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Product: Windows 8
Company: Microsoft
Website: http://www.microsoft.com
MSRP:
See Pricing
Review By: Andre Da Costa

with Byron Hinson, Robert Stein contributing

Pricing, Editions, & System Requirements

Table Of Contents (45 Pages)
1: Introduction
2: Pricing, Editions & System
Requirements
3:
Installation, Setup & Upgrading
4: Initial Impressions
5: Daily Usage & Application Compatibility
6: Desktop
7: File Explorer
8: Start Screen Apps
9: Internet Explorer 10

10: Networking & Connectivity
11: Windows Store
12: Gaming
13: Advanced Features - Part 1
14: Advanced Features - Part 2
15: USB 3.0 Support & Security
16: Performance & Reliability
17: Support Services & Activation 3.0
18: Other Features
19: Conclusion & Online Resources

Windows 8 will be available in 4 editions, but primary emphasis is being put towards the introductory edition of Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. Microsoft has greatly simplified the lineup to a certain degree while still adding some nuances to the Windows family with a new member called Windows RT for ARM based devices only. Microsoft has also decided to make OEM System Builder licenses more mainstream. Starting with Windows 8, you can now purchase a Windows 8 OEM license for Personal Use which will be only form of a full package.

SKU

Full Package

Upgrade Package

Windows 8

N/A

N/A

Windows 8 Pro

69.99

39.99

Windows 8 Enterprise

Volume License Only

Volume License Only

Windows RT

OEM preload only

OEM preload only

 

Microsoft has eliminated the Windows Anytime Upgrade functionality which allowed users to upgrade existing editions of a Windows SKU to a higher edition with additional functionality. If userís needs additional functionality such as Media Center or Domain Join, the user can get these through the new ĎAdd Features to Windows 8í component in System Properties.

Edition and Standard Capabilities

Edition

Features

Windows 8

Introductory edition of Windows 8 includes new experiences such as Start Screen, Modern Apps, Windows Desktop (File Explorer, Internet Explorer 10, Windows Media Player).

Windows 8 Pro

All standard features of Windows 8 in addition to Domain Join, BitLocker Drive Encryption,

Windows 8 Enterprise

Includes all the features of Windows 8 Pro along with support for Direct Access, App Locker, Branch Cache, Windows To Go.

Windows RT

Modern Windows Apps, Windows Desktop with File Explorer, Desktop Internet Explorer and bundled Office Home & Student RT includes Word 2013, Excel 2013, PowerPoint 2013 and OneNote 2013

Windows 8 Pro which is the edition available for testing incorporates all the features from the introductory edition of Windows 8. Some of the features of Windows 8 Pro include File History, Connected Standby, Trusted Boot, Smart Screen Filter, Language Packs, BitLocker Drive Encryption, Multiple Monitor enhancements, Storage Spaces, Hyper-V client and Group Policy Support.

Minimum system requirements for Windows 8 call for a 1 GHz PC 32/64 bit or better, 1 GB RAM (2 GBs for 64 bit), DirectX 9 compliant video card with 128 MBs of Video RAM, 18 GBs free hard disk space, Plug and Play monitor, keyboard, mouse, 4 GB USB thumbdrive or Optical drive, a network or wireless adapter for networking capabilities and Internet Access. Reading all of this, itís pretty much repeating this section of our Windows 7 review. Be realistic where Windows 8 requirements are concerned. I have been running Windows 8 previews for 11 months on the same specs and I can conclude, 2 GBs of RAM should really be the minimum for the 32 bit version and if you can throw in a discrete video card, do so. One major requirement in comparison Windows 7 is the processor support. Windows 8 requires your CPU to support No Execute Bit (NX), Physical Address Extension (PAE) and SSE. I particularly find this strange especially on legacy systems which Windows 8 supports. Considering that Windows 7 works fine on these systems that do not have support it, Microsoft should have still maintained support. According to Microsoft, this is for security reasons.

This is done for security reasons to ensure that malware defense features work reliably. This is important as we want to ensure that people can feel safe using lots of different software including desktop apps and apps from the Windows Store. This means some very old CPUs will not work with Windows 8. Source

My Dell Dimension (9 years old) has had a good run, itís been through Windows XP, Vista and I guess the buck stops at Windows 7. I have done some weird Frankenstein testing with Windows 8 where I have been able to get it to run on as low as 256 MBs of RAM and it gives a hint into some of the significant performance improvements Microsoft has made to the OS since Windows 7. Some of the nice enhancements include the new Fast Startup which makes my TV look slow compared to an HP Z210 I have running Windows 8. Thanks to new improvements in kernel optimization and support for SSDís Windows 8 is looking like an enticing upgrade for many.

 

 ę Introduction Installation, Setup & Upgrading Ľ

 

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