Windows 8 Times Square

Should You Get Windows 8 on a Custom PC?

Jas Nijjer writes:

Like many enthusiasts, I build my own PC instead of buying less capable PCs that are more expensive. What do you think about the situation that many custom PC builders are facing regarding a lack of drivers for Windows 8? It’s difficult to find drivers for various motherboards. What do you think about Windows 8 on custom-built systems?

Windows 8 Times SquareThat’s a great question, and one that I’m sure many PC enthusiasts are asking themselves as they consider their next build. The problem here isn’t Microsoft or Windows, exactly. After over a year of development and several months after release, it’s important for OEMs to update their drivers for any new operating system their customers might be using. Windows 8 is still a small portion of the overall PC market, and it may still be considered a low priority for these manufacturers as they continue to work to improve existing drivers for more popular operating systems.

In short, the answer to your question may well be that Windows 8’s usefulness on a custom-built PC depends more on the manufacturer of its parts than the operating system itself. It’s important to make sure that every component in your system is Windows 8 compatible before committing to the operating system. You can do this through the Microsoft Compatibility Center or by launching the Upgrade Assistant from your PC on a previous version of Windows.

For the most part, drivers made for Windows Vista/7 will work just fine in Windows 8. There really isn’t a lot of difference in how drivers are used with the new operating system, though it will be less optimized than a driver designed specifically with Windows 8 in mind. You could be fine, but the only way to really tell is by trying it out.

To really get the full Windows 8 experience, you might want to consider buying a touchscreen monitor. These are a bit pricier right now than traditional monitors, and they don’t exactly hit the high marks in terms of performance if you’re really particular about that sort of thing. What they will do is make Windows 8 a more cohesive experience for you so you can use a touchscreen when you want to and fall back on the mouse and keyboard when you don’t. Chances are, the future of Windows will be buried deep within the world of touch, so investing in one of these might not be a terrible idea down the line.

For the purpose of your question, I’d say Windows 7 is just fine. If you don’t need Windows 8, there’s no reason to force yourself into an upgrade. The apps being made for the modern UI right now are way off the mark from what you would expect from today’s desktop programs. It’s too early to really recommend a switch at this point unless Windows 8 is something you’d really like to try.

Image: Microsoft