Microsoft Reveals Windows 8 Upgrade Options

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2012 - 04:30 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, windows, upgrade, operating system, microsoft

ZDNet has managed to get its hands on some details regarding Microsoft’s Windows 8 upgrade paths. The company will support upgrade installations from XP SP3 to Windows 7 in various forms, and with some caveats. Users will not be able to do cross-language upgrade installs or upgrades from x86 (32-bit) to x64 (64-bit) Windows 8 (or vice versa).

Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system (check out our guide) is set to be available to consumers this fall, and the company has started prepping its partners on how the upgrade process will work for users running previous versions of Windows. The short answer is that users running at least XP with Service Pack 3 will be able to perform an upgrade install to a version of Windows 8 with the same language and architecture as the current version. The longer answer is that – while you may be able to upgrade – you may not be able to keep all of your applications, system settings, and/or data when moving to Windows 8 depending on your particular configuration.

Let’s run down some example upgrade situations.

For users running Windows XP SP3 or higher, you will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 and keep all of you personal files. You will lose all system settings and installed applications, however.

If you are currently running Windows Vista pre-Service Pack 1 (SP1), you will be able to perform an upgrade installation to Windows 8. You will be able to keep your personal files, but will lose any installed applications and system settings.

If you have Windows Vista SP1 (or newer), you will be able to keep your personal files and system settings. On the other hand, you will lose any installed applications as a result of the upgrade to Windows 8.


Further, as general rules of thumb, you can upgrade to Windows 8 (non-Pro version) from Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, and Windows 7 Home Premium installs. You will be able to keep all of your settings, files, and applications. Also, you can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Pro, and Ultimate and keep the same system configuration, installed applications, and personal files. If you are a volume licensee currently running Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Enterpirse, you will be able to perform and upgrade installation to Windows 8 Enterprise without losing any data, settings, or applications.

Just as with previous releases of Windows, if you want to move to the new version of Windows that has either a different language or different architecture (32-bit/64-bit), you will be required to perform a clean installation (not a bad idea in any event, actually). One detail that has not been released (or leaked) yet is pricing and whether or not we will see steep discounts for student versions, those that tested any of the Windows 8 preview builds, or family packs. If you eschew the DIY route and buy a new OEM computer between now and January 31, 2013, you will qualify for a Windows 8 Pro upgrade copy for $14.99, however.  It will be interesting to see just how Microsoft prices its upcoming operating system, especially before any applicable discounts. Microsoft has streamlined the number of SKUs but also made Pro the version to get for even some home users; and because it’s the equivalent of Windows 7 Ultimate where they price it will be interesting (or rather disheartening should I let the cynical side of me win out).

Have you tried Windows 8 yet, and if so, will you be upgrading to it once it’s officially released? Any guesses on the final prices?

Source: ZDNet

Futuremark Teases 3DMark DirectX 11 With Tech Demo Video

Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2012 - 10:43 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, windows, Futuremark, directx 11, benchmarking, 3dmark

Popular benchmarking software developers Futuremark recently posted a video of latest 3DMark tech demo. Premiering in its Windows 8 benchmarking software, the tech demo uses complex volumetric lighting with real time scattering, tessellation, visible particles and clouds of smoke. It also uses fluid dynamics, audio by Pedro Macedo Camacho (who also created the 3DMark 11 soundtrack), ambient occlusion, and post processing. Whew, that’s a lot of shiny graphics!

We posted a few screenshots of the tech demo that showed up online a few weeks ago, and now it seems like the company is ready to show it off in video form. The embedded video below shows a mysterious figure walking through a small town nestled in a canyon with smoke, lava, and a flying robot to keep her company. The graphics are very detailed and the particle and fluid physics look really good. It should do a great job of stressing out your graphics cards when it comes out in the latest 3DMark.

Unfortunately, not much is known as far as specific release dates, or even if it will be called 3DMark 12 (or 3DMark for Windows 8). If you are into benchmarking software though, keep your eyes on Futuremark’s website as they release more details.

