Gamers OS Showdown: Windows 8 vs. Windows 7 vs. Windows XP

If you are a serious gamer, choosing the right operating system for your computer is an important decision. While there are many competitors on the marketplace nowadays, the three main contenders remain Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows 8. Debates have been raging for a while now amongst gamers as to which OS is the best for their gaming needs, and the issue is far from settled. But to help you decide on a platform sooner rather than later, we will look at some of the pros and cons of Windows XP, 7, and 8 below as they pertain to gamers.

Windows XP

Windows XP is the oldest of the three main contenders, and its age is also its largest drawback. While many gamers will still claim that XP works the best for their games, by investing in XP today, you run the risk of having an OS that will become irrelevant very quickly. This drawback becomes particularly acute as new games are introduced that are designed to be run on more recent versions of Windows. Furthermore, Windows XP has a number of technical limitations that effect gaming performance, the foremost being that Windows XP will not support DirectX 10 and up.

On the upside, however, Windows XP does have a few advantages for gamers. First, many gamers have reported problems operating games on more recent versions of Windows. If you are not quite ready to give up your older games, you may want to stick with XP at least for the foreseeable future. Also, because it is the oldest, XP also tends to be the cheapest of the operating platforms. If you are on a tight budget, then Windows XP may still be the route to go.

Windows 7

For many people, Windows 7 represents a benchmark in the history of Windows. Not only is Windows 7 easy to use, but it runs fast and has posed few problems for gamers. All of the latest 64-bit versions of DirectX are designed for Windows 7, meaning you will have access to all of the latest games. Furthermore, because it has been around for some time, Microsoft has tweaked Windows 7 with all the right updates and patches to make sure it runs its best.

There are, however, a few drawbacks to Windows 7. While it is definitely an improvement over XP, 7 still operates quite a large footprint to keep running. By having this larger footprint, game performance can be adversely affected. Also, while not yet as outdated as XP, for those that want to be at the forefront of the latest technology, Windows 7 isn’t quite up to par with Windows 8.

Windows 8

Windows 8 was introduced not too long ago to a great deal of controversy. While much maligned when it first came out on the marketplace, Windows 8 offers much to make it an attractive investment for gamers. First, unlike Windows 7 or XP, Windows 8 uses a much smaller footprint in order to operate. This smaller footprint can mean faster game performance, especially for gamers on older computers. Second, for Xbox users, Windows 8 is far more integrated with Xbox Live than any of its predecessors.

The downsides of Windows 8 are few and mostly come down to a matter of taste. For example, much has been said of the new ‘Metro’ start screen design, which appeals more to mobile users than to laptop and desktop users. While this design can be irritating to some, it really doesn’t affect gaming performance, and even offers the advantage of being able to store all of your games in one place for easy access. Second, Windows 8 is still a new OS, therefore there are a number of issues that Microsoft is still trying to work out with it. As was stated earlier, some games that work on XP may not work on Windows 8. In the future, however, this issue should be remedied. Finally, while not so much of a drawback, the truth is that Windows 8 isn’t really that much faster than Windows 7 for games, so if you’re comfortable with Windows 7, you may want to wait a bit longer before upgrading.

All three operating systems, Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows 8, offer different advantages and disadvantages to gamers. For those who want speed and the ability to access all the latest games, Windows 8 is the way to go, whereas for those that want an OS that is tried and tested, they may be better off sticking with XP or Windows 7. Which OS you choose for your gaming needs ultimately comes down to both your own personal needs and tastes.