Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8, which will offer a new user interface optimized for tablets, may be a little faster than Windows 7 for digital audio workstation work, according to Cakewalk.
In preliminary testing with Sonar X1, Cakewalk found improved performance in three areas:
- Better load balancing. Based on their testing, they concluded that workload is distributed more evenly across all cores.
- Faster bounce times. Cakewalk tested exporting a project, multiple times, on both Windows 7 and Windows 8. Bounce times were roughly 25% faster.
- Better memory usage. They also found that memory usage is lower on Windows 8. The task manager also shows that there is more available RAM in Windows 8, vs Windows 7.
If Cakewalks’s early testing holds up, these improvements will be great news for musicians based on WIndows.
Cakewalk On Windows 8 Tablets
While Cakewalks’ testing bodes well for traditional Windows users, what does it mean for people interested in Windows tablets?
Users that think that Windows 8 is going to give existing music apps a multitouch makeover are going to be disappointed.
“Classic Windows desktop applications, built using the Win32 API, will only run in desktop mode and only on AMD and Intel x86 processors, not ARM devices,” notes Cakewalk’s Willy Jones.
In other words, Sonar X1 should run great in desktop mode, but not in the new ‘Metro’ tablet interface and not at all on ARM tablets.
To support ARM, applications will need to be specifically written as Metro style apps, using the new WinRT API.
WinRT is a new API, completely different from the classic WIN32 API that all Windows desktop applications use, and is not backwards compatible with the older Windows framework. As a result DLL’s such as VST’s cannot be loaded from Metro apps. It is also designed more with mobile devices in mind and lacks some of the power of the classic Win32 Windows API currently.
Don’t expect your favorite music apps to be optimized for Windows 8 tablets when they ship. Music app vendors are more likely to test the waters with some basic Metro-style apps, before they consider DAW rewrites.
That doesn’t mean that Windows 8 won’t offer benefits for Intel WIndows tablet owners, though. While they won’t get the ‘sizzle’ of Microsoft’s new Windows 8 Metro UI, they should get the ‘steak’ of better performance and lower memory use.