Choosing Windows 7 or 8 for my new DAW Build

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Choosing Windows 7 or 8 for my new DAW Build

Postposted on Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:00 am

A good day to all!

I'm upgrading my hardware to a 6-core system and I'm preparing to rebuild my DAW OS around it. The related hardware thread can be found in the System Builders Anonymous sub forum here.

Question 1:

Currently I run a dual-boot system with my office applications on one boot and Cubase, Sonar, and other audio applications on the other boot. The ideas was to separate the DAW from all the day-to-day flotsam and the defrags, backups, and antivirus scheduled processes. This has worked well for me, but it's a hassle keeping two systems updated and I'm beginning to wonder if it's even necessary anymore with a new 6-core SB-E processor and 64 GB of RAM running either Windows 7 or Windows 8.

I'm thinking of building one partition for all my stuff, Office, internet, and DAW combined. What do you think?

Question 2:

I've been using Windows 8 lightly (RP and RTM trial). It seems to perform just fine for audio work (at least for the light testing that I've been doing) and I think there may be a good new opportunity to develop and sell RT apps in the future. Some of the tools under the hood of Win 8 are actually pretty good, and I just realized that I'm not looking forward to going back to my Windows 7 systems while I wait for Win 8 to be officially released in October.

Given my interest in possibly developing apps and the fact that I've mostly stopped whining about the Metro interface, what do you think about going all-in for Win 8?

Question 3:

I do plan to run a multiboot system so that I can have access to the other OSs for things like running antivirus on a friend's infected hard drive, reviewing my web pages for proper look and feel on older browsers, etcetera. I would also like to build the latest version of 64 Studio and have that available for content creation. So I need an overall multiboot plan that makes other systems easily available but also protects their partitions while their related systems are dormant.

Do any of you build a sort of "service system" that contains repair, backup, or antivirus tools? Maybe on the first primary partition of your main hard drive? Or would I be better off just maintaining such a system on a hot-swap removable hard drive? Any ideas on this would be appreciated.


My old system is nearly 6 years old, so I'm excited to be getting started on this project. Thanks in advance!
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Re: Choosing Windows 7 or 8 for my new DAW Build

Postposted on Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:51 pm

From your comments regarding Windows 8, I'd say go with it. You obviously prefer some things about it over Windows 7, so why not just use it.

As for the question about a "service system", I have a secondary hard disk that boots Linux. That's what I use for those things. If you want it to be Windows, however, I'd still recommend using a separate drive.
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Re: Choosing Windows 7 or 8 for my new DAW Build

Postposted on Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:27 pm

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Last edited by clone on Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Choosing Windows 7 or 8 for my new DAW Build

Postposted on Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:42 pm

If you want to develop WinRT apps, go Linux. You will have a POSIX friendly apps that can be easily ported to Mac or Windows (therefore PC/iPad/iPhone/Android and WinRT). It's the opposite direcion that's always problematic. Converting something from Windows to anything else blows... Windows APIs and SDKs feel as if they are deliberately made so that they are impossible to port to other OSes. COM, DirectX, DirectSound, DirectInput, Win32API, .NET, Silverlight, etc. choose any of those and your app is Win only. Choose POSIX, OpenGL, QT, OpenAL and C/C++ or Java or Python on Linux, and your app compiles without changes on Windows and WinRT, not to mention other OSes.

Concerning tools, Win 8 tools might be great, but I would be really surprised to see that they have a stand against http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysi ... 42062.aspx Sysinternals suite has been the ultimate must have toolkit, and I've yet to see something that comes even close. And it's free. Remember, Mark Russinovich is the person who writes "Windows Internals" books. No wonder Microsoft aquired Sysinternals.

As for Win 8, this is really a decision for you to make. There are some good things there, some cheating there, and, IMHO, a ruined desktop experience. If your workflow works smoothly with Win8, you might give it a try. But I couldn't stand Win8 for more than few weeks, although really I tried. It was awfull enough that I migrated to Linux Mint as main OS and left Win7 as a backup.

