If you’re like many power PC users, then you make every computer-related decision based on one thing: will this make my PC faster?

If you’re considering upgrading to Windows 8, then you may have wondered if it would make your computer faster or slower. Today, we’re going to answer that question for you and show you the major performance differences between Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Startup time

Startup times are one of the biggest areas of improvement for Windows 8. The 9 second difference between operating start times is massive. If you start up your computer once a day, 365 times per year, then you would save about 55 minutes just by switching to Windows 8.

Shutdown time

Shutdown time might not be as important to most users as startup time. After all, most of us don’t sit at our computer waiting for it to shut off. But the difference between the two operating systems is nonetheless significant. With a shorter shutdown time and startup time than Windows 7, Windows 8 users will restart their computers 13 seconds faster than Windows 7 users, which is a pretty sizable advantage.

Gaming-related scores

If you’re a PC gamer, then you demand the very best out of your rig. And one of the most important parts of doing that is building an operating system environment where that rig can perform its best. The wrong operating system can bottleneck a rig and the right one can let it run to its full potential. So how does Windows 8 stack up in gaming-related benchmarks?

Windows 7 edges out Windows 8 in 3dmark 11 performance by a small margin, but the PCMark 7 benchmark is a wider margin in favor of Windows 8. We’ll give Windows 8 a slight edge in this category – especially since Microsoft has wanted to make multimedia performance a focus of Windows 8 and will likely continue improving performance in future updates.

Internet speed

Gaming performance is all well and good, but most PC users browse the internet far more often than they game. Browser performance is slightly higher on Windows 8 – but only if you use the right internet browser.


As you can see, Internet Explorer 10 (and 9, for that matter) performed dismally on the browser performance tests. However, Chrome remained the fastest browser for both Windows 8 and Windows 7.

Microsoft Office performance

Microsoft knows how important the Microsoft Office suite of applications is to its users. If you spend a lot of time compiling spreadsheets, then you’ll want to pay attention to this test:

Windows 8 and Excel 2013 get along very well, achieving a 10% faster rating than Excel 2010 on Windows 7. The Montecarlo test uses Excel-related CPU cycles to create a comparison score, so it’s comparable to high-intensity usage of Microsoft Excel.


Along with the objective statistics we’ve listed above, a number of other factors come into play, including:

-The Windows 8 learning curve

-The new menu system and lack of a Start bar in Windows 8

-The importance of Metro apps

-The improved security of Windows 8

-Improved cross-device integration in Windows 8

-Improved multi-monitor support

Speed and performance is important in any operating system. But most users would sacrifice a couple seconds of loading time for a better usability experience. If you think the Windows 8 changes will be too jarring for you to handle, then consider sticking with Windows 7.

All benchmarks performed by TechSpot.com on a test machine with the following specifications:

-Intel Core i7-3960X CPU

-16GB of RAM

-GTX 670 video card

-Asrock X79 Extreme11 motherboard

-Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB hard drive and 256GB SSD

That’s one powerful computer, and it destroys the recommended system requirements for both Windows 7 and Windows 8. That means you should expect slightly worse performance ratings on your computer – provided that it’s worse than the test machine listed above.

Conclusion – Does Windows 8 improve PC performance?

Windows 8 appears to improve PC performance across the board, although the difference is admittedly very small in a number of different areas. Still, with the improved security of Windows 8 and a number of other key factors at play, Windows 8 is probably worth an upgrade – especially if you’re only paying the $39.99 upgrade fee.

Don’t look for massive framerate improvements in your favorite games. But you should notice faster response times and smoother operation in some of your favorite programs and menu navigation.

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