Surface Pro and MacBook Air have similar free disk space

Before the launch of the Surface Pro, Microsoft copped some significant flack when they announced the amount of free storage space available on the system. As the operating system - in this case a full copy of Windows 8 - takes up a significant amount of space, people felt cheated that they weren't able to have a full 64 or 128 GB for their own data and apps. Many people compared the situation to that of an iPad or even the Surface RT, which give you more of the advertised free space.

Ed Bott of ZDNet feels that a comparison between the Surface Pro and the iPad is unfair, as the former can be used as a full-strength PC complete with traditional desktop Windows applications, while the iPad is more of a consumption device tethered to the App Store. A more appropriate comparison should be made between the Surface Pro and Apple's MacBook Air: both contain ultraportable specs including x86 Intel processors, both have similar amounts of RAM, and both come in 128 GB models.

In a lengthy report, Bott crunched the numbers to discover the Surface Pro and MacBook Air contain very similar amounts of free space after the OS and other partitions are factored in. The MacBook Air in its stock configuration has 92.2 GB of 128 GB available for use (77.3%), while the Surface Pro comes with 89.7 GB free (75.2%). A significant portion of the Surface Pro's storage is taken up by a recovery partition, which if you choose to remove (at no cost to system capabilities) nets you more storage, increasing the amount of free space to 97.5 GB (81.8%).

It's also worth noting that Mac OS X and Windows report storage capacities in different ways. OS X likes to use the decimal (Base 10) system, meaning a drive advertised as 1000 GB will show up as very close to 1000 GB in the OS; Windows, on the other hand, uses the binary (Base 2) system, meaning the same "1000 GB" drive will show up as only 931.5 GB.

Not only that, but the total capacity of the Surface Pro and MacBook Air "128 GB" disks are different. When comparing both in Base 2, the MacBook Air's disk is only 112.2 GB while the Surface Pro's is 119.1 GB - so where did the Air lose 7 GB? As it turns out, the Air's solid state drive contains a hidden EFI and Restore partition amounting to roughly that missing space, which unlike the Surface Pro cannot be re-purposed to add more free space.

Using the Recovery Drive wizard you can transfer the Surface's 7.8 GB recovery partition to a USB flash drive, bumping the total free space on the unit up to 97.5 GB. The MacBook Air's recovery partition cannot be removed, so you're stuck with a maximum of 92.2 GB of free space and less than the Surface Pro after a simple tweak has been applied.

At the end of the day though, both systems have very similar capabilities and very similar free storage space, and the large percentage available on the 128 GB units should be more than enough for day-to-day work.

Source and Images: ZDNet

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This whole storage space thing is silly. Computers have always been sold with total drive capacity listed. No one has ever advertised a computer with XXGB of free space available. The microsoft surface is the first time i've ever seen this brought up. There are lots of other ultrabooks with SSD's on the market and i don't see these crazy topics of storage space brought up about them.

A better car analogy whoud be the car is advertised as 200HP. Guess what at the engine it's 200HP, but by the time you drive the alternator, power steering, a/c, water pump, and the drive train you get about 160HP. So thats 160HP you have access to out of your 200HP. Because the car needs 15% of it to run vital functions. I never see anyone complaining about that. Because its a known fact that 99% of car are listed as crank HP not wheel HP. Just like computers are listed as total drive space, not available drive space.

The problem is NOT the capacity with the 128gb but the capacity with the 64gb (a trap product). Also, 128gb for a full os, is not enough space., specially when the product is sell for a "pro" market.

Also, a full fledge OS in a 10" screen?, thanks but no!.

btw, OSX uses about 6gb x language and it is possible to get rids of other language & stuff, so this "study" looks a bit biased.

Brony said,
Also, a full fledge OS in a 10" screen?, thanks but no!.

Er yes please - this is a perfect laptop replacement for me at work! You get finger input, or a pen, or a mouse I don't see an issue.

128gb (or 90 or so) is easily enough for me to install all my apps (including VS2012) and have plenty of space for our entire codebase and build for it. Our build machine at work has a primary drive with 128GB and builds 8-10 products on a regular basis. The mechanical drive in it is used just for backups. On a pro i'll be able to stick in a memory card and/or USB sticks too, or carry a small portable drive etc etc. I think the 64 won't fit our needs but as a travelling dev i'm seriously happy with the pro as a potential purchase.

Why use a keyboard, Surface Pro with OneNote installed has very good handwriting recognition, and that is when I use a mouse let alone a Pen

I'd gladly take a MacBook Air that will last me several more hours and is lighter for portability, over the Surface Pro.

JHBrown said,
I'd gladly take a MacBook Air that will last me several more hours and is lighter for portability, over the Surface Pro.

