Windows 7 or 8.1?

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Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:12 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm debating whether or not to put Windows 8.1 on my system or just a fresh installation of Windows 7. My system is getting old but it's still decent, a Xeon W3680 (6 cores, 3.33GHz) on an ASUS P6T7 WS SuperComputer motherboard with 24GB of RAM, using a Radeon HD 7970 video card and three 24" 1920x1200 monitors. I recently got a 1TB Samsung 840 EVO so I'll be putting the new OS on that. The system also has four 2TB hard drives, which are currently in two RAID1 arrays but I plan to make it a single RAID5 array with the new OS installation. I do use the system for working from home some days (though I connect to the office VPN and remote into my desktop at the office), but mostly I use it for the usual gaming and Web-browsing. While I'm generally happy with Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, should I put on 8.1 instead? I haven't used 8.x in person but if it's faster, better at multi-tasking, etc. then I'd probably want to use it. If it makes any difference, I'm not using the onboard SAS controller, only the Intel drive controller, and the sound card is a Creative Labs SoundBlaster X-Fi Platinum. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice!
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:30 pm

I have a similar setup... 3x 27" 2560x1440 paired with 1x 24" 1920x1200 monitors; 500GB EVO SSD - running Windows 7. I use the system to do most of my work from home, and also use the system for gaming when I get the urge.

To me, while Windows 8(.1) does have some advantages, Windows 7 is the obvious choice.... Personally speaking, the pro's of 8 (like boot/resume times, task manager, file copier, etc) are far outweighed by the intuitive, familiar, solid, and reliable features of 7... I'm not sure how Window's 8's multi-monitor support works (I hear it's very good), but with Windows 7 built-in features along with display fusion (free), I have no complaints in that department.

Overall, I think it's a decision that's very much reliant upon your own taste and preference. There are also quite a few relevant comments on the subject in this recent article: http://techreport.com/news/25523/window ... r-download

Good luck deciding.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:30 pm

If you're going to do it, now's as good of a time as any. You'll get used to 8.1 in about an hour (at most) if you're industrious, and if you want your 'start menu' back Start8 does the job nicely.

Otherwise, the under-the-hood improvements in 8.1 are worth the upgrade, and they affect gaming too.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:39 pm

Need to wait for the mouse patch, but I think the multimonitor improvements of Win8 may be worth it.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:30 pm

Flying Fox wrote:Need to wait for the mouse patch, but I think the multimonitor improvements of Win8 may be worth it.

What mice are affected? I've heard about the issue but I've never heard from anyone who actually encountered it.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:52 pm

I suggest you go 8.1 if you use multiple monitors.

You can get a task bar in each monitor, and there are other improvements too.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:26 am

Evan wrote:Hi everyone,

I'm debating whether or not to put Windows 8.1 on my system or just a fresh installation of Windows 7. My system is getting old but it's still decent, a Xeon W3680 (6 cores, 3.33GHz) on an ASUS P6T7 WS SuperComputer motherboard with 24GB of RAM, using a Radeon HD 7970 video card and three 24" 1920x1200 monitors. I recently got a 1TB Samsung 840 EVO so I'll be putting the new OS on that. The system also has four 2TB hard drives, which are currently in two RAID1 arrays but I plan to make it a single RAID5 array with the new OS installation. I do use the system for working from home some days (though I connect to the office VPN and remote into my desktop at the office), but mostly I use it for the usual gaming and Web-browsing. While I'm generally happy with Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, should I put on 8.1 instead? I haven't used 8.x in person but if it's faster, better at multi-tasking, etc. then I'd probably want to use it. If it makes any difference, I'm not using the onboard SAS controller, only the Intel drive controller, and the sound card is a Creative Labs SoundBlaster X-Fi Platinum. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice!


