Coffeehouse Thread

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Windows 8 Test

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  • W3bbo

    It was reported earlier this week that Windows 8 will have the same system requirements as Windows 7.

    ...and remember when they announced that Windows 7 has the system system requirements as Windows Vista?

    Well, I think we should put that to the test Smiley

    Does anyone have one of those awful barely-certified "Designed for Windows Vista (Basic)" sticker-covered laptops from 2006 that use the slower-than-molasses Intel GMA graphics chipset? It would be interesting to see how Windows 8 runs like on a machine like that.

    My Tecra M4 (model first released in 2005, last produced in mid-2006) was shipped with a "Will rRuns Vista when it comes out" sticker, but I've since sold it on eBay, but if anyone has anything like a Toshiba M200 (or even an M400) or that plastic-fantastic Asus tablet PC (with the embarrassingly low screen resolution) could you please dig it out so we can see if Windows 8 does well on this transitive test as Microsoft asserts?

    Ta!

  • Bas

    Ugh, why even bother. We all know those Vista hardware certifications were bullshit. All this is gonna prove is that, no, the very fabric of time and space has not warped and distorted to somehow retroactively make them true. I mean really, what are you even hoping to achieve with this?

  • kettch

    @Bas: Does the average person even bother upgrading...ever? They tend to run the same computer until it finally catches on fire and destroys their data, then they buy a new one and start again.

    @W3bbo: Windows 7 undoubtedly runs better than Vista on the same hardware, so there's no reason to think that they won't continue the trend. It certainly appears to be snappy on the ARM and x86 SOC's, so there must be a certain amount of optimization.

  • vesuvius

    @kettch:Certainly something to keep the "Linux still runs fast on my Pentium 3" fanboy happy.

    A typical mobile phone today is dual core, 1Ghz and 1 gig RAM. The crucial tests now are not what old systems Windows can still run on, but how much power it consumes on modern hardware, especially since hardware is pretty much throwaway, unlike 10 or 20 years ago where you paid a small fortune. I have 14 Gig RAM and 6 cores on my present machine and find it pointless to compare with a 2 core 2 gig vista machine.

  • W3bbo

    ,kettch wrote

    @Bas: Does the average person even bother upgrading...ever? They tend to run the same computer until it finally catches on fire and destroys their data, then they buy a new one and start again.

    Well, yes; actually.

    I remember there was massive hype over upgrade installations of Windows 95 over Windows 3x, and upgrading from 95 to NT4 or to Windows 98. This is because Windows editions came out in rapid succession, and Windows added new features to make it worth it (95 with Win32, 98 with FAT32, NT4 with the new kernel, etc) but hardware costs meant purchasing new hardware was too expensive (remember when the cheapest Dell was over $1500?), and all you needed to do to upgrade Windows was add more RAM. Windows 98 still supported 486 processors, remember.

    Upgrading has fallen out of fashion lately because Windows XP lasted so long, and Windows Vista was a shake to the system so people used it as an excuse to buy new machines.

    I'd argue that the majority of retail sales of boxed Windows 7 were to upgrade machines rather than to put on new machines. I expect to see the same thing with Windows 8. Upgrading is now back in fashion.

    Whilst computers are now dirt-cheap (an entry-level Dell laptop can be had from £250 now) people still aren't going to buy new hardware for a new OS: the hassle of spending money has been replaced with the hassle of transferring files and data. I've still got my XPx64 box from 2008 and that isn't going anywhere (indeed, I recently upgraded it to a GTX580).

  • kettch

    @vesuvius: Battery Sensor aware applications are going to be hugely important in Windows 8. There are plenty of applications today that waste battery by continually trying to connect to the network or do other tasks when they shouldn't.

    Windows currently surfaces events for network connectivity, battery, and other components. Those need to be made easier to access and properly consuming those events needs be mandatory for Marketplace approval of apps. Even better, certain apps should be able to be completely suspended unless certain power or network conditions are met. When I unplug from power, Windows Update should shut down completely, as should other background tasks and system tray apps on a user configurable basis. Heck, I should be able to subscribe my app to everything that the system would normally respond to, time, power, network, GPS, light sensor, etc.

  • AndyC

    I run Windows 7 on an eeePc that originally shipped with Windows XP, it's far more responsive on that than XP ever was and almost certainly better than Vista by a country mile.

  • W3bbo

    ,kettch wrote

    Even better, certain apps should be able to be completely suspended unless certain power or network conditions are met. When I unplug from power, Windows Update should shut down completely, as should other background tasks and system tray apps on a user configurable basis. Heck, I should be able to subscribe my app to everything that the system would normally respond to, time, power, network, GPS, light sensor, etc.

    "Suspended" applications already exist, and have done every since the idea of a message pump was touted. It's multi-threaded applications you want to watch out for. But if a process receives no new messages, has only idle other threads, and has a known usage of built-in system functionality then it can be reliably suspended and resumed at-will.