3,5hours under full load of a MBA vs the surface pro's 4hr+?
How is that more time?

JHBrown said,
I'd gladly take a MacBook Air that will last me several more hours and is lighter for portability, over the Surface Pro.

Read again, ignorant.

The flack that Microsoft received did not happen after they announced that they had been conservative with their estimates (by about 6-7GB), it occurred after they (themselves) originally confirmed that the 64GB Surface Pro would have 23GB of free space. Yes, there was also mention of the 128GB model only having 83GB free, but, by and large, the "outcry" was directed at the introductory model for having a paltry ~36% of free space (i.e. more "used-up" space) because the majority of its bigger brother's/sister's drive capacity still had ~65% left-over.

So fine, ignoring that Apple's laptop comes with iPhoto/Garageband/iMovie pre-installed on top of the applications that compete with what the Surface comes with, the 128GB MBA still wins against the 128GB Surface Pro OOTB, with the latter retaking the crown after a simple clean-up utility that regains the space stolen by the recovery partition (although if this was a general consumer product, I'm not sure the majority would use such a feature). As I said earlier though, the problem wasn't really with this model in the first place.

The main perpetrator was the 64GB Surface Pro. This model still comes with less than 50% free space (bumped up to almost 60% if the recovery partition is removed). What does Ed Bott have to say about the comparison between the 64GB versions of the Surface Pro and MBA? Answer: "Based on my extrapolations, I expect that the MacBook Air will compare more favorably to a Surface Pro in this configuration." Heck, even if the Surface Pro beat the MBA here, people should still be able to bitch about it (and the MBA) for not having the majority of the drive capacity as available, free space OOTB.

Edited by Manish, Feb 8 2013, 2:40am :

Well let see with the 128GB, it has 83GB available space. So the OS and pre-install apps will take around 45GB.

With the 64GB, it will be 64GB - 45GB (OS and pre-install apps) = 19GB.

I don't know how your mind works. But it seems like you think with the 64GB, the OS and pre-installed apps should be less? ...

The Surface was pitched as 'No Compromises' At it launch they kept saying No Compromises, No Compromises, No Compromises, No Compromises, the Surface has turned out to be all compromises including less than 50% of the drive space being available to the customer.

MDboyz said,
You are complaining that it only leave you less than 50% of available space on the 64GB. Of course, it's because the storage is smaller.

You're failing to see the point(s) being made. The 128GB Surface wasn't the issue to begin with, so I personally don't see much point in "crunching numbers" for that particular spec. The actual complaint was for the 64GB Surface Pro, which seems like it was created as an afterthought following the production of the 128GB model. To compare, Apple manages to leave around 45GB free (base 2) in the 64GB MBA.

In my opinion, there shouldn't be a device, from anybody not just Microsoft, where you're left with less than half of the drive capacity OOTB. That is why they received deserved flack for the 64GB model. Let's say that Windows took up 64GB and Microsoft had released the same size models, would you still think the 64GB offering was acceptable with 0GB free space OOTB?

Whilst we are at it... if you are going to use "decimal bytes" why not put the numbers into some imaginary "decimal bits" that would yield an even better lie!

The issue is expectations. With phones and tablets storage space is the main distinguishing feature between models, which isn't the case with laptops or desktops. It's incredibly misleading to use storage capacity as the main selling point when the user only has access to a fraction of it (this is especially true when we're talking about the lower end models). When you buy a 64GB iPhone or iPod the vast majority of the storage is available to the user; with tablets they advertise capacity in the same way but don't inform users about the difference in available space. People's expectations are different.

It's like buying a car with seven seats only to find out that two are taken up by the engine, which you can't get rid of (for obvious reasons). If you can't use those seats then why are they advertised?

theyarecomingforyou said,
It's like buying a car with seven seats only to find out that two are taken up by the engine, which you can't get rid of (for obvious reasons). If you can't use those seats then why are they advertised?

That's a horrible analogy.

People would be outraged if a "7 seat" car only had 5 seats, because it would be blatantly false advertising.

When it comes to storage in a device, the stated amount refers to the capacity of the drive, and not the capacity of the drive after software is installed. Not only is this mentioned on the box of the product and the product's website, but people are generally aware that even a 16 GB iPhone will not have 16 GB of free space. Also you CAN actually use the whole 128 GB of a Surface Pro's storage, if you completely wipe it.

Scorpus said,
That's a horrible analogy.

People would be outraged if a "7 seat" car only had 5 seats, because it would be blatantly false advertising.

That's exactly why people are outraged. How is it a horrible analogy? The car still has seven seats, it's just the engine is on two of them and you can never use them - it didn't claim you could use the seats, just that they exist. That's exactly the same situation with the Surface and it's storage space being taken up by the operating system and applications.

