Windows 8 and RT Review

Because I would with small businesses with 10 and fewer employees I deal mostly with Windows computers. In that time I found what I think are the best Windows Tech manuals. The author is Mark Minasi and he has written a series of Windows Server 20XX books that I rely on. So, when I saw his review of Windows 8 and RT is was interested.

You can find his review here: Mark Minasi’s Windows Networking Tech Page Issue #103 November 2012.

The following is a quick take of what Mark wrote. I warn you this is my take on what Mark wrote. Read his review to get his words.

The Microsoft Surface (hardware) is pretty good. It runs Windows 8 RT. It has not completely taken over from Mark’s iPad. He is carrying them both.

Windows 8 for PC’s does not suck. I think the big news is that Win8 comes in only 2 flavors. There is Win8, which if you are an XP, Vista, or Win7 user you would call Win8 Home Edition. The other flavor has two names: Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise. These are identical packages. The difference is in how they are sold. Pro is the retail version and Enterprise is the bulk packaging for multi-license orders. That simplifies things. It is all Home or Pro.

The difference between Win7 and Win8 Pro is the START SCREEN. Turn that off and you think you are running Win7.

Mark describes the upgrade from Win7 to Win8 as harmless. So, unless you have security issues there seems little reason to upgrade to Win8. But, remember this is on PC hardware.

Mark points out the OTHER Windows version is Windows 8 RT that runs on different hardware. You cannot get a copy that runs on PC hardware. It just won’t work. But, you can get it on Microsoft’s SURFACE and other devices build around the really old Advanced RISC Machine tech, era 1983. Mark explains the history and reasoning for the use of RISC tech.

The logic of using this old tech and the absolute newest hardware on the market is explained in the review. It sounds odd but it does make sense. It is geeky but very practical.

You may know that iPad apps do not run on a Mac desktop. Nor do Mac apps run on an iPad. Also Windows PC apps don’t run on Windows RT. But… RT apps will run in Win8 Pro… interesting.

Second Life?

Since this is a Second Life™ related site you may be wondering if the Surface RT will be able to run SL. I was… am. Mark doesn’t answer that question. He is a server geek. If they use graphics at all it is for charting performance data. A visually oriented game… I think he has never seen one.

I cannot see a graphics heavy rendering program running on a Surface RT. We already have people running SL on Win8 Home & Pro.

3 thoughts on “Windows 8 and RT Review

  1. “The difference between Win7 and Win8 Pro is the START SCREEN. Turn that off and you think you are running Win7.”

    This is true but its worth knowing Windows 8 desktop is as much an improvement over Windows 7 as Windows 7 was to Windows Vista.

    Window’s 8’s hardware requirements are less, there’s a performance boost on the same hardware, MUCH has been improved in disk I/O operations, especially large copies, boot times are down, the file explorer and task manager has been upgraded, and there’s generally touch-ups here and there across the board.

    So Windows 8, based on the desktop mode alone and without the new Metro features, is still a legit Windows increment.

    “Since this is a Second Life™ related site you may be wondering if the Surface RT will be able to run SL. I was… am. Mark doesn’t answer that question.”

    It won’t. No applications will run in Windows RT’s desktop mode except Office RT and whatever first party stuff Microsoft builds for it later. So everyone including Linden Lab would have to build and release through the Windows App Store for the RT devices.

    I think Linden Lab should create a viewer for Windows RT however. It’s not exactly the same as building a viewer for iPad since iPad’s OS also targets phone hardware. Likewise for Android tablets. Windows RT however will always run on hardware at least as powerful as the first generation Windows RT devices out right now, which are powerful enough to run the Unreal Engine which was recently ported to it.

    • Have you seen any Unreal games running on the WinRT? If so, how did they perform?

      RISC was used for some high-end engineering workstations for a time. So, it can drive graphics. I suppose it is a matter of card makers or MS providing the drivers.

      • I don’t think there’s any UE3 games on Windows RT yet, I just recalled Nvidia demoing the Unreal 3 engine on an ASUS Windows RT device a few months ago.

        http://blogs.nvidia.com/2012/08/nvidia-brings-unreal-engine-3-to-windows-8-and-windows-rt/

        The ASUS machine used a Tegra 3 chip, which the Surface RT uses as well along with other Windows RT devices I’ve checked the specs of so far. And these are all first generation for Windows RT, so in the long run graphics capabilities should only improve further.

        I doubt Linden Lab will devote attention to releasing Second Life through the Windows Store anytime soon, but it’d be nice in the long run.

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