    Windows Update is a bane of my existence, yes. I would like to see Windows' Power Plan system overhauled. I don't understand why a Power Plan has two columns of features. It doesn't make sense for "Power Saver" to have options for when AC power is in use, or for "High Performance" to behave differently when on battery power. And the Control Panel GUI is a mess too. And why the fark doesn't Windows automatically switch between the two? I've unwittingly lost many hours of battery life by running in High Performance mode when I thought I was in Power Save (on HP, my laptop gets about 4-5 hours, under PS I get 8 hours).

    Anyway, the changes you propose are good ideas, but would be better suited to a new API for Windows, rather than to tack it on to Win32.

  • elmer

    I'd argue that the majority of Win8 consumer sales are going to be on new tablets (or whatever name you want to give them) and that few consumers will bother with a Win8 upgrade on PCs.

    Business (as usual) will only upgrade their O/S as a by-product of replacing hardware.

  • W3bbo

    ,elmer wrote

    I'd argue that the majority of Win8 consumer sales are going to be on new tablets (or whatever name you want to give them) and that few consumers will bother with a Win8 upgrade on PCs.

    I'm skeptical that tablets running Windows 8 will win over any new users from the iPad or Android tablets.

    Because it's running ARM it means that only Java and (pure) CLR applications can run straight away, and the CLR hasn't really been all that popular in the "software home users like to run" category. The software people want to run is native, but I don't think many companies will be willing to recompile or port over to ARM because their UIs will be designed for mice/keyboard, not fingers.

    So the only thing left for Joe Consumer is Internet Explorer and Office. I already have Safari and the various Office substitutes. Factor in that any Windows 8 tabletis going to have worse dimensions and battery life compared to the iPad and high-end Android devices I'm really not seeing a compelling platform. I'll also be surprised to see a Windows 8 tablet compete on price too. It's very hard to beat the £400 that the iPad is commanding.

    I know the hype is all over "new" HTML and CLR applications that will run on all Windows 8 devices and create a new developer ecosystem I just don't see it taking off.

    Finally, note that the iPad will eventually be sporting a 2048x1536 display as standard (speculation and rumour states that initially an "iPad 2 HD" or "iPad 2 Pro" released in Q4 of this year will have the screen initially, before every model has it by 2013. That is going to be a gorgeous and lovely device for reading ebooks and the web on, but Windows is still tied to 96dpi and I just don't see that changing. There's a reason why 13", 14" and even 15" laptops use (awful) 1366x768 displays rather than 1440x800 or 1600x900 (or even 1920x1080, hurrah for Sony!) is because anything higher means you need to use a high DPI mode, but when you do everything looks awful.

  • elmer

    Nice rant, but I think it misses the point.

    The point is that consumers are enamoured with tablets and are not buying PCs.

    That's obviously a blanket statement, but is the trend nevertheless. Whether its iPad, Android or Win8 is almost irrelevent, Win8 PCs will not be a big hit with consumers because PCs have lost their appeal to consumers, and they will be unlikely to feel the need for upgrading the O/S on existing PC equipment.

    Win8 sales will be focussed on new tablets and new business PCs. How successful the former is, remains to be seen, but Win8 on consumer PCs, I see as being a "niche" market rather than the mainstream.

  • RLO

    We are in a middle of a rollout of Win7 across all of our campuses, and I will say that Windows 7 has been unbelievable improvement.

    We have a ton of Dell computers that were rated as Vista Basic compatible (yes, intel gma) and the performance increase over Windows XP on the same machine is unbelievable.  To hear that the same performance requirements for Windows 8 is the same for Windows 7 gives me hope. 

    As soon as the beta bits for Windows 8 hit, I will get a better idea of where we stand, but for now I am pleased with the performance in Windows 7.

     

  • W3bbo

    ,elmer wrote

    The point is that consumers are enamoured with tablets and are not buying PCs.

    That's obviously a blanket statement, but is the trend nevertheless. Whether its iPad, Android or Win8 is almost irrelevent, Win8 PCs will not be a big hit with consumers because PCs have lost their appeal to consumers, and they will be unlikely to feel the need for upgrading the O/S on existing PC equipment.

    Win8 sales will be focussed on new tablets and new business PCs. How successful the former is, remains to be seen, but Win8 on consumer PCs, I see as being a "niche" market rather than the mainstream.

    Sort-of.

    Apple is touting this decade as being "post-PC". That isn't saying the PC is going away, actually quite the contrary. It means that PCs (as we know them) are now so fully entrenched there is no point in competing or trying to innovate in that area. Everything that's worth trying has been done already, all that's left is evolutionary changes, and there's no hope for making healthy profit margins. Their "post-PC" strategy revolves around ensuring their "pillar" products (i.e. iPhone, iPod, and iPad) work independently of a PC. Why tie yourself to a stagnating platform?

    PCs running Windows are now the "white goods" of modern society. I don't think it's a huge stretch to buy a reasonably well specc'd computer and expect to get a good 7 to 8 years working life out of it (compare to 15 years ago where a system was obsolete after 4 years[1]). PC performance has hit a plateau and the law of diminishing returns strikes again (e.g. 2011's Crysis 2 looks no better than 2007's Crysis).

    So the PC is not going away, it's not obsolete, it's just boring.

