Although it really is more complicated than this, Microsoft has broken the speed of a computer down to five components: CPU, RAM, graphics and gaming graphics, and hard drive speed. In Vista and then Windows 7 each of these was measured on a scale from 1.0-7.9. In Windows 8 this has been changed to a scale from 1.0 to 9.9.
If you upgrade your computer from Windows 7 to Windows 8 then you will notice that your WEI has dropped; that’s because Microsoft realizes that newer hardware is available, and the hardware that was top of the line three years ago is now a bit longer in the tooth.
Each of the measurements has its own subscore, but the truth is that the speed of your computer is determined by the slowest of these – i.e.: the bottleneck. So the Base Score of your computer – the one in the big blue square – is not a calculation or an average of the others, it is the lowest subscore from the five.
As you can see from the screenshot I took from my own laptop (an HP EliteBook 2740p) my Base Score is a 4.3. As a business user I don’t see a particular need to invest in a machine with high-end graphics (especially pricy in laptops). I don’t play games, and to watch the occasional movie all I need is a simple video card. I am more concerned with the CPU, RAM, and hard drive performance in my system, and with these subscores at 6.8 and 7.7 I am very pleased with the laptop’s performance.
If you would like to check your Windows Experience Index, there are a couple of ways to do it:
- Using the traditional method: In Windows Explorer right-click on Computer, click on Properties, and click on Windows Experience Index.
- In the Windows 8 Start Screen type ‘experience’ (or enough of the word for it to be recognized. Make sure you are in the Settings context, and click Use tools to improve performance.
From the Performance Information and Tools screen, click either Run the assessment or, if you have already run it previously, click Re-run the assessment. Remember, it will not work if you are running on battery power… you will have to plug in your laptops to run it! Also if you are running off a boot-from-VHD you can’t run it because the VHD performance interferes with the ability to measure the actual hard disk speed.
Windows 8 is faster than any operating system I have ever seen, even on legacy hardware. However on newer hardware it is going to be incredible; the only issue with that right now is that you are going to have to wait until October 26th to buy it!