By far the most advantageous element behind Windows 8, for me, is the tiny amount of RAM that the OS could run on. Microsoft has bragged a lot about this aspect of Windows 8 and has announced it as one of the lowest RAM consuming operating systems on the market. Developers made it run on just 300MB of RAM, a quantity that is fairly comparable to Windows XP and which makes the memory consumption of Vista look as a total mayhem.
I've been a Windows XP diehard fan since the beginning and I would still use it today if my work didn't require Win 7 and if my laptop drivers would be compatible. After Win XP appeared Vista hit the scenes and many were tempted to upgrade because of its new looks and because OEMs almost forced you to do so. As a reminder, Vista ran on at least 1GB of RAM and ran most of the processes we've seen on a Microsoft product. Win 7 warmed the place a little with its dashing looks and a fairly low amount of requirements and now, Windows 8 is up in line.
How's that for a change? The screenshots above were taken during a normal hour on a PC running Windows 8 developer preview version. This clearly shows that not only this OS consumes 281 MB of RAM during its lightest moment but, it also has only 29 processes running. Comparing this number with Windows 7 SP1, we found that Windows 8 has 3 less processes to run.
Another important aspect is that these processes are now more optimised, the OS being better at identifying similar tasks and grouping them all together. Also, this reduction of processes may be attributed to the system of "activation request", a set of rules which defines the need of a process to be turned ON/OFF.
Software wise, Microsoft made a very bold move: it introduced an anti-malware service, which automatically keeps the PC safe from any vicious infections. Of course, the level of protection is questionable but, for those willing to sacrifice a 3rd party application that drank too much power juice in favour of something decent, it's a great deal. As you remember, the Windows Defender introduced in Vista did a nice job against medium threats.
What all of this mean to the user? Well, those willing to purchase Windows 8 next year will experience a more responsive system, especially seen when multitasking, because all applications require memory for functioning and as Win 8 itself uses less RAM it would definitely boost performance of applications. Also, those reading these lines on a portable device, of all natures, can enjoy a longer lasting battery. The RAM needs to be periodically refreshed by the OS and Windows 8 has a smaller quantity to refresh.
So, there you have it guys. Microsoft is turning to be a nice fellow after all and could make some of you even give up that hard-to-kill Windows XP.