GPU rendering of the workspace with all the numerous peak level meters bouncing up and down at full 1920x1200 resolution via an fx2700 was pretty smooth even with everything going on all at once. Under the same kind of scenario Windows 7 would greatly struggle with something like XP64 getting much closer to what this build of 8RP was actually achieving from what I can remember. Keep in mind that Windows XP64 doesn't have the advantage of a hyper-V build server edition core integrated into its workings. 

A short half hour to 40 minute run with out even the slightest hint of audio stutter or drop. Who's back should I be patting? The dude with the idea of baking the hyper-v server core into Windows 8 maybe?



W8 RP-8400 in combo with zero4 and firewire express card instead of the built in firewire port on the machine

I normally use the built in firewire port as it allows me to achieve lower near Zero latency setting for firewire streaming between the mixer and the computer. However the streaming capability under Windows 8 was... well take a look....



Hardware: 

- Precision M6400,
- 2.7 GHz core2duo
- 12GB DDR3 1066MHz RAM, 
- NVidia FX2700 512MB @ 1920x1200 res, 
- 320GB 7200RPM HDD.
- Korg Zero 4 digital/analogue mixer, studio grade 4 channel 44/48/96/192KHz ASIO firewire audio card, midi controller surface 


Under Windows 7 64-bit: (final pro)

@ 44Khz and 48 Khz

Built in Ricoh multi-device+ firewire : Stream buffer depth: 2.0ms ASIO buffer depth: 4.0ms stable

Texas instrument express card firewire : Stream buffer depth: 4.0ms ASIO buffer depth: 8.0ms stable

@ 96Khz

Built in Ricoh multi-device+ firewire : Stream buffer depth: 2.0ms ASIO buffer depth: 4.0ms stable

Texas instrument express card firewire : - Not tested -

@ 192Hkz for both devices (I've not even tried)

Notes: @ 1920x1200 32-bit colour depth it suffered serious GPU render lag with everthing going on all at once. It was also subject to constant audio stutter, pops and drops throughout the entirety of any given session. Strangely it never seemed to happen whilst using it in a club thus far.






Under Windows 8 64 bit: (8400 RP)

Built in Ricoh multi-device+ firewire : 

@ 44Khz

Stream buffer depth: 0.5ms ASIO buffer depth: 1.0ms - hints of slight crackle 
Stream buffer depth: 1.0ms ASIO buffer depth: 2.0ms - completely stable

@ 48Khz

Stream buffer depth: 1.0ms ASIO buffer depth: 2.0ms - a few pops
Stream buffer depth: 1.2ms ASIO buffer depth: 2.5ms - two pops at the start & no more (a bit like records crackle)
Stream buffer depth: 1.6ms ASIO buffer depth: 3.2ms - completely stable
Stream buffer depth: 2.0ms ASIO buffer depth: 4.0ms - I'd recommend this setting@the lowest 4extra stability@48KHz.

@ 96Khz

Stream buffer depth: 1.2ms ASIO buffer depth: 2.5ms - two pops
Stream buffer depth: 1.5ms ASIO buffer depth: 3.0ms - one pop at the start & no more otherwise stable
Stream buffer depth: 1.6ms ASIO buffer depth: 3.2ms - stable (needs retesting)
Stream buffer depth: 1.7ms ASIO buffer depth: 3.5ms - one half like quiet pop, otherwise stable
Stream buffer depth: 1.8ms ASIO buffer depth: 3.7ms - completely stable
Stream buffer depth: 2.0ms ASIO buffer depth: 4.0ms - I'd recommend this setting@the lowest 4extra stability@96KHz.

@ 129KHz (hardware based activation that can only be done directly from the mixer itself and not software assignable)

!!ERROR!!


Texas instrument express card firewire : 

@ 44KHz

Stream buffer depth: 0.5ms ASIO buffer depth: 1.0ms - hints of slight crackle
Stream buffer depth: 1.0ms ASIO buffer depth: 2.0ms - one or two quiet pops
Stream buffer depth: 2.0ms ASIO buffer depth: 4.0ms - stable

@ 48KHz

Stream buffer depth: 1.0ms ASIO buffer depth: 2.0ms - hints of slight crackle
Stream buffer depth: 2.0ms ASIO buffer depth: 4.0ms - a few quiet pops (a bit like record crackle)
Stream buffer depth: 3.0ms ASIO buffer depth: 6.0ms - stable

@ 129KHz (I'm not even going to bother trying here)

Notes: @ 1920x1200 32-bit colour depth there was barely any detectable GPU rendering lag on any setting. Thus far When completely stable no kind of audio stutter, pops or drops would occur at all. 


Conclusion


In testing so far the actual results speak for themselves. I can conclude that after all these years of constantly raging and battling all the ongoing issues in windows 7 64 for this particular DAW rig with constant justification - Windows 7 64 is absolute crap for serious DAW and digital DJ use having now tasted the unwavering rock steady and vastly faster performance of Windows 8 64 bit with hyper-V on the exact same hardware. In fact even in hindsight XP64 produced much better DAW performance when it did actually work on the same machine.