I would go Linux Mint primary with Win8 VHD inside for WinRT GUI (HTML5, IE debugging) work. And Win7 as a secondary OS for those few Windows only apps. With more reliable drivers and GUI that's more friendly to productivity work.

Remember Win7 is enterprise grade OS that will be supported for a long time. Win8 is only full blown OS on x86/amd64, as WinRT is essentialy empty OS with Office, and Win8 has a great chance to turn into Windows Vista times 10, or Windows Phone. So even though you should not let the WinModern development slide by, there is a great chance that the thing will be left in the dust after next, accelerated, Windows release. We have already seen that with Silverlight, classic ASP and Vista.
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Re: Choosing Windows 7 or 8 for my new DAW Build

Postposted on Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:02 am

TDIdriver wrote:From your comments regarding Windows 8, I'd say go with it. You obviously prefer some things about it over Windows 7, so why not just use it.

As for the question about a "service system", I have a secondary hard disk that boots Linux. That's what I use for those things. If you want it to be Windows, however, I'd still recommend using a separate drive.


An interesting proposal. Thanks!


clone wrote:a few things come to mind including the primary in that you never gave Win7 much of a chance given you forced a 6 year old system to run it and now propose building a brand new 6 core system tailored for Windows8 which was not the case with your Win7 machine which started life tailored for WIndows XP & then either used Win Vista or went directly to Win7.... either way not optimal.


Upon second reading, I realize that my original post was not very clear in a couple areas, and that wasn't fair to you. So here's a little more background.

The hardware is 6 years old, yes. I built the hardware in May/June 2007 and used Vista 64 bit with a very good experience. Shortly after Win 7 became generally available, I upgraded from 4 GB to 8 GB RAM and built the two Win 7 64 bit partitions and split my apps among them. 7 was so good I never looked back to Vista even though it was a good experience too. This system has been running just fine ever since that time with no rebuilds and really no perceivable performance degradation, even though I have an awful lot of apps and instruments installed.

But now we come to today and this motherboard (an Asus P5KC) has no USB3, Thunderbolt, or usable eSATA ports, and limited PCIe slots that could be used for addon cards. It came with three legacy PCI slots which served me well as I gradually transitioned from PCI to PCIe devices. The PCI devices are gone now; one device replaced with a USB alternative, another replaced with a Firewire counterpart, and another replaced with a PCIe version. Now the PCIe slots are all filled up and I don't have room for eSATA or Thunderbolt.

When I wrote that I wasn't looking forward to going back to 7, it was merely a comment on how I've gotten used to some of the new tools and dialogs. And I no longer complain about the UI in 8, which was just my literary way of saying that I'm getting used to it and finding my way around is not as frustrating as it was when I first tried it out.

That's all I meant. Windows 7 is a great OS and I would be happy to continue to use it if that's my decision. But I could also use 8 if that's my decision. I am wrestling with the decision only because it is not a trivial matter for me to change OSs. Much of my software (especially the non-dongled VST instruments) have software license codes that must be re-assigned/re-authorized to the new system. It will probably take me the better part of a week (working weekends and weeknights) to reinstall and reauthorize all of my music and office applications. It would be nice if I could make my OS decision and not change my mind too quickly after doing all that work. :o

I hope that clears things up a bit.

apples to apples comparisons are so much more valid but in this case you've posed the question with caveats: "I'm going to write apps for 8 and I don't mind Metro and I don't look forward to going back to Win7"...... with these comments why ask or even imply you may go with Win7?


Be careful with quotation marks, those weren't my exact words nor my meaning. ;) I didn't say that I'm going to write apps for 8, I said I'm thinking about developing WinRT apps. My thinking is more or less for the mobile space, but if WinRT apps also run on Windows 8, then maybe Windows 8 would make a good platform for me.

But with madman's post after yours, I think maybe I leaped to an assumption here and it doesn't matter which OS I'm running. It seems I have a lot to learn.
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Re: Choosing Windows 7 or 8 for my new DAW Build

Postposted on Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:23 am

Madman wrote:If you want to develop WinRT apps, go Linux. You will have a POSIX friendly apps that can be easily ported to Mac or Windows (therefore PC/iPad/iPhone/Android and WinRT). It's the opposite direcion that's always problematic...