Yes an horrible analogy... a better "car analogy" would be to suggest a car is advertise with a boot/trunk storage of 1000litres. But you later find out that boxes of files can only use 800litres of space mainly because some of the space cannot be used because of the shape of the rear view Windows No-one would take a car back and complain in this instance.

Of course a note saying "free space after installation of windows = X GB" wouldn't do any harm, its sort of irrelevant .... no-one would read it in the small print anyway.

lt8480 said,
Yes an horrible analogy...

Please explain why the analogy is flawed, as I'm genuinely interested to know. Both involve a product being advertised primarily on a particular feature but not being able to use the full amount of it due to preinstalled components. The assumption with storage space - like with seats - is that the user has access to it.

theyarecomingforyou said,

That's exactly why people are outraged. How is it a horrible analogy? The car still has seven seats, it's just the engine is on two of them and you can never use them - it didn't claim you could use the seats, just that they exist. That's exactly the same situation with the Surface and it's storage space being taken up by the operating system and applications.

If you remove the engine of the car to reclaim the seats, the car stops working.

If you remove Windows from the Surface Pro, the unit still works. You could boot into an OS from external storage if you really wanted to.

Horrible analogy, but I agree with you. This already has been an issue people have complained over, I've heard it first hand at work. The next problem I see coming is regarding Office not being installed on the Surface Pro.

I understand very well why it won't, but seeing as customers already complain that the laptop or desktop computers do not come with Office, I don't doubt for a second that someone's gonna pick up the Surface Pro with this same expectations, especially seeing that the Surface RT will, and it'd only be "logical".

Scorpus said,
If you remove the engine of the car to reclaim the seats, the car stops working.

If you remove Windows from the Surface Pro, the unit still works. You could boot into an OS from external storage if you really wanted to.

That makes no sense. If you remove the operating system the tablet stops working; if you remove the engine the car stops working. If you install the operating system using external storage the tablet will work again with the full storage capacity; if you install the engine externally then the car will work again and you'll have all your seats back. Where's the difference?

That's like saying that a car has a total carrying capacity of 1000 lbs, but the car itself weighs 448 lbs, leaving only 552 lbs for passengers. 552 lbs is not enough to carry 5 average size adults. The competition also advertises carrying capacity of 1000 lbs, but the car itself weights only 125 lbs (it is a very lightweight car), leaving 875 lbs for passengers, which is possible for 5 average adults.

A prospective owner would think that it's a fair comparison that they both carry 1000 lbs total, but it is not. That is misleading.

It's the same argument as when Apple were advertising "4G LTE" in countries that don't support it. Yes it IS a "4G LTE" chip, but no you can't use it.

Simon- said,
That's like saying that a car has a total carrying capacity of 1000 lbs, but the car itself weighs 448 lbs, leaving only 552 lbs for passengers. 552 lbs is not enough to carry 5 average size adults. The competition also advertises carrying capacity of 1000 lbs, but the car itself weights only 125 lbs (it is a very lightweight car), leaving 875 lbs for passengers, which is possible for 5 average adults.

Close, but you're missing the point of this article. I'll try using your analogy:

It's like saying that a car has a total carrying capacity of 1000 lbs, but the car itself weighs 448 lbs, leaving only 552 lbs for passengers. 552 lbs is not enough to carry 5 average size adults.

The competition also advertises carrying capacity of 1000 lbs, but the car itself weights only 440 lbs (it is a very lighter car but not by much), leaving 560 lbs for passengers, which also isn't enough for 5 average size adults, but people have been driving those cars for 2 years and the internet didn't throw a fit about it.

Why are you showing how much space the surface has without the recovery partition but you don't do the same thing for the MBA? You know it does have a recovery partition too right?

Note that I didn't make these graphs, but I assume it's because removing the partition in Windows is significantly easier to do than on Mac OS X. On OS X it looks like you need to either wipe the entire drive and reinstall the OS, or use command line to find, delete and merge partitions.

The Recovery Partition on Mac OS X is 650MB (at least on my MBP). If there is no valid recovery partition on a Mac OS X system, then the EFI will do a full reinstall from the internets. (The recovery partition doesn't contain the entire system, only enough to do recovery/maintenance/research tasks). The recovery partition/image on PCs is out of date the moment they ship.

Some people might blow off the restore partition, saying the iPad doesn't need things like that. But if something does happen to your iPad what are you going to do? You need a full computer, like the Surface Pro, to actually restore that thing, hence your restore partition is actually needs the use of another device, unlike the Surface where it is on the device, or you have the option of backing it up onto just media, so not need to even need another working device to restore it. Thought I'd just mention that.