It is NOT better at multitasking. Its actually quite annoying. Its like having 2 different desktops with completely different inputs each capable of launching only a portion of your apps. If the apps that you want to work with aren't part of the same list, you will have to tab back and forth between them. It doesn't come with a huge percentage of the features written into 7, so expect to pay money to get them back, if you use them now. you will never get back the look and feel of 7, which wouldn't be taxing your system much to begin with, my 3930k (hex) didn't see any appreciable speed improvements so I doubt that you will either. most people who say that are referring to improved sleep, which in my experience causes glitches and then you'll need to restart anyway.

windows 8.1 is not an upgrade over windows 7 in any way, shape or form.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:33 am

Diplomacy42 wrote:windows 8.1 is not an upgrade over windows 7 in any way, shape or form.


Some people adjust poorly to change- or maybe someone just pissed in his Cheerios?
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:09 am

8.1 has many, many under the hood improvements.

It's worth making the jump as has been noted in this thread. If the UI changes are too disconcerting then I recommend one of the menu replacement programs.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:29 am

I strongly suggest you use Windows8.1 on someone else system first...

I use Windows8 on a touch screen laptop occasionally and its great (just web stuff and casual games), but I was pulling my hair off when I used it for about 5 month on my main work PC.
I also experienced zero performance improvement going from 7 to 8 back to 7. PC felt exactly the same. I mean if I booted in 7 second VS 8, maybe.. but I cold boot half a dozen time a year, if that.

Anyways, I recently build a new PC (for work, no play) and installed Windows7 without a moment of hesitation.

Thats coming from a guy that pretty much used all windows OS since windows95... And I had no issues with Vista. But windows8 is a joke for office/work.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:39 am

As a side note, considering what DICE said about DX11.1 (you mentioned gaming) future games might be better performing on win8.

It was actually a considerable increase on the benchmark done, but it wasn't the final code and all that. I'm waiting on some more in depth benches from sites with more hardware to test, once BF4 is patched up a bit.

(DX11.2 doesn't look to be coming to win7 either on that note.)
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:56 am

Windows 7. I find 8 to be an annoying step sideways in misguided UI design. It looks nice on a phone, but a computer with one or more giant monitors is not a phone.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:27 am

sschaem wrote:Thats coming from a guy that pretty much used all windows OS since windows95... And I had no issues with Vista. But windows8 is a joke for office/work.

Even Windows ME? :P
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:14 am

I have been using various versions of Windows ever since there was a Windows to use. Yup, I'm one of those old farts, age 44, that was launching programs via DOS commands back in the 80's. The only version of windows I skipped was Vista. There was enough complaints about it I elected to go with XP on a system I built at the time. I like things to work like always used to. Basically make all the improvements under the hood you want, just leave the UI alone.

Under the hood 8.1 is a big improvement over 7. It uses less resources and does things more efficiently than 7 does. Its the UI that every one has issues with, mainly the Metro screen and the lack of a start button that actually has a start menu attached to it. Most of the changes you can get used to after learning where to find things MS decided to hide from their normal locations. The two biggest annoyances, the Metro UI and Start button issues, can be fixed with a free download of Classic Shell. http://classicshell.net/

Yes there are reports of mouse issues. They seem to be limited to gaming mice with extra buttons you don't find on general use mice.

Bottom line, I recommend going with 8 if you can adapt to a few changes over time. If you can't adapt at all then stick with 7 but get 7 pro 64 bit.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:50 pm

Flying Fox wrote:
sschaem wrote:Thats coming from a guy that pretty much used all windows OS since windows95... And I had no issues with Vista. But windows8 is a joke for office/work.

Even Windows ME? :P


Got a free copy of it at a retail event- an event at which all the new shiny features crashed!

Damn thing was never as stable as 98SE, from which it was based. We quickly switched to 2000 from there, which by SP2 became the benchmark gaming OS.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:26 pm

Khali wrote:Under the hood 8.1 is a big improvement over 7. It uses less resources and does things more efficiently than 7 does.

I keep seeing claims of this. The changes are evolutionary, not revolutionary, so I have problems with the word "big".

There have been subtle improvements that most people will not notice under the hood, as there are with every release. Some of them may be important to certain people, and some of them may be completely lost in the noise. Either way, I don't see any under-the-hood improvements that are compelling must-haves for most people using Windows 7.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:49 pm

Buub wrote:
Khali wrote:Under the hood 8.1 is a big improvement over 7. It uses less resources and does things more efficiently than 7 does.

