever it drops between March and June…) all those who jump on the newly released upgrade will have to decide whether to run an Archive & Install or a clean installation. Last time when Tiger came along, I discussed my migration plan and got quite a bit of feedback. The camp largely rested on clean installs it seemed.

But how does Apple stack up? Does the Archive & Install procedure create unnecessary bloat on the system? Or is it clean enough that benchmarks would be relatively the same (granted new systems would inevitably be a bit faster) in either case?

I’m all for the clean installation. I don’t mind that little bit of extra elbow grease to do it that way over an Archive & Install, and to me, it’s worth that piece of mind. But I can’t help but wonder if this practice is representative of my years on the Windows platform. With so many ‘Switchers’ in the past couple years, I’m betting many subscribe to the same practices that I do. So what say you? Is the clean installation method just a bad Windows-based habit, or good sense? Does anyone have any proof of performance boosts in one over the other?

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