What benefits do I get for using Windows 8 compared to Windows 7?

I intend to get a new desktop computer from Dell. I'm not going to have a touch screen. I have heard that Windows 8 is faster, but I don't really know by how much faster it really is. When Windows 7 was out, it said it was faster than Vista. But it turns out that it takes up so much of my computer's memory that it starts to lag pretty badly. I'm worried that Windows 8 is going to be even more memory-hungry. My main reason for changing my desktop is for it to run faster because my current one is lagging too much.

Since this is going to be a desktop and I don't have touch screen installed to it, I don't know what other benefits I can get out of Windows 8. There are even many mixed complains about the Metro interface and the missing start button and others. I am even expecting many programmes that I've been using now will no longer run on Windows 8.

Given with so many conflicting thoughts, and Windows 8 will cost me about a hundred dollars more than a Windows 7 machine, I'm thinking hard whether it is worth spending more to get a Windows 8 machine. I need some advice one this.
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Gary CaseConnect With a Mentor RetiredCommented:
A few things to ponder ...

(a)  If you get a system with Windows 8 pre-configured, it will use Secure Boot.   This is designed to make it less susceptible to certain classes of infections, and does a good job of that;  but it also makes it MUCH more difficult to use 3rd party tools.   If you're a "tinkerer", you'll probably NOT like this function;  if you're just a boot-it-up-and-use-it user, then it will be essentially transparent.

(b)  Windows 8 does change the concept of "shut down" -- when you shut it down, it's not really doing a full shutdown ... more like a hybrid sleep.    The result, however, is that when you turn it back on, it's ready very quickly.

(c)  Windows 8 does not include a CSS codec ... Microsoft intentionally decided to stop licensing these.   The result is it can NOT play DVDs like Windows 7 could;  so if you watch DVDs on your system, you'll need a 3rd party player (there are some free ones like VLC that work well).

(d)  The lack of the Start button, and interface "enhancements" have indeed cause a LOT of consternation --- and a nice little market for GUI enhancements like Start8 [the author of Start8 has reportedly sold over 800,000 copies of his little $5 utility :-) ]

(e)  If you want to run virtual machines, Windows 8 Pro x64 includes Hyper-V, which will let VMs run notably faster than they do under Type 2 hypervisors like Virtual PC or VMware Workstation.

Note that Microsoft has announced recently that it is making "significant" changes to Windows 8 this fall => by most reports this means the Start button is coming back;  the default boot screen will be the desktop instead of Metro (at least it will be an option to do that);  and several other "retro" changes that will make it closer to what '7 users are accustomed to.

Bottom line:  From a user perspective, there's little reason to pay $100 more for '8.   In fact, if you buy '8, you'll likely spend at least an extra $5 (for Start8) to make it more "7-like" :-)
If the cost was the same, I'd recommend getting '8 "just because" -- it's newer, does have a few "under the covers" enhancements;  and once the updates come out this fall you'd probably like it just fine.   But for a $100 premium, I'd just go with the Windows 7 system.
Windows 8 is faster than Windows 7 in some aspects such as startup time, shut down time, wake up from sleep, multimedia performance, web browsers performance, transferring large file and Microsoft excel performance but it is slower in 3D graphic performance and high resolution gaming performance. Battery life improved enough to be noticeable (for laptops). Moreover Windows 8 is significantly more secure than Windows 7 and it is basically designed to take advantage of touch screens while Windows 7 is only for desktops.
Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
Windows 8 is much faster and is very stable.

If you are worried about the Metro interface, don't.  There are many add-ons that will make Windows 8 look like Windows 7 and not affect the performance.


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xenonnAuthor Commented:
I have heard similar comments that Windows 8 is faster and stable, b
Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
It is.  But if you don't like the new interface (I don't) you have many choices to make it look like the familiar Windows 7.  I personally use Start8 by Stardock.
xenonnAuthor Commented:
I have heard similar comments that Windows 8 is faster and stable, but in what sense is it more stable and faster (other than the start-up time)?

I have read that Windows 8 consumes more memory than Windows 7. Would this affect the speed when it comes to processing?
Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
I disagree that Windows 7 is only for desktops.  I've had a couple of laptops with Windows 7 on it and have been very happy with the performance and use.
Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
I haven't seen Winodows 8 consume more memory that Windows 7 but even if it does, it handles everything more efficiently and I've seen speed improvements in just about everything from start up to shut down to everyting in between...(app start time, shut down time, code execution, even my frame rates have improved slightly in high-end games).  I have a killer video card and Windows 8 seems to have miximized it as well.
Windows 8 consumes less memory than Windows 7.  And, of course, more stable, faster, secure, etc.

Let me quote: "When Windows 7 was out, it said it was faster than Vista. But it turns out that it takes up so much of my computer's memory that it starts to lag pretty badly" - right here you should stop. The OS itself does not consume the memory but the applications do. The OS would be happy with 1 GB even, it would never lag, not with 7, vista or 8.

First, you need to analyse what is going on on your old machine, not buy a new machine/new OS because of memory consumption problems.

Win8 is at least as performant as win7 but that is no reason to buy it. You use programs, not the OS itself. The performance of those is not directly tied to the OS.
xenonnAuthor Commented:
Thank you for your informative answer! :)
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