I'm not a Windows fan boy in the least bit, as I've more then had my share of gripes with various versions of Windows for various different reasons. But credit where credit is due, Windows 7 and from what I've experienced of Windows 8 thus far has pretty much been the bomb on systems that for the main part were pretty reliable for driver support whilst living in the UK and France. Speed for the most part was barely an issue and with version 8 having proven itself to be faster and even lighter then before (and I'm not just saying that for the sake of it) its not even going to be an arguable point for Windows haters as far as OS performance on the speed front is concerned. Besides Windows 8 has been specifically designed to run incredibly light and fast on lighter power sipping tablet devices.  


 ...I never actually realised how damned good OSX actually was despite having only briefly clicked a mouse button every so often whilst frequenting the numerous flashy Apple stores dotted in and around  the high-street shopping districts and malls of Manchester, London and Paris from time to time.  It's only recently I've had chance to get a full hands on of it for the first time in the form of the 10.7.4 Lion build (minus the multi-touch). Was I surprised? Yeah, I knew people joked about how over simplified OSX makes things by likening it to a kids play school toy, but to my mind the simplifications weren't unwarranted and were generally done in such a way that they were nothing but surprisingly intuitive, functional and straight forward although it did leave me scratching my head at times wonder where the options were to undo certain things in the initial stages in having used nothing but windows for the main part. Take uninstalling an entire application for example, no specific advance application install and uninstall management console or easily locatable roll back feature separate from the trashcan to be found anywhere. But getting rid of an entire app was a simple case of deleting it from the desktop via a drop down menu or dropping it in the trash can, and as quick as that it was completely uninstalled and gone.  I never even realised how intuitive the always on screen dynamic start bar was either which changed depending on application focus. The 10.7.4 OSX build is certainly very pleasing to the eye but I'd be hard pressed to make a choice between OSX and the soon to be released Metrofied Windows 8.  They're visually flashy in very different ways, but I've a sneaking suspicion that a lot of long time OSX users will certainly be digging on all the glassiness of 7 and 8 and the new Metro interface and look of 8 just because its different and doesn't look particularly lame purely as an OS to use on a computer. Not to mention that the Metroness of 8 has seen it take a direction in the way of Android as far as GUI simplicity is concerned. There's also the option to turn it off too and revert to something that resembles what previous advance Windows users are more accustomed to on the OS navigation front. 

Like I said before speed is hardly going to be an issue  with 8 considering how damn fast it ran on older systems during my time testing it.  I don't think I'll be ditching Windows anytime soon that’s for sure, especially with 8 just around the corner, but I'm certainly looking forward to seeing what OSX 10.8.something Mountain Lion goes like as a host hardware based install rather then a VM. 

Sure beyond all the court room wrangling and all the legal bureaucracy the seeming "naughtiness" and route of virtualizing OSX isn't the most ideal situation for best performance of OSX on a machine to begin with.  But it’s a shame there isn't actual official support for such means as the VM would potentially  provide a standardized universal shell for running OSX in regardless of machine which basically means there shouldn't be too much compatibility issues at all if you can run VMware at a set level as far as a minimum requirement of RAM and processor speed and GPU was concerned. Basically meaning that  if you can run the OSX VM to said hardware level/standard on your machine you can run an OSX VM as the VMware shell would take care of the rest in terms of hardware bridging and interfacing to provide a standard virtualised universal platform. But the lack of seeming official VMware support for it also meant that even with the most current version of VMware tools for OSX installed to the VM the video rendering and audio performance within it was still quite choppy as a VM although vastly smoother than without VMware tools installed. It’s a shame its not possible to get it to run as smoothly on all fronts as something like a Windows 7 VM with full Aero visuals or Ubuntu post install of VMware tools to the VM. The choppiness in the OSX VM was most pronounced during the animation sequences when maximizing an app/windows to full screen and during the iOS/iPad like break out split of a window to reveal additional icons from the launch pad. On the audio front the choppy performance was most pronounced where reverb and echo effects were used on the various OS sounds. There was also sometimes a delay in sound effect syncing when completing certain actions like emptying the trash can.    

Even weirder, Safari seemed to run much faster and felt vastly snappier overall inside the actual OSX Lion VM then when running the Windows version of Safari in the host windows OS. I was also going to include iTunes there but with the choppy audio performance within the various OSX sound effect in and around the OS itself thus far it might not all be candy and rainbows just yet at this current stage of development. I've not had chance to test an actual audio file in iTunes within the OSX VM just yet or even tested the audio to iTunes visualizer rendering yet but the general initial running of iTunes without this seemed to also run much more quickly too whilst actually navigating the included native iTunes for OSX within the OSX VM.  I might also add that audio to visual effects on the Windows version of iTunes whilst running it in a dedicated Windows 7 VM that I use for the sole purpose of running the Windows version of iTunes is very smooth and competent on this machine even with full Aero visuals on.

Using the native iTunes for OSX Lion in the OSX lion VM

I'm guessing much of the choppiness is down to latency issues due to the none native platform. But it turns out that the visualizer doesn't appear to work with the current version of VMware tools for OSX installed to the OSX VM. It was possible to get music to play without popping or dropping within the OSX lion VM but it did require my not moving between VM's or Windows within the VM and host if not actually exclusively running the OSX lion VM in the fore and not doing anything in the OSX VM but play the music file. I reckon a QX9300 placed in the belly of this machine might possibly go some way to reducing some of the latency issues due to the difference of how it runs in way that provides more persistent steady server like thread handling capabilities on the multi-tasking front and especially with it having 4 physical cores with 12MB of cache. That or some sort of new version of VMware Tools for running OSX as a VM on a Windows host. 

Changing processor priority for vastly better VM performance but still a quite choppy on the audio front (still didn't fix slight flaws in the visuals) - Changing the process priority of the VM's to above normal also significantly helped to reduce the various audio pops and drops whilst playing audio that didn't require any audio effects and whilst moving between VM's as well as windows on the host OS which generally further confirms my reckoning that a QX9300 in the guts of this machine would definitely iron out a whole bunch of the lag and latency issues, although it won't fix the none functioning visualizer.

I don't think it would matter how visually pleasing and visually perfect you could make an OS look at any one particular time for the consumer arena. It's inevitable they'll get bored of it and want something different.