Customer Review

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4.0 out of 5 stars Windows 8 Custom Build Gaming PC Review - A new step for Microsoft, 31 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Windows 8 Pro, Upgrade Edition [Upgrade from Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7] (PC) (DVD-ROM)
ObjectiveReviewerRT11'S Windows 8 Review

Windows 8 is the latest OS released by Microsoft and if the Amazon average review score is anything to go but it hasn't received much love from PC owners since it official release last Friday, I am a PC gamer and I had read a lot of articles about why I shouldn't upgrade and why Windows 8 is bad for gaming etc. Nonetheless, I thought I would take a chance and see for myself. My build is I7, GTX580, 16GB Ram, 256 SSD.

What is the Windows 8 Installation Process like?
I downloaded windows upgrade assistant who informed me that most of my devices were compatible and chose the Upgrade option, it took approximately 40 minutes in total and greeted me with a choose your colour question. I was quite impressed with the simplicity of the upgrade and it reminded me more of Mac OS upgrade style but then I encountered some problems. Windows store wouldn't download or install apps and windows update wouldn't work - I searched the internet looking for fixes and also posted various questions on Microsoft's support page and sadly none of the fixes worked. So I had to carry out a PC refresh this removes all of your software including steam and origin games and leaves your documents in tact. As soon as the system refresh was finished I found that my system was working perfectly, I would recommend that if you have had any difficulties upgrading to Windows 8 that you carry out a refresh as everything should work once you do this.

What is Windows 8 like as an OS?
As an operating system Windows 8 is incredibly impressive, it feels very clean, boots fast and isn't at all demanding on my beast of a pc. I found using the new interface quite refreshing as things haven't really changed this much since windows 95 and I truly believe that windows needed a refresh. This is the first time that I have paid for an windows os as I usually use the one that my PC comes with but for 24.99 this is a worthwhile upgrade. Yes, the start menu has gone and has now been replaced by a start page but if you are a Power User like myself you will find that you very rarely leave the desktop. Everything feels really slick, most windows 7 programmes and drivers work and the new introduction of short cuts which can be activated by pressing the windows button on your keyboard are a welcome one and making navigating your PC a seamless experience.

What is gaming on Windows 8 like?
I am a gamer and I was particularly interested to see how games ran on windows 8. I initially found games quite good but definitely noticed a difference from the much smoother play on Windows 7. On windows 7 I used to play all games on ultra with antialaising on, I noticed windows 8 games seem to run a few frames slower and tend to run better on high or extreme as opposed to ultra. I found this particularly frustrating as I am an avid Battlefield 3 online player and found online games quite sluggish, you will also notice that some textures are out of sync. I think that this is partly due to the fact that the NVIDIA drivers haven't been optimised for Windows 8 yet but as NVIDIA appear to be massive supporters of this new OS I would expect the new driver updates to stabilise things a bit if not improve thing. However, having read on some forum that Windows 8 lowers processing through power management I decided to experiment with the power options in control panel and look at their effects on games, I found this to be true as less demanding games like Pro Evolution Soccer 2013, Stalker, Payday the Heist and The Testament of Sherlock Holmes all ran buttery smooth on balanced power settings but demanding games like Medal of Honor Warfighter , Battlefield 3 and Crysis 2 all ran okay but I had to lower the settings to High/Extreme. I then changed the Power Options to High Performance and found that games ran much quicker and graphics looked much better, Medal of Honour and Battlefield 3 ran buttery smooth and had even higher FPS than on balanced and Crysis 2 looked better but evidently dropped 6 frames. I suspect that with time both Windows Update and NVIDIA Drivers should address these issues but in the meantime please be aware that to get the best out of your Windows 8 Gaming PC you may have to change you Power Options to High Performance.

What does the Windows 8 Ecosystem mean?
This new Windows 8 Ecosystem is a fantastic opportunity for all windows users and the inclusion of Skydrive, Windows 8 tablets, Microsoft ID's and Windows Phone 8 will all prove to be game changers in both the mobile, productivity and business sector. yes, we were all skeptical when we saw the surface RT tablet but that was expected as many of us are used to just using windows on our PC but now we have the option of buying windows devices which are compatible and work in sync with our PC. I am a Apple Macer but I can officially say that Microsoft have been successful in re-inventing the Windows OS. My grandma has an iPad and continually praises it's intuitiveness and ease of use but to date has never been a fan of the complexities of windows pc's but after 30 minutes on a Windows 8 tablet she praised how easy it was to use and said that she could see herself getting one if it came with Microsoft Office. I read a really interesting article which suggested that Tim Cook think that Microsoft Surface is 'compromised and confused' but I can whole heartedly say that Apple is scared of the Windows 8 Ecosystem much like they have been by Android and these comments to me suggest that the accessibility of the new windows and omission of the start menu will mobilise more PC users and further the validity of windows as both a PC and Tablet OS. I have read various discussion on forum with people asking questions like when is Microsoft Office coming out for the iPad and can they use a USB drive on their iPad but this Windows 8 Refresh means that if people choose to they can lay their compatibility issues aside and purchase Windows certified mobile devices which are in sync with their Home PC. I even suspect that although I have no interest in having an Xbox account on my PC that the inclusion of Xbox Smartglass and Xbox Games will have more relevance with the next gen code-name Project Durango and although am I simply speculating we may see dual platform Xbox/PC releases as Microsoft could release an indusrty standard graphic setting called Xbox on PX's which would mean that PC gamers could play their Xbox games on the PC. This is simply speculation but I am sure that the inclusion of these Xbox friendly windows apps are not coincidences and are part of a bigger plan by Microsoft which will become more relevant when the next Xbox is released. I am really excited about the prospect of a fully functional easy to use windows ecosystem as this inclusion could rule out the need for device fragmentation as many of us own Android phones, Apple laptops and an iPad but this new Windows ecosystem could remove the need for us to go elsewhere.

Wrap-Up
I like Windows 8 and would definitely recommend that you give it a try, gamers are usually the most stubborn type of PC owner but I can assure you that if you're a gamer windows 8 is the way to go, games won't be built with windows 8 in mind but I can assure you that for an extra 5 - 8 FPS the jump is worth it and by this time next year even the back of the games cases will have Windows 8 64 bit as the recommended OS. As an avid PC gamer I can assure that you're games will run better on Windows 8, this snappy, lite OS is definitely a step forward by Microsoft. The start menu isn't without its faults but will prove to be of worth if you are using a Windows Tablet, the strong multitasking, refined shortcuts and improved troubleshooting all make for a better windows and the promise of a improved windows ecosystem will only further revolutionise the windows platform.

Pro's
+ The overall speed of the OS
+ The Windows 8 Ecosystem
+ Windows 7 is still in there
+ Price

Con's
- Installation Hick Up's
- Where is boot to desktop
- Clearer explanation of Gesture and Shortcuts
- Metro cannot display more than 2 apps at once
- Separate Metro /Desktop versions of the same app

I hope you find my Windows 8 review helpful.
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