Repeat after me, if I have drivers, an older Windows version IS ALWAYS FASTER than a newer one, the ONLY EXCEPTION to this rule is Windows Vista, because it needed twice the amount of memory Windows 7 needed (due to a bug they never fixed).
MORE BLOAT CANNOT RUN FASTER, STFU!
FreeBSD 10.2 still runs acceptably well on a 486, Linux 4.2 still runs acceptably well on a pentium II. Windows XP does not run "acceptably well" on desktop hardware (due, mostly, to "Upgrade to Vista-Windows Updates") ... in a vm on a decent OS with recent hw and without inaccessible network shares it is acceptable. Windows 7 lags in so many areas it is not even funny anymore ... Windows 8.1 takes anywhere between 15 seconds and 15 minutes to open the firewall panel (on an idle HP laptop, 2015 i5, 16Gb RAM, SSD), FFS, the OS has been installed without vendor BS, the only non-MS software on the box is cygwin and openvpn (except for HP drivers). AGAIN, 7 boots faster than 10 loads the desktop (from the welcome screen), on the same hardware, no additional desktop apps installed (10 has Office 2016, cygwin, and openvpn, 7 same except no office).
Sadly, I do not have a W8.1 license for the x99 i7, 24Gb RAM, dual 500Gb SSD, so I cannot really compare that to the other two.
I am not saying Windows XP is better at running direct x12-optimized games, nor 8[.1] or 7, for that matter .... but that is about it.
All Windows versions I have seen so far have unacceptable USB support.