Windows 8 is a serious contender for DAW systems with the largest amount of hardware compatibility.





You can just skip this part but its something read if you're bored.

Ditching Windows 8 developer preview 8102 due to constant auto shut downs every 2 hours of use and moving over to w8 64-bit Release preview build 8400
 
Its definitely much more flashy and more polished then the Dev-p build from a visual and interactional standpoint, and not in an over the top gimmicky way. So far I couldn't find any overly miss-placed/potentially unnecessary doubled up access and control features to make any particular element feel like it had just been tacked on in a half assed way. Much of the UI refinements have been nicely integrated in both aspects of functionality and operational performance. Overall it certainly felt like it had moved the OS forward a lot more then the previous officially released re-iteration for the general consuming market. It didn't generate any frustration whilst trying to quickly do things that I'd been more accustomed to in prior Windows OS versions. In fact it made me think that I definitely must replace Windows 7 with this for my virtual machine running/general use/gaming host instances.

Although I liked windows 7 when it was new, I still thought it was kind of samey on the GUI front despite the vastly more crucial aspect of the vastly improved performance on systems over Vista (including many systems that Vista just wouldn't have been a viable option to install on to begin with). This V8 release didn't have me constantly thinking "this is ok but OSX is different, I'd rather have that on my machine if I could". I'd actually be pleased to say I have a Windows 8 OS on my machine from what I've seen of it so far. 

There weren't many overtly displayed Windows logo's to be found, not even on the actual Aero task bar. Add that to the level of customisation options and you've got one potentially very personal feeling OS shell that manages to remain incredibly fast and light in its overall feel whilst using it. Even the new minimal designed start button (originally one of two) logo now centrally situated on the right hand side of the screen (on a pop out tab activated by a hover zone) kind of says Windows without letters and words but in a way that isn't windows as we know it which also manages to not look lame/trying too hard whilst doing it. I bet that made no sense at all, but that's the only way I can explain it at current. The boot screen logo is a lot more subtle and has a vastly more refined feel to it. It just simply says Windows in a narrow lined font with a little simple rolling animation against a black backdrop. I think it might even be the animated rolling loop of dots that look like they're being juggled by an invisible little man with an odd rhythmic swing to it that's a bit like an Olympic gymnast with a high level of physical dexterity and control over her body doing a series consecutive fluid motioned flips whilst remaining in the exact same spot on a horse which kind of adds to it. That and maybe that fact that it made the physical gloss sheen of the screen more apparent. The real thing without having to emulate it in a visual or on the actual logo?

If only there were the option to just have a larger version of the animation there too as its inevitable that the animation will eventually stick and become synonymous with the OS to eventually say Windows without saying Windows given the huge image and actual performance overhaul that comes with this version 8 release. As in if its seen anywhere else other than a Windows OS people will generally think windows 8 with vastly greater positive associations given the potential reach of Microsoft and how strong a product W8 actually is for the main part. They'd only have to worry that no one would make the association if they were a vastly smaller company with a limited presence in peoples lives in general. Oh wait a minute, who doesn't have a computer within all the potentially accessible general consumer and corporate IT markets the world over with the presence and visual imagery being in most standard software and on the internet?? This is one of the main reasons many people hate on Microsoft even if they were intentionally actually allowed to deliver the most unimaginable and impossibly perfect computing OS evER known to mankind in the history of the entire world under the Microsoft/Windows brand. It's not like they lack the financial means and resources to try and get as close to that as possible at any given time. But back to the point...

I also liked the fact that they'd also given the option to either collapse or keep open the ribbon control features in explorer to allow for an optionally cleaner and more simplified way of navigating it that didn't bug my field of vision and was still functional for more regular common tasks that didn't actually require the access of anything on the ribbons. They were always on show in the developer preview build and kind of had a very cluttered visual appearance, a bit like an open draw that has a very contrived and tightly arranged usage of the space in it. I seldom had to access them at all based on how I actually used explorer in 7 for the most part. But whilst browsing the ribbons there were in fact some very useful additional features situated in them.

ISO images files are so damn useful. I reckon many people use them. but most people can't be bothered to install heavier than necessary or dubious bits of software just to access a few files from them. Either that or they just don't know how to mount them via additional apps and end up wasting a whole bunch of blank DVD's and CD's just to access a few files. Users of Virtual machines have been accessing ISO content via VM's if they didn't trust third party ISO mounting apps for some time now. But it looks like with Windows 8 they've taken out a lot of the dubiousness and included an official ISO mounting app directly into the OS. It's also possible to view and access the contents of an ISO file just like it were a zip file. 


Slight gripes - it didn't feel quite as fast as the developer preview build although vastly more polished as a desirable visual and interactional end user experience as an OS. It also took a little longer to boot then the dev-p build even after removing everything from the OS for DAW use. I don't think this would impact on perceptions of it too much as a general user OS. However performance power users for specific applications might be a little less forgiving especially if they'd tried the slightly lighter and faster feeling Dev-p build that's now blocked prior to testing this Release Preview build.