On an iOS device say you have a 32GB iPhone or iPad right? When you have the iOS device installed you have around 28 GB left. How do people say that its acceptable on a Surface that you have less than 15GB left on a 32GB device?

shadodemon said,
On an iOS device say you have a 32GB iPhone or iPad right? When you have the iOS device installed you have around 28 GB left. How do people say that its acceptable on a Surface that you have less than 15GB left on a 32GB device?

It's 22 GB (source: I actually own a surface), why the 6 gb difference? Recovery partition and office.

As was already stated you can move the partition onto a flash drive, and you can't even get Office for iPad.

Edited by Brandon C., Feb 8 2013, 3:20am :

I never said I had an iPad or an iPhone you drink you funny juice somewhere else, dont put words in peoples mouth. I hate that crap when people do that! 6GB difference does make a huge difference. Learn your manners you dont put words in peoples mouths.

shadodemon said,
On an iOS device say you have a 32GB iPhone or iPad right? When you have the iOS device installed you have around 28 GB left. How do people say that its acceptable on a Surface that you have less than 15GB left on a 32GB device?

BECAUSE SURFACE IS RUNNING A FULL OPERATING SYSTEM, NOT A MOBILE OS MADE FOR DEVICES...

Your Cable Modem is using less space too, but is far inferior as well.

This is NOT A DEVICE class product, especially when it more feature rich than a FULL MacBook Air. (MacBook Air doesn't do touch, can't be used in Slate/Tablet mode, and does not support inherent handwriting recognition.)

If you want to keep comparing an iPad to 'full computers', then we all will start comparing an iPad to Scientific Calculators.

But as siah1214 mentioned, you can move the recovery partition to USB flash. So in the end, they are pretty much the same, except for the space taken by pretty close to a full blown version of MS Office. Well worth it!

But this is not the issue, the issue is that such a low-capacity version of the RT was offered (32GB) taking up much more space percentage wise (50% of advertised space) than these 128GB versions you have compared here (approx 12.5% of advertised space)

Simon- said,
But this is not the issue, the issue is that such a low-capacity version of the RT was offered (32GB) taking up much more space percentage wise (50% of advertised space) than these 128GB versions you have compared here (approx 12.5% of advertised space)

Ya this is the POINT. Both the Surface RT and Surface Pro are running FULL operating systems with far more features than the iPad and far more features than even the MacBook Air.

If you want to compare 'devices' then iPad is falsely advertising space available as well, because you DO NOT GET the full 32gb or 64gb on it either.

So comparing the iPad to my Scientific Calculator demonstrates that the iPad is false advertising 'space' and is a bloated product in comparison.

Microsoft is NOT advertising 'free space', it is advertising 'capacity' - just like ALL PCS have been advertised for the past 30 years. And the RT and Pro are PCs. (Yes the RT as well, it is running the FULL version of Windows 8, just compiled for ARM, it is not a reduced feature 'mobile' or 'device' OS.)


PS You need to work on your math. 97GB free of 128GB is not 12.5% free space.

No, you are still completely missing the point.
The issue was with the Surface RT 32GB model, which had almost 50% USED space by the OS, compared to the iPad (Competitor of the RT even if you don't like it), Surface RT 64GB, Surface Pro 128GB and MacBook Air 128GB and so on are about 12.5% USED by the OS.

As far as calling RT a "FULL" OS, I take exception to this. It is a "Lite" OS. According to Microsoft documentation "Windows RT, Microsoft Office and built-in apps" uses 8GB & "Reserved space for Windows recovery tools" is 5GB.

http://www.microsoft.com/Surfa...rage/surface-disk-space-faq

According to this article 128GB capacity - 97.51 (free space without recovery) is 30.49GB for the OS. 97.51 - 89.7 = 7.81GB for the recovery.

Now you don't get 30.49GB down to 8GB without making the OS less than "Full". In fact, compatibility with x86 is completely stripped away. The "FULL" OS is designed for x86 compatibility.

Now I'm not saying that RT is not a good OS, all I'm saying is that it is on the same level as the iPad (Also not a "FULL" OS compared to it's OS X base), which this is a comparison of "FULL" Operating Systems.

Basically the article is making wrong assumptions by comparing "FULL" OS to "Lite" OS, iPad uses less than 15% of space for OS, Surface RT 64GB less than 22.5%, MacBook Air 128GB less than 28.8%, Surface Pro 128GB less than 30%. But Surface RT 32GB a Whopping 44.82%. Don't discount recovery partition because this is part of the OS, and MacBook Air has one too.

To a consumer, the target market of the RT, this means less movies, music, apps, photos and so on which the iPad (Despite your hatred) is quite capable of fulfilling to the target market.