     

    [1]As an appendictical remark, I'll state that my first computer, a 1996 Dell, was obsolete by 2000, barely capable of playing the latest games, even with the fastest add-on 3D accelerator card and hitting the 64MB RAM limit imposed by its BIOS. By 2002 it was certifiably useless for any and all computing tasks, even Office 2000 ran like a dog on it. Compare to the computer bought new in 2002, a Pentium 4 machine that served as a good workhorse, but even with maximum RAM the single-core processor and slow RAM just can't keep up with modern web-browsers (that said, Chrome is soooooo much faster than IE8). So that's 8 useful years had out of it. Finally there's my current desktop, now almost three years old, that still tops the benchmark programs, by my projection it should remain useful for at least another 10 years assuming bi-annual RAM and tri-annual GPU upgrades.

    Interesting thought: when I was in secondary school in 1999, they had an IT classroom still filled with Windows 3.0 machines dating from 1991. They were only 8 years old, but sure felt considerably older. Now in 2011, seeing an 8 year-old machine (i.e. from 2003) running Windows XP doesn't seem so outworldly at all, the machines have aged well and are still more than capable of running the latest versions of Office.

  • dahat

    ,W3bbo wrote

    It means that PCs (as we know them) are now so fully entrenched there is no point in competing or trying to innovate in that area.

    So very very wrong.

    The way PC access data today is very different than 5 or even 10 years ago... and that transition is almost certainly going to increase.

    Think back 10 years ago... you wake up in the morning and you walk over to your desk to turn on your desktop and check your email and surf the web.

    5 years ago you would do the same... but from a laptop... be it in the living room, dining room table, deck or elsewhere.

    Today people reach over and grab for a smartphone, tablet or other ultra-portable device... almost anywhere.

    Between the increasing prevalence of ultraportable devices, and the push for ubiquitous data access while on the go (cloud), the importance of the PC is only going to decrease as time goes on.

    That's not to say that the desktop is (or will be) dead... it just means that the PC as we know it today will be less and less common in 5-10 years.

  • Craig_​Matthews

    ,dahat wrote

    *snip*

    So very very wrong.

    The way PC access data today is very different than 5 or even 10 years ago... and that transition is almost certainly going to increase.

    Think back 10 years ago... you wake up in the morning and you walk over to your desk to turn on your desktop and check your email and surf the web.

    5 years ago you would do the same... but from a laptop... be it in the living room, dining room table, deck or elsewhere.

    Today people reach over and grab for a smartphone, tablet or other ultra-portable device... almost anywhere.

    Between the increasing prevalence of ultraportable devices, and the push for ubiquitous data access while on the go (cloud), the importance of the PC is only going to decrease as time goes on.

    That's not to say that the desktop is (or will be) dead... it just means that the PC as we know it today will be less and less common in 5-10 years.

    This only shows that devices which are more portable are used more often than their larger counterparts for browsing the web and manipulating email. Those are only two specific use cases. In the end, what we're arguing about is the popularity of specific form factors -- all of which will continue to exist because each are suitable for different tasks, to different people, under different contexts. 

    ---

    As an aside, I'll say one thing -- Windows can have the nicest touch interface known to man, but if I still have to pan and zoom to be able to expand a folder in Outlook because the Office folk didn't get the memo that Windows has a touch interface and I end up having to try and tap a plus sign designed for a mouse, -- I still won't buy a Windows tablet.

     

     

  • Sven Groot

    Think back 10 years ago... you wake up in the morning and you walk over to your desk to turn on your desktop and check your email and surf the web.

    That's what I still do today. Smiley

  • magicalclick

    @W3bbo: I did remember someone managed to run Win7 on a pre-Win95 machine.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
    Last modified
  • cbae

    ,dahat wrote

    *snip*

    Today people reach over and grab for a smartphone , tablet or other ultra-portable device... almost anywhere.

    Until the day comes in which you can fold a tablet into quarters and stick it in your pocket, there's really little difference between pulling out a tablet and pulling out a notebook. The drawback of having to carry a notebook in a bag exists for a tablet as well. Weight might be the biggest concern for some, but for me, it's more about whether or not I want to carry the damn thing around everywhere in a bag and risk losing it if I have to set it down somewhere. Sure, there might be a couple edge cases like the few times when you're standing on a train or bus AND it's not so crowded that you *could* pull out a tablet but not a notebook. OTOH, no matter how portable a tablet is, I'm not going to be able to take it with me to lunch and continue working on a development project on it.

    If I only want to use a browser or read email, a smartphone will always be first choice.

    Between the increasing prevalence of ultraportable devices, and the push for ubiquitous data access while on the go (cloud), the importance of the PC is only going to decrease as time goes on.

    That's not to say that the desktop is (or will be) dead... it just means that the PC as we know it today will be less and less common in 5-10 years.

    I don't think the importance of a PC is going to decrease. Since getting my first smartphone way back when, I have not spent any less time in front of a PC. The only thing that's changed is that I now surf the web even more than before because now I can do it on my phone IN ADDITION to the time I spend in front of the PC.

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