According to Microsoft, Windows 8 will play nice with legacy hardware and even works better on older machines than Vista and 7.
I have previously tested this theory with a Pentium 3 machine that was able to run Windows 8 (though not very well). It is nice to see that Microsoft is supporting a wide variety of hardware with its newest tablet-focused OS.
Still, to really make the most of Windows 8 there are some features like touch, Kinect, and high-end processing that I’d love to see in a W8 rig. With this theme in mind I constructed the specs for my personal “Windows 8 Dream Machine”.
This machine is built from custom parts, and not a brand-name, while taking advantage of high-end processing, Kinect, and more. Keep in mind, I didn’t choose the fastest processor or RAM, just a machine that I believe could efficiently handle all the coolest potential features that Windows 8 has to offer.
Okay, so my own personal machine would have Kinect and Touch, while also allowing high-end gaming and graphics effects:
- ASUS Sabertooth X58 Motherboard and Intel Core i7-960 3.20GHz Quad-Core Processor
- Cooler Master CenturionMicro-ATX Case
- Planar 24″ Class Widescreen LED Backlit Multi-Touch Monitor
- Seagate 750GB Solid State Hybrid Drive
- PNY 8GB (2x 4GB) DDR3 Ram
- Lite-On 12x Internal Blu-Ray Burner
- Gigabyte Radeon HD 6870 Video Card
- Microsoft Xbox Kinect Camera
So for those following along, I’d want an i7 machine that has a touchscreen, kinect, blu-ray burning, a powerful Radeon HD graphics card, and even a new hybrid SSD/HDD drive. For those who don’t know about hybrids they use some NAND flash memory (8GB in this case) to load stuff up quicker and intelligently transfer back and forth.
It gives you much more memory but at a faster pace. Such a rig would set me back roughly $1650, not including the cost for Windows 8 when it arrives commercially and a keyboard/mouse set (also the above power supply is a little whimpy..).
So what is my point, beyond getting everyone to salivate over a near-supercomputer?
While I’d love to get the most out of Windows 8 with touch, Kinect, and high-end parts, it really isn’t in everyone’s budget. The average Windows 8 machine will only be able to do some of the features Windows is capable. While I suppose that this is somewhat true with previous versions like Windows 7 (having a high-end microphone for some voice commands, etc), it is never more true than it is with Windows 8.
Windows 8 is likely to be the most fragmented of OSes, as far the kind of machines that make use of it. This is especially true because we will have x86 and ARM tablets, x86 and ARM desktop/laptop machines, and possibly even smartphones and Microsoft Surface tables that run Windows 8.
Part of the beauty of Microsoft Windows versus Apple Mac OSX is the amount of shear options available to the end-user. With Apple we have only one tablet and a few desktop/laptop options, versus literately thousands an thousands of Windows options.
This is both good and bad, because it creates confusion for less-technical users that are looking for a new machine. Of course, could I get a budget touchscreen and Kinect while running on an older machine for half this price? Certainly.
Even so, it would be hard to build a worthy touchscreen/Kinect rig of any consequence for under $700.
Long story short, budget offerings for Windows 8 will be limited on what they can do versus higher-end machines. Some tablets will have desktop support, and some won’t. There is just a lot of options and variety that I’m afraid will make it difficult for some customers.
Overall though, I am personally looking forward to Windows 8 and am glad to have options as a PC builder. Most likely though, my Core 2 Duo desktop will just get minor upgrades like a touchscreen added. As much as I’d love an i7 powerhouse with all the extras, I do have a family to feed.
So what do you think of Windows 8 and the variety of hardware that will exist? Will it be too confusing for some consumers or not? Also, what is your idea of a dream machine? Share your thoughts below.