That's not an accurate assessment. iOS is an entirely different OS from OS X. They share some low-level pieces, but it's more along the lines of WinPhone 8 versus Windows 8/RT.

x86 compatibility isn't something that was "removed." Code compiled for x86 simply can't be executed by an ARM processor.

Windows RT is about the same size as Windows 8 x86. The 64-bit (x86-64) version is larger (for a few reasons, but mainly because it includes a 32-bit copy of most libraries). There are few legacy things trimmed out of Windows RT but you'd never notice their absence (i.e. TWAIN scanner support) and they don't make a substantial impact on disk footprint.

Simon- said,
As far as calling RT a "FULL" OS, I take exception to this. It is a "Lite" OS. According to Microsoft documentation "Windows RT, Microsoft Office and built-in apps" uses 8GB & "Reserved space for Windows recovery tools" is 5GB.

RT is full blown 8 - it doesn't ship with x86 drivers (and a heap of other x86 related stuff) but it still has all the components of 8 along with the same capabilities. It's a far more feature-full OS than something like iOS - MS' approach is very different from Apple's in this respect (otherwise they'd of just ARM-compiled OSX for their tablets - which is essentially was MS *has done*). Consider even stock features of an OS like multitasking and you'll see a world of difference.

You may as well say than NT for DEC Alpha wasn't a full version of NT by way of not being x86 compatible.

Really RTs only real restriction compared to desktop/pro 8 is that it can't run x86/x64 code. Think about it.

thenetavenger said
Both the Surface RT and Surface Pro are running FULL operating systems with far more features than the iPad and far more features than even the MacBook Air.
Surface RT does NOT have the full version of Windows 8. It can't run any x86 apps. Only the ones that were compiled for ARM. Other than that, the only other apps that can run are the mobile apps from the Windows Store.

dtourond said,
Surface RT does NOT have the full version of Windows 8. It can't run any x86 apps. Only the ones that were compiled for ARM. Other than that, the only other apps that can run are the mobile apps from the Windows Store.

So is Android on x86 not the FULL version of Android, even though it can't run apps compiled for ARM?

Windows RT is the FULL OS, it's just restricted. And as the hack from a month ago shows, it has the capability of running third party Win32 programs if that restriction was removed.

mrp04 said
So is Android on x86 not the FULL version of Android, even though it can't run apps compiled for ARM?

Windows RT is the FULL OS, it's just restricted. And as the hack from a month ago shows, it has the capability of running third party Win32 programs if that restriction was removed.

A Full OS should be able to do everything it's suppose to do. It's a full Windows RT but not the full, original Windows. Otherwise It'd be able to run all the apps that Windows can normally run.

And that hack did allow other apps to run, but they had to be compiled for ARM processors.

dtourond said,
A Full OS should be able to do everything it's suppose to do. It's a full Windows RT but not the full, original Windows. Otherwise It'd be able to run all the apps that Windows can normally run.

And that hack did allow other apps to run, but they had to be compiled for ARM processors.

Your definition of "full" is very strange. You seem to have defined it as "x86 compatible." I don't think that's what anyone else means. What they mean is that it's the same code as Windows 8, just built with an ARM compiler instead of an x86 one.

RT is not a "FULL" Windows 8, as in, in order to trim it down from 21GB to 8GB (their website now updated to say this), they needed to cut out all of the legacy drivers, apps and Win32 APIs that they can to make RT still run the bare minimum that it can for Modern UI, Built-in Desktop apps, and Microsoft Office 2013 to work.

I am aware that hacks have proven that Win32 ARM apps can be compiled and run on Surface RT, but the API is going to be more limited to be able to port just anything with just a simple recompile. Legacy compatibility is still part of the "FULL" Windows experience, which has been Wndows biggest draw card for the last 20 years or so, because it's the pre existing apps that only run on Windows that drive sales. Remember DEVELOPERS DEVELOPER DEVELOPERS?

They are only so many apps that are can be rewritten for Modern or Win32 ARM APIs on a dime. Most large software products, mainly business ones are just too big to have the time and money to completely rewrite it. Why do you think that there is no Modern UI Microsoft Office? Much easier to make the Windows APIs fit into Microsoft Office's API usage than to rewrite Microsoft Office's API usage fit into the Modern UI APIs.

I'm not saying that it is a bad thing that Windows RT is not a "FULL" OS of the Windows 8 parent, it is a necessary compromise to go head to head with iPad and Android, just as iOS is not a "FULL" OS X of it's parent and Android is heavily modified from a Desktop Linux system, but it is just pointing out a fact that using the line "BECAUSE IT IS A FULL WINDOWS 8" when referring to the *RT* is really a poor excuse for the platform's shortcomings, because it is NOT a full OS, or are the two competitors, and they CAN be compared head to head until RT can handle any legacy desktop app that you can throw at it (even if it needs an ARM recompile) like a "FULL" OS can.