Source: Futuremark

The Surface Tablet should be cheaper than an Ultrabook, but not by much

Subject: General Tech | June 20, 2012 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: surface, ultrabook, Pegatron, windows rt, windows 8, tablet, microsoft, arm, tegra 3

You've met Microsoft's two new Surface Tablet by now, either in Scott's write up or elsewhere on the net and are aware that there is a less expensive ARM and Tegra 3 version and a more expensive Ivy Bridge model.  What you might not have known is the expected pricing, a lack that DigiTimes remedies this morning with the prediction the WinRT model will cost at least $600 and the Win8 model more than $800.  Both are being assembled by Pegatron Technology but the amount being assembled is still unknown.  The Surface Tablet is certainly attention grabbing but it costs significantly more than other tablets and many full notebooks, but it likely to be lower priced than either Intel or Apple's ultraportable devices which puts it in an odd spot in the market.  How many will be willing to pay that much for a multi-touch tablet with dock?


"Sources from notebook players have revealed that Microsoft's 10.6-inch Surface tablet PCs will be outsourced to Pegatron Technology for assembly; however, there is still not a firm estimate for order volumes.

The sources also estimated the end-market price of the Windows 8 Pro-based Surface tablet PC with Ivy Bridge processor to be at least above US$799, while the Windows RT-based model, featuring Nvidia's Tegra 3, will be priced above US$599."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk


Source: DigiTimes

Microsoft Surface announced -- twice. ARM, x86: your choice.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | June 18, 2012 - 09:27 PM |
Tagged: windows rt, windows 8, tablet, microsoft

Steve Ballmer led the enigmatic announcement of “Surface”, a Microsoft branded consumer tablet. The tablet will contain a 10.6” display and run either Windows RT or Windows 8 Pro depending on whether you choose the NVIDIA-powered ARM variant or the higher-end Intel x86-based sibling. The device’s cover will contain a built-in Bluetooth keyboard and multi-touch trackpad.

Microsoft generated a lot of hype around their latest announcement.

In the end what we received the entirety of what was expected -- except the product looks compelling.

The Surface, borrowing the brand from their business-oriented smart table products, is a series of consumer tablets with a 10.6” 16x9 form factor. Would you like a full Windows 8 Pro experience on an Intel device or would you prefer a thinner and lighter Windows RT device powered by an NVIDIA ARM processor? Let us weight the Pro and cons.


So would this be like -- an Ultra…clipboard? Ooo -- Ultraclippy, that has brand power.

Early reports testify that the device feels well built. The announcement made somewhat of a big deal that the tablet has a magnesium chassis and a Gorilla Glass 2 screen. You will cover the screen of the device with a small Bluetooth keyboard which will be available in a few colors. With the tablet resting on its included kickstand and its keyboard cover flowing out from beneath it -- the Surface looks very similar to a laptop.


So -- magnesium chassis. This should be fun to thermite.

The Intel variant will feature a larger battery although extra battery life is not an immediate guarantee. The Pro device will allow for MicroSDXC cards, USB 3.0, and mini DisplayPort output. Both devices feature 2x2 MIMO antennae for their WIFI connectivity which could provide a fair chunk of bandwidth for streaming media.

Pricing and availability are currently unannounced except that they will be comparable to what is available. The ARM device will be available in 32 and 64GB models with the x86 Pro-class device available in 64 and 128GB.

Source: Microsoft

Computex: 3DMark Announces Windows 8 Benchmarking - First Screenshots

Subject: General Tech | June 5, 2012 - 01:37 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, computex, benchmarking, 3dmark

Popular benchmarking software company Futuremark has announced on their website a new version of their 3DMark application for Windows 8 benchmarking. While not available for download (yet), the application can be used to benchmark the performance of Windows 8 machines. Currently the company is calling the software "3DMark for Windows 8" which breaks the traditional numbered naming scheme.


Not much is known about the particulars yet, but we were able to snag some screenshots from their site which may or may not be publicly available any more. Take a look below the break (there are quite a few). More information should be coming shortly as Computex 2012 marches on.

I will miss the rocket powered airship and big guy with the minigun, but I suppose these benchmarks will be fun to watch as well.



See more screenshots after the break!!