I keep seeing claims of this. The changes are evolutionary, not revolutionary, so I have problems with the word "big".

There have been subtle improvements that most people will not notice under the hood, as there are with every release. Some of them may be important to certain people, and some of them may be completely lost in the noise. Either way, I don't see any under-the-hood improvements that are compelling must-haves for most people using Windows 7.


http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/sca ... -bf4_w.png

BF4 Multiplayer, 1080p, Ultra 4xMSAA
Windows 7: 40.5 FPS
Windows 8.1: 61.8 FPS

But really, this is more because of DX 11.2 use rather than OS.

Source (Soz4Polish)

Not to mention boot time on Windows 8 is amazing, even on a HDD. Everything is faster. Classicshell / Start8 for those who can't handle the modern UI (I caved and got Start 8 after 2 months of daily Windows 8 use).

I picked it up in January for a cool $29.99 just before the price shot up. I wish I had bought 2 copies so that I could upgrade my secondary rig.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:25 pm

I am on Windows 8 right now. Been on it for nearly a year now.
I wont harp on about the usual issues like lack of start menu, etc. Because you probably already know about that and how to fix that.

My problem is with the display drivers. Im using an ATI 5870 and the display driver keeps crashing. I have tried all different drivers. But it still crashes a lot. Mainly when Im watching flash videos in my browser and when Im playing some browser game. Its surprisingly fine in the actual games. Rarely crashes there.

As it stands, I`m ready to go back to Windows 7 simply because I`m getting sick of all this crashing. Mine might be an isolated case, so take this as you will.

Edit: Using the lastest FF browser, in case it matters.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:26 pm

Buub wrote:Windows 7. I find 8 to be an annoying step sideways in misguided UI design. It looks nice on a phone, but a computer with one or more giant monitors is not a phone.


I see what you did there, and I appreciate clever humor. :lol:
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:47 pm

For me the best upgrade is the self repairing file system. I always hated running a full scan on previous OSes as it took way too long.

There's plenty of other stuff of course, but I love that.
rahulahl wrote:As it stands, I`m ready to go back to Windows 7 simply because I`m getting sick of all this crashing. Mine might be an isolated case, so take this as you will.

Edit: Using the lastest FF browser, in case it matters.

FF is still doing that? I thought they'd fixed it. Using the latest Flash plugin too?

Geebus, it'd be quicker to just use a different browser.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:27 pm

Windows 8.1 = If you need to get a new Windows license, get it.

Windows 7 = If you already have it. Just wait for 9 or later.

Windows 8 does have a few interesting things under the hood that are handy if your hardware supports it. Native "Advanced Format" support which means you can use a little more capacity out of newer the HDD that use it. The improver CPU scheduler helps with multi-threaded stuff and CPUs loaded with cores like Bulldozer, Pilediver, SB-E and Ivy-E. This is why BF4 fares better under Windows 8 with 8350. ;) Native "Secured UEFI" support, it is mostly for OEMs and image recovery.

The built-in system tools have improvements. The back-up program is decent and task manager combines elements from famous third-party tool "process manager". ACL and GPE are much better, although this is more for the realm of administrating Windows 8/Server 2012 ecology.

The silly UI can be migrated by third-party tools if it you bothers so much. Otherwise, you can use "Windows + D" to by-pass the Start Screen into the normal desktop.

Windows 8's biggest challenge has been trying to convince PHB-types to upgrade from 7/2008 ecology. Windows 8 doesn't offer enough to the plate to justify the upgrade and re-training costs.

The more that I think about it. Windows 8's reception is almost like Vista in its heyday.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:09 pm

Are you a Technet subscriber? Sounds like you should be, in any case. With a machine like you've got, I'd say download an ISO and put Win8(.1) in a VM and have at it without the commitment of a full blown install.

If you dig it, then by all means, nukes away.