With the Windows NT DEC and Android x86 example, one could take an NT DEC or Android x86 app source code, recompile with no or trivial source code change, and have an app on the other platform. Can't do that from Windows 8 to RT even with restrictions removed, unless your app only us the same APIs that Microsoft Office use.

Edited by Simon-, Feb 10 2013, 3:00am :

Simon- said,
RT is not a "FULL" Windows 8, as in, in order to trim it down from 21GB to 8GB (their website now updated to say this), they needed to cut out all of the legacy drivers, apps and Win32 APIs that they can to make RT still run the bare minimum that it can for Modern UI, Built-in Desktop apps, and Microsoft Office 2013 to work.

I was a dev on Windows 8/RT. I can tell you this is not true. Windows 8 does not take up 21GB, first of all. The disk footprint of Windows 8 (x86) and RT is very similar. There were certainly legacy things which didn't make sense to port, like TWAIN scanner support (they simply don't exist for ARM and never will). Obviously there are fewer inbox drivers because there's less hardware to support. There are also a few things not included to simplify the experience, i.e. Windows Media Player. That all reduces the size a bit, but not to the degree you're claiming. It's also worth pointing out that all Windows RT devices support Connected Standby and thus don't make use of a hibernation file, which reduces some of the disk space used in normal operation of the OS. Some Windows 8 devices are configured that way too (i.e. the new Atom SOCs, because they too support CS).

However, from a technical (not policy) standpoint, recompiling a Windows 7 or 8 app to run on Windows RT is just the same as recompiling it to target any other 32-bit Windows architecture. That is, unless you include x86 ASM in your codebase, you're not going to have a problem.

Can't do that from Windows 8 to RT even with restrictions removed, unless your app only us the same APIs that Microsoft Office use.

You just made that up.

Brandon Live said
Your definition of "full" is very strange. You seem to have defined it as "x86 compatible." I don't think that's what anyone else means. What they mean is that it's the same code as Windows 8, just built with an ARM compiler instead of an x86 one.
It's not really strange. One version of Windows can't run x86 apps. The other, can. Therefor, Windows RT is not the full version of Windows because it can't do one of the most important things that Windows has been able to do for years, running x86 programs. Yes, with the hack it can run Desktop apps coded for ARM but that's different than traditional x86.

dtourond said,
It's not really strange. One version of Windows can't run x86 apps. The other, can. Therefor, Windows RT is not the full version of Windows because it can't do one of the most important things that Windows has been able to do for years, running x86 programs. Yes, with the hack it can run Desktop apps coded for ARM but that's different than traditional x86.

You're just repeating what we've already been over. The Alpha, MIPS, and PPC versions of Windows were all "full" versions of Windows, even though they couldn't run x86 apps (although the first could in some cases via a separate emulator).

It's like you're saying the ARM CPU isn't a "full" CPU because it can't execute x86 instructions. It is very bizarre to consider the word "full" to be synonymous with "x86." That's not what anyone means when they say Windows RT is "full Windows." They mean it's an ARM port of the same code that makes up Windows 8.

Brandon Live said
It's like you're saying the ARM CPU isn't a "full" CPU because it can't execute x86 instructions. It is very bizarre to consider the word "full" to be synonymous with "x86." That's not what anyone means when they say Windows RT is "full Windows." They mean it's an ARM port of the same code that makes up Windows 8.
Windows RT is the full version of Windows RT because it does everything that it's suppose to do.

If you compare Windows RT to 8 you'd see that RT is not the full version because it is rather limited to what it can do. RT is only capable of running apps from the Windows Store and programs that are (re) compiled to work on the ARM processor. Therefor Windows RT in comparison to 8 is not the full version.

It does everything it's suppose to do but since it can't run x86 programs like Windows 8 and all the previous versions of Windows, it is not the full version.

The x86 version of Windows 8 is "only" capable of running programs (re)compiled for the x86 processor. Does that mean it's not the "full" version of Windows 8 because it can't run x64 or ARM compiled programs?

It does everything it's suppose to do but since it can't run x86 programs like Windows 8 and all the previous versions of Windows, it is not the full version.

This is just wrong, there's no way around it. There have been several previous versions of Windows which could not run x86 programs. They were all "full" versions of Windows (they weren't trials, or "lite" versions, or pared down versions, or anything like that). Having software emulation capability for other architectures is *not* a feature of Windows 8 or RT. They are equivalent in this regard (and basically every other, from a technical standpoint).

