Does it really matter if we don't upgrade our PCs anymore?
There are all manner of images, screenshots and leaked details coming out now about Windows 8 and we already know a lot about what Microsoft want this product to be. We know it's going to be smaller, quicker and more agile than even Windows 7 was able to be. It's going to have to run effectively and without lag on lowly 1GHz ARM processors, though admittedly Microsoft might specify a dual-core minimum. We also know that it'll install in around 10 minutes flat on a standard PC.
So if you're thinking of buying a new PC, the question to ask yourself now is should you really bother?
Windows Vista caused no end of problems when it was launched back in 2006 and forced many people who were using it to upgrade to better and faster hardware just to get it to work. With Windows 7 Microsoft fixed all the problems and gave us an operating system that would work happily, though a little slowly on a 1.6GHz Atom processor.
We can see now that with Windows 8 not only is the bar being lowered ever further when it comes to performance, but that the OS will be giving us more.
Traditionally if you wanted an operating system that would run efficiently on older hardware you had only one choice, GNU/Linux, but it's now clear that this is a market that Microsoft are going after, and going after agressively.
It's not that Microsoft want to attack Linux, that's probably the last thing on their minds. It's clear that low-power processing is where the computing market is going and for most every day computing tasks these devices are usually perfectly adequate. Microsoft have simply seen which way the wind is blowing and, in an uncharacteristic display of flexibility and innovation, have decided to jump aboard the bandwagon.
So where does this leave everyone with a PC at home? Should you indeed think about buying a new PC at all when the times comes to replace yours?
There are different options for this. The first is that if you are a PC gamer the answer remains a resolute yes as the latest games will still demand Core i5 overclocked power to run effectively. If you're not a gamer though then you could easily find that Windows 8 is even faster and more responsive on your existing computer hardware than Windows 7 (though we have yet to see any actual performance benchmarks).
The third and most compelling reason is that the whole tablet market is evolving still and by the time Windows 8 launches in all its tablet glory we'll be looking at a whole broad range of innovative devices, some with one screen, some with two, some like a book, laptop, netbook or tablet, some with keyboards, flip down, fold out, and some without, that there will undoubtedly be a new way to interact with our computers that suits us! Frankly, this one has been a long time coming and it's about damn time.
When Windows 8 launches the world will be more than used to tapping away at a keyboard that's connected to a large box in a corner of the room, or even in it's own room, that requires it's own piece of furniture and that, frankly, is becoming more and more loathed for this very reason year on year.
If you're planning on buying yourself a new PC, or even a new laptop in the coming year my advice would be to hold fire and wait. Before the end of this year we'll see what Microsoft will really have to offer us with the next version of Windows and they're certain to demonstrate the OS running on a wide variety of form factors. There are exciting times ahead and it's now just not the right year to buy a new PC.Advertisement