Source: Futuremark

This morning at Computex it is ASUS in the spotlight

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 4, 2012 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, ultrabook, taichi, tablet, computex, asus, transformer book, Transformer

ASUS has been showing off its new mobile products at Computex, as you can see from Ryan's pictures below this post.  You can catch all the PC Perspective coverage by checking this page, as all Computex related content will show up there.   With all the fancy new products, the more pictures the better which is why you should also check out the coverage The Tech Report put up.  They snapped a few photos of the dual display Taichi which doesn't have a lid, instead there is a second independent touch screen display on the back which takes the idea behind ASUS' Transformer series to a whole new level.  That doesn't mean they abandoned the Transformer though as they also showed off three brand new Ivy Bridge powered Transformer Books and two separate tablets, the 600 and the 810 with the Tegra powered 600 running WinRT for ARM and the 810 running Windows 8 thanks to its Atom processor.


"We're rarely surprised at trade shows these days, but Asus CEO Johnny Shih saved something special for the end of his press conference today. After discussing everything from cloud storage to all-in-ones to notebooks and tablets, he pulled out one more thing: the Taichi. It looked like any other notebook, and Shih took great pleasure in showing off the "beautiful black mirror finish" on the top panel. I couldn't help but shake my head and sigh; the glossy finish was covered in fingerprints and smudges."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk


ASUS shows Tablet 810 and 600 using Intel Clover Trail and Tegra 3, Windows 8

Subject: Mobile | June 4, 2012 - 12:04 PM |
Tagged: windows 8 rt, windows 8, tegra 3, tablet 810, tablet 600, computex, clover trail, asus

Haven't had enough tablets yet?  ASUS hopes that's the case as they continue to release products using Windows 8 with the fresh touch interface.  First up, Anandtech tells us about the new ASUS 810 tablet using the Intel Clover Trail x86 SoC.


Image source:

The 810 will include an 11.6-in screen with a 1366x768 resolution IPS display - we have seen almost all of the new Clover Trail based tablets using this low resolution likely due to the underpowered graphics power of the 32nm Intel graphics powering them.  ASUS also includes 2GB of memory, 64GB of solid state storage, 8MP and 2MP cameras and support for NFC (near field communications).  

Much like the Transformer brand of tablets ASUS has made popular already, the 810 (and the 600 below) will offer keyboard / battery docks. 


Image source:

The ASUS Tablet 600 will also run Windows 8, but the RT (ARM) version, and will be powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 3 quad-core SoC.  This model will also have 2GB of memory but will drop to 32GB of local storage and include the 8MP and 2MP cameras.  The 10.1-in screen will keep the 1366x768 resolution and it can take advantage of the optional keyboard dock.  

If you continue to be interested in the ASUS 600 tablet, the first Windows 8 RT Tegra 3 powered device, check out the video demonstration created by NVIDIA below.

Source: Anandtech

ASUS Transformer Book is Ultrabook and detachable tablet

Subject: Mobile | June 4, 2012 - 11:35 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, transformer book, Transformer, tablet, computex, asus

Another in a line of announcements from ASUS today is the Transformer Book, an Ultrabook with a detachable tablet.  I find it interesting that ASUS chose to go with the "Transformer" brand for this machine that is x86 and Windows based rather than ARM and Android based.  Engadget has a lot of photos and details, including information about the hardware included within: an Intel Ivy Bridge-based Core i5/i7 processor, 4GB of memory, an SSD for storage and 11, 13 and 14-in screen sizes.  


Image source:

Since these are taking the Ultrabook name we have a general idea of the physical traits including the thickness and performance found within.  In the standard notebook mode we can see the Transformer Book with its high resolution screen, backlit keyboard and single surface touchpad. 


Image source:

The design of the Transformer Book is very familiar to users that have seen other Transformer tablet models.  One interesting aspect noted by Anandtech is that the base of the Book (the keyboard and touchpad) will actually include a discrete graphics chip leaving the tablet alone to operate on the Ivy Bridge graphics alone.


Image source:

Here is the Transformer Book in its tablet-only form and it should operate like just about any Windows 8-based device. 

I am very interested to hear about the battery life of these Ivy Bridge-based tablet devices and how much of an extension you'll get when utilizing the keyboard base. 