I'm done arguing. This is like talking to a wall.

Brandon Live said
The x86 version of Windows 8 is "only" capable of running programs (re)compiled for the x86 processor. Does that mean it's not the "full" version of Windows 8 because it can't run x64 or ARM compiled programs?
Well for one. Windows has never had ARM support up until now so the full experience that people are used to is the one that offers x86 and x64.

I found an article from CNET that talks about the Surface Pro and it says there:

CNET
Surface with Windows 8 Pro is "a 64-bit tablet PC." That's not a trivial point. You get all of the goodness of 64-bit computing via Intel's power-efficient Core i5 Ivy Bridge processors. Surface RT, on the other hand, is 32-bit only
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1080...urface-pro-64-bits-and-all/
I also checked on 3 other websites to confirm that the Surface Pro does have a 64-it processor. That means that it can run 32-bit and 64-bit programs.

The point is, Windows 8 is the full experience. Full means, the more you can do with it. If you can't do much with it, then it's probably not the full experience. Windows RT is the full RT experience because it does everything that it's suppose to do, but if you compared it to the full Windows 8 OS, there is a difference in what it can do.

Edited by dtourond, Feb 12 2013, 9:12pm :

dtourond said,

I also checked on 3 other websites to confirm that the Surface Pro does have a 64-it processor. That means that it can run 32-bit and 64-bit programs.

What does that have to do with anything?


The point is, Windows 8 is the full experience. Full means, the more you can do with it. If you can't do much with it, then it's probably not the full experience. Windows RT is the full RT experience because it does everything that it's suppose to do, but if you compared it to the full Windows 8 OS, there is a difference in what it can do.

No, that was not the point. The point was that there are two versions of Windows 8 Pro. There's an x86 one, and an x64 one. The x86 one can only run a subset of the programs that the x64 one can. But they're both "full" versions of Windows 8. Same goes for RT. It's just a different brand to distinguish the third architecture variant, as well as some policy decisions (like required automatic updates, and only being able to install apps from the Store). Otherwise it's the same code, just as much as the x86 and x64 versions are.

Brandon Live said
What does that have to do with anything?
You said that
The x86 version of Windows 8 is "only" capable of running programs (re)compiled for the x86 processor
Windows 8 can run 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) based programs. Unless you're running Windows 8 on a PC or laptop that doesn't have a 64-bit processor, then you're stuck with only 32-bit programs. And the Surface Pro comes with an 64-bit processor so it can run both 32 and 64-bit programs; something that the Surface RT can't do.

Brandon Live said
No, that was not the point. The point was that there are two versions of Windows 8 Pro. There's an x86 one, and an x64 one. The x86 one can only run a subset of the programs that the x64 one can. But they're both "full" versions of Windows 8. Same goes for RT. It's just a different brand to distinguish the third architecture variant, as well as some policy decisions (like required automatic updates, and only being able to install apps from the Store). Otherwise it's the same code, just as much as the x86 and x64 versions are.
Yes, you're right about that. Windows 8 and some previous versions have come with a 32 and 64-bit version. Windows 8 (32 or 64-bit) is the full experience of Windows because you can do a lot more with a 32 or 64-bit processor than you can with an ARM processor. In the year few years we'll see a lot more apps in the Windows Store that'll be compatible with Windows RT.

dtourond said,
You said that
Windows 8 can run 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) based programs. Unless you're running Windows 8 on a PC or laptop that doesn't have a 64-bit processor, then you're stuck with only 32-bit programs.

Absolutely not true. You can run the x86 version of Windows on a 64-bit processor, and you will NOT be able to run 64-bit programs. Many computers ship this way, though the number has obviously gotten fewer over the last few years.

And the Surface Pro comes with an 64-bit processor so it can run both 32 and 64-bit programs; something that the Surface RT can't do.

Neither can most of the Atom-powered tablets running Windows 8. They're still running "full" Windows 8. Just not 64-bit Windows 8.

Yes, you're right about that. Windows 8 and some previous versions have come with a 32 and 64-bit version. Windows 8 (32 or 64-bit) is the full experience of Windows because you can do a lot more with a 32 or 64-bit processor than you can with an ARM processor.

ARM processors are all 32-bit or 64-bit processors (mostly the former).

Brandon Live said
Absolutely not true. You can run the x86 version of Windows on a 64-bit processor, and you will NOT be able to run 64-bit programs. Many computers ship this way, though the number has obviously gotten fewer over the last few years.
Well that would obviously be a dumb move to make.

Brandon Live said
ARM processors are all 32-bit or 64-bit processors (mostly the former).
But since they're coded in ARM, it won't work the same. If they could, then Windows RT would be able to run all traditional programs just like the Surface Pro.

dtourond said,
Well that would obviously be a dumb move to make.