This is very good to know, thank you.

Concerning tools, Win 8 tools might be great, but I would be really surprised to see that they have a stand against (Sysinternals)...

I shall investigate.

As for Win 8, this is really a decision for you to make. There are some good things there, some cheating there, and, IMHO, a ruined desktop experience. If your workflow works smoothly with Win8, you might give it a try. But I couldn't stand Win8 for more than few weeks, although really I tried. It was awfull enough that I migrated to Linux Mint as main OS and left Win7 as a backup.


I've spent a significant amount of money and time on my current tools. I will stick with Windows for the foreseeable future for the music activities. But I'll have a look at Mint at the same time I re-review 64 Studio.

I would go Linux Mint primary with Win8 VHD inside for WinRT GUI (HTML5, IE debugging) work. And Win7 as a secondary OS for those few Windows only apps. With more reliable drivers and GUI that's more friendly to productivity work.


I probably can't run Windows as a virtual guest for the music stuff. My current understanding is that Windows needs closer access to the hardware layer for correct functionality and low latency. I suppose I could maintain one for non-music use or testing, but I think that might complicate my layout.

Remember Win7 is enterprise grade OS that will be supported for a long time. Win8 is only full blown OS on x86/amd64, as WinRT is essentialy empty OS with Office, and Win8 has a great chance to turn into Windows Vista times 10, or Windows Phone. So even though you should not let the WinModern development slide by, there is a great chance that the thing will be left in the dust after next, accelerated, Windows release. We have already seen that with Silverlight, classic ASP and Vista.


Points well made, and if Win8 becomes a white elephant, then I find that I'm stuck on an island where patches and development from the OS vendor become low priority. This too is partly why this is not an easy decision for me.

--------

I'm beginning to think that it might be best if I could just wait until Haswell comes out. I'd have a whole new generation of hardware to choose from and best of all, the success or failure of Windows 8 will probably not be a mystery 8 to 12 months from now and my decision would not be so painful. :D This system is working fine for me now except for the missing USB3, eSATA, and Thunderbolt. And I need a couple more internal SATA ports too...
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Re: Choosing Windows 7 or 8 for my new DAW Build

Postposted on Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:08 am

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Re: Choosing Windows 7 or 8 for my new DAW Build

Postposted on Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:23 pm

clone wrote:
I hope that clears things up a bit.
indeed it does and thx, a general rule would be for me to tell you to wait a year or run both systems and decide in our own time..... platitude at best but given Win8 is only just getting released it's the best I'll commit (to).


Haha, I can definitely relate to this and it would be the advice I'd give to most users I know, who are somewhat less technical and who have A LOT LESS PATIENCE than I do when learning a new interface.

I shall stew on this some more and will play with Windows 8 some more in my sandbox environments. Hey, I've got 89 days left, so I might as well make good use of them. 8)

When Windows 8 goes live in late October, it should be an exciting fireworks display, especially for purchasers of new PCs (and I don't mean that in a good way). At least I'll have some skills to help my friends and family by either training them on the new UI or reintslling Windows 7. :lol:
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Re: Choosing Windows 7 or 8 for my new DAW Build

Postposted on Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:30 pm

Update:

After thinking long and hard all afternoon about my posts above and my feeling pinched over the hard drive limit of 3 on my existing system, I checked out my local CompUSA and found a PCI SATA II expansion card. Perfect for my already overpopulated motherboard. :D This will allow me to house an added four hard drives or SSDs, thereby removing (nearly) all need for rushing into a new system just to add SATA and eSATA.

It will also let me relax a bit and wait to see what happens with Windows 8 and who gets lavishly rewarded or run up the flagpole at Microsoft HQ, as the case may be.... :o :)

And the added flexibility from this new card should allow me to set up a massive multiboot environment for all variety of Windows and Linux systems, including my 89 day 88 day test environment for Windows 8.

So I guess my answer to my original post is "Both. And neither. And not right away!" hehe, :lol:
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