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Review: Windows 8 - Part Four: Performance and Verdict

by Parm Mann on 1 November 2012, 12:30 4.0

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Windows 8

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Finals Thoughts and Rating

Microsoft needed to bring its flagship product up to date in a radical new way, and in Windows 8, it has finally combined the power of the PC with the flexibility of the tablet.

Windows 7 in many ways represented the pinnacle of a tried-and-trusted software environment. Its roots could be traced right the way back to Windows 95, if not beyond, but while Microsoft had polished and refined the basic underpinnings to excellent effect, Windows 7 was ultimately another evolutionary step.

With Windows 8, the software giant is taking a much-needed risk. Windows 7 may continue to feel rock solid - and we suspect many will cling to its familiar reliability - but it's also beginning to show its age. The touchscreen experience is practically nonexistent, music and video content is served primarily by third parties, the game selection is drying up, and there's no central app store.

Microsoft needed to bring its flagship product up to date in a radical new way, and in Windows 8, it has finally combined the power of the PC with the flexibility of the tablet.

This is an operating system that includes a stylish touchscreen interface, as well as a powerful desktop. That's an awesome set of ingredients, but there's no denying that both environments are vying for attention, and Microsoft's biggest failing is that it hasn't successfully educated users on how to make the most of the two facets of Windows 8.

On a desktop, the Modern UI is often little more than an obstruction that has to be moved aside in order to get to where you want to be; Microsoft's challenge is to make the Modern UI more relevant to power users who typically multi-task with various windows across numerous displays.

Anyone in the market for a touch-capable PC should consider Windows 8, it's a no-brainer. But for the desktop user, there aren't a great number of compelling reasons to upgrade. Sure, the improvements are there - Windows 8 is more secure, faster and topped-up with new features - but if you spend most of your time on the desktop, there's no obvious reason to move away from the still-excellent Windows 7.

All said and done, Windows 8 delivers two very good computing environments, but we would have preferred a single great one.

The Good

Has the best Start Screen of any OS
Introduces a centralised Windows Store
Improves on the Windows 7 desktop
Xbox Music has the makings of a killer app
Excellent performance throughout
Still compatible with thousands of devices

The Bad

Steep learning curve
Most bundled apps are basic
Modern UI offers little to power users


HEXUS Rating

4/5
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HEXUS Forums :: 28 Comments

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Not defending Apple here as I am not big fan of their politics but tablet OS on Apple devices looks, feels and is tablet OS. Desktop OS is once again - desktop OS. While I like that Windows uses basically same core and can run nearly identical software (except on RT one that is) - there is no differentiation between the two. Why would I need touch-screen Modern/Metro/Annoying GUI as default (and without official possibility to default to Desktop only) when I don't have a touch-screen? And why would I need a touch-screen on desktop PC in first place when I am more than 1m away in first place. I am 6'2 but still my arms are not that freaking long and it's not comfy at all.
So.. I think it is very capable OS its just that it was ruined by it's inability to default to Desktop (I can live without start menu, never mind that one, we have keyboard shortcuts for Run etc.). I don't want an OS that everyday screams at me - look, I have touch-screen functionality but you don't have one! In your face! No thanks. Hope next version of Windows will be actually smarter not just “smarter”.
can you compare an AMD BD or PD on win8 now? would love to see what imporvements from the OS alone there are
My own experience (limited as only installed a couple of days ago) is that w8 feels a lot quicker than w7, it may be simply as a function of quicker to start and quicker to start programs. I am still not really happy with it as an OS but cannot fault it on speed
HalloweenJack
can you compare an AMD BD or PD on win8 now? would love to see what imporvements from the OS alone there are

+1 to this, please? :hexlub:

The Win 8 thread scheduler is meant to be better optimised for BD-style modules, so it'd be interesting to see whether AMD do get any gains from Win 8…
From what I have Experienced is that Windows 8 gives a great performance increase on machines with not as powerful hardware compared to the massive power rigs that either gamers or enthusiasts have. I mean From using windows 8 in both a corporate and private environment I can find pro's and Con's to it compared to previous OS's and I can see the most common question coming up if people do migrate to windows 8 and that is where is my start Bar??. But from what I can see if that Microsoft are trying to push towards touch and ousting out the old traditional style of Windows(desktop/menu etc)and this is from Microsoft trying to get get a hold on the markets that are currently dominated by both apple and android devices. Although I find not much of a performance increase on my powerful AMD machine at home compared to my weak dual core machine in the office. But all in all I like it and I find it quite easy to work with in both environments. :)