My impression so far of the Win 8 UI is that it covers a lot for low-res computing. Philosophically, I get it though, the sidestep is the 'Start' menu, bigger 'n better.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:36 pm

I see no reason to upgrade from 7 to 8.1 unless you just like spending money and/or feeling like an Apple user without the hipster street cred. Especially if we're talking retail box W7 Ultimate.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:47 pm

I would like to update from 8 to 8.1, but the mouse issues worry me as an FPS player. I already have gone to lengths to remove mouse acceleration from the last 3 versions of Windows I've run, I don't have the patience to deal with more mouse issues right now.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:53 pm

8.1 for crying out loud. I have found it faster and much better-tooled, yet I'm able to do nearly everything the same as if I was on 7. The new task manager is AWESOME. End of story.

Using mine with 3 monitors, occasionally 4. Gaming + coding.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:38 pm

Thank you for the feedback, everyone. I do have a TechNet subscription so cost isn't a problem. I suppose I should have mentioned that another option would be to give 8.1 a try on my second system, which I built using some parts I bought used and some parts that used to be in the main system before upgrading (Xeon W3520, ASUS P6T6 WS Revolution, 6GB RAM, 256GB Kingston SSD, RAID 1 array with 1.5TB drives), but since it has a perfectly clean Windows 7 installation I put on it when I assembled the thing several months back, I didn't think about wiping it to put on 8.1 to give it a try. I guess it would be a good test of multiple monitor support because I'll be running three monitors on two video cards- the main 24" monitor on a Radeon HD 5850 and the two older 20" flanking monitors on a... GeForce GT630, I think. Hopefully the AMD and NVIDIA graphics drivers won't fight too much on the same machine, but if it ends up working poorly, I can take out the slower GeForce card and run all three on that machine from the Radeon. Efficiency and performance would be more of a concern on that system since it's an older quad-core CPU with only 6GB of RAM, and while I've thought about putting more RAM in it, I kind of missed my chance- I'm using unbuffered ECC on these machines and a 3 x 4GB unbuffered ECC kit is now a lot more expensive than it used to be and, considering how little this second system is used (really, it's just running Folding@Home all day for the most part), probably not cost-effective. Although I am not thrilled with the idea of wiping out the pristine Windows 7 installation on that rig, it probably would be good to put 8.1 on that to see if I like it, and if not, it wouldn't be a big deal to leave on that system that sees so little use. Thanks again!
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:01 pm

JdL wrote:8.1 for crying out loud. I have found it faster and much better-tooled, yet I'm able to do nearly everything the same as if I was on 7. The new task manager is AWESOME. End of story.

Using mine with 3 monitors, occasionally 4. Gaming + coding.


I've used five, with one rotated and another inverted. Setting them up and managing them takes all of five minutes!
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:23 pm

I'd go with Win8 with Classic Shell. No Classic Shell, no Win8.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:27 pm

I'll toss my opinion in for 8.1 . Mouse issues are being taken care of shortly, according to MS, and many work around exist. In my system the system performance is better in 8/8.1 versus 7, not to mention that if you're planning on holding on to the system for a while without upgrading the OS after this then 8.1 will have a longer support cycle most likely than 7 will.
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Re: Windows 7 or 8.1?

Postposted on Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:42 pm

Evan,
That is a nice CPU and motherboard along with the video card. That CPU is basically a i7-980x but usually cost around $200 more then the 980x. If you are looking for some more single thread/overall performance gains they do overclock quite well 4.2ghz should be no problem and that will improve single threaded app performance along with overall/multithreaded performance also. I do not know what cooler you are using at the moment but I am sure a 27$ Coolermaster hyper 212 EVO will have plenty of cooling power to get you over 4,1ghz. There are better coolers out there but the 212 EVO is the best bang for your buck by a longshot. I tend to like the AIO liquid cooler setups, they do not crowd the CPU socket area or get in the way of tall memory coolers. I love the Silverstone Tundra HE02 with a 240mm radiator with its all metal pump/coldplate assy and patented radiator design. But the Corsair H80 is a double thick 120mm radiator with a push pull setup that performs great also.

Your machine definitely has some life left in it that is for sure. If you are gaming on those 3 monitors in eyefinity a second 7970 or a r9-280x will improve your surround gaming performance tremendously. Just so you know you can mix and match the HD7970 and the newer re-branded 7970/R9-280x
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