Check out the video from Engadget below!

Source: Anandtech

ASUS shows TAICHI convertible notebook and tablet with dual displays

Subject: Mobile | June 4, 2012 - 11:13 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, ultrabook, taichi, tablet, computex, asus

ASUS always does a good job of showcasing unique devices at its Computex press conference and apparently this year is really no different.  One of the biggest announcements was for the TAICHI device, a dual-display Ultrabook that is actually a convertible notebook and tablet device running Windows 8.


Image source:

Available in both an 11-in and 13.3-in version, the ASUS TAICHI products will both include a 1920x1080 screen resolution (on both back and front displays actually).  When open, the TAICHI works like any other notebook with an Ivy Bridge Core i7 processor, 4GB of memory, an SSD, 802.11n and dual cameras.  However, when you close the screen and activate the BACK display, you then operating with the Windows 8 operating system in a classic tablet form.


Image source:

Engadget is reporting that both displays can even be used at the same time if you wanted to share the device with a friend across the table.  Connectivity is there in abundance with mini-VGA, USB 3.0 and more. 

Source: Engadget

Computex: Acer Unveils Two New ICONIA Windows 8 Tablets

Subject: Mobile | June 4, 2012 - 01:25 AM |
Tagged: video, windows 8, tablet, iconia w700, iconia w510, computex, acer

Acer–a computer OEM mostly known in the US for its tablets and notebooks–today announced two new ICONIA W series tablets running Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 OS. Sporting IPS displays and a white chassis finish, they provide plenty of connectiivity options in a sleek package. Unfortunately, the company is not yet talking about specifications, pricing, or availability. Acer is currently showing off the tablets at Computex 2012 in Taipei, Taiwan.

Acer has started off Computex 2012 news week with a bevy of product announcements. The latest products being unveiled at the exhibition are two new ICONIA tablets running Windows 8–the ICONIA W510 and W700. Both tablets feature a white colored chassis with dark bezel around the screen on the front face. The front of the tablets include a Windows (key) button and a front facing camera (at least on the W700). From there, the two tablets differ in physical size and available expansion ports. It is unclear if what exactly the internals are in the two tablets as those specifications have not been announced.

The W510 is the smallest of the two with a 10.1” IPS display. It also comes with a dock that features a chiclet keyboard, trackpad, and extra battery that the company claims can extend the tablet’s battery life to up to 18 hours. The dock has one full size USB 2.0 port and a charging port (dock connector). The tablet itself packs a docking port, SIM card and microSD card slots, micro USB connection, headphone audio output jack, and HDMI video output. Further, the ICONIA W510 has two speakers, volume control buttons, an integrated microphone, and power button.

Engadget takes a tour of the Acer ICONIA W700 Windows 8 tablet.

On the other hand, the Acer ICONIA W700 features a 11.6” IPS display with 1920x1080 resolution, two bottom edge mounted speakers, front facing camera, microphone, and windows key. Acer has packed the tablet with the latest external IO options including three USB 3.0 ports, a Thunderbolt port, micro HDMI port, and a headphone output jack. The tablet also has a DC power jack (it must draw more power than USB can give it) and two vents along the top of the tablet. Interestingly, this does suggest that the W700 tablet has much beefier hardware than the 510, which does not have those vents. It will be interesting to see exactly what Acer has managed to pack into the small metal chassis hardware wise!

Another notable difference between the W510 and W700 is the dock. The W700’s dock does not have an integrated keyboard or tackpad. It only acts as a stand (with two small speakers and a windows key) that can be used to prop up the tablet in either portrait or landscape mode.

Engadget managed to get some hands-on time with the two Acer tablets and accompanying docks. You can see a video of the W700 above and photos and a video walk-through of the W510 can be found here. Despite the keyboard-less dock, I’m interested in the W700, though I’ll be waiting for more detailed information on the specifications before getting too excited. Despite my “meh” feeling towards Windows 8 on a desktop, I did like it when paired with a touchscreen convertible tablet, and the slate looked pretty smooth in the video (so I’m hopeful that this will be a solid device). Stay tuned for more detailed specifications as either Acer releases it or someone manages to snag one to take apart.

Source: Engadget