No, it can be smart. 32-bit Windows takes up less disk space and works better on low-memory devices. There are advantages to going 64-bit but there are also disadvantages and in some situations they are more problematic.

But since they're coded in ARM, it won't work the same. If they could, then Windows RT would be able to run all traditional programs just like the Surface Pro.

What you're saying makes zero sense. Just leave it. CPUs of different architectures can't run code compiled for other incompatible architectures. ARM CPUs can't execute x86 code, no matter what OS is on them. x86 CPUs can't execute ARM code. x86 CPUs can't execute x64/AMD64 code, or MIPS code, or PowerPC code. It doesn't make any of them less "full" of a CPU, or the corresponding OS less "full" of an OS. The fact is, code written in a high-level/portable language like C++ can be recompiled unchanged to run on most of these architectures. If you take an x86 Windows program and compile it with the ARM compiler, then it will run on ARM CPUs with an ARM version of Windows. The only requirement is that all the same APIs and libraries are there, which they are. As was said above, the fact that Windows RT has a policy in place to only allow Microsoft and Windows Store signed code to run isn't relevant to this discussion.

Brandon Live said
No, it can be smart. 32-bit Windows takes up less disk space and works better on low-memory devices. There are advantages to going 64-bit but there are also disadvantages and in some situations they are more problematic.
I still think it's dumb, but there are advantages and disadvantages to everything.

Brandon Live said
What you're saying makes zero sense.
I'd like to think that what I said made a lot of sense, considering that has something to do with what we were talking about.

The point I was trying to make is that Windows RT offers a full experience, but if you compare that experience to Windows 8, then RT would be considerably less, since it can't do as much.

BoredBozirini said,
But with one I can ****ing type and the battery lasts more than 4 hours.

For typing and office work, u can get up to 5.5 hours on Surface Pro, read winsupersite review

3-4 hours is because some reviewers try to
loop 1080p video for hours or run some benchmark tools which is something unpractical for normal users

Oh, what if I told you, you can use any usb/wireless keyboard with Surface Pro for typing...no one force you to use the touch/type cover

...not too mention the benefit of 1080p 400nit display, the touch screen and pressure sensitive stylus too....does the Air have that? i bet you really like the cheap panel in Air

BoredBozirini said,
But with one I can ****ing type and the battery lasts more than 4 hours.

Yes, and you can use touch, write on the screen and have it recognize your handwriting, and draw on the screen like an expensive Wacom digitizer for painting, drawing, design, cad, etc.

Can the MacBook do that - NOPE.

Eins.MY said,

3-4 hours is because some reviewers try to
loop 1080p video for hours or run some benchmark tools which is something unpractical for normal users

This always irks me. For example, Walt Mossberg did a battery test of the Surface Pro where he said he turned of power saving features and looped a video until it died, and that was his assessment of battery life. Admittedly, he called it his "tough" battery test, so it's pretty much a worse case scenario, which came in at 4 hours.

But then it got picked up by Infoworld which reported the 4 hour figure but called it a "real-world" battery test, when it is anything but. Simply shoddy journalism.

Sources:

http://allthingsd.com/20130205...tweight/?utm_source=dlvr.it

http://www.infoworld.com/t/mic...results-are-sobering-212363

The MBA and Surface Pro are virtually identical components with the exception of an upgraded 1080p touchscreen. This exercise has revealed how far the Apple logo actually gets you.

Same CPU, same RAM, same GPU, same HDD, same battery life, very similar metal construction, yet one device is put on a pedestal by reviewers and the other is heavily criticized.

The lesson here is MS once again needs to learn to deceive users like Apple. This reminds me of the WP7.8 update. Had MS called the update WP8 like Apple does for it's updates that lack full features there would have been far less complaining and negative articles. Same here, if MS reported available storage using a different base number nobody would complain about storage space. MS needs to learn how to manage perception and predict when perception could turn negative on them.

Microsoft is marketing the Surface Pro as a "no compromise" tablet/laptop-hybrid. The MB Air is being marketed as a laptop only. Naturally, only one of these devices will be judged against tablets. And that has very little to do with any glowing logo on the back of these devices

Avatar Roku said,
The MBA and Surface Pro are virtually identical components with the exception of an upgraded 1080p touchscreen. This exercise has revealed how far the Apple logo actually gets you.

Same CPU, same RAM, same GPU, same HDD, same battery life, very similar metal construction, yet one device is put on a pedestal by reviewers and the other is heavily criticized.

The lesson here is MS once again needs to learn to deceive users like Apple. This reminds me of the WP7.8 update. Had MS called the update WP8 like Apple does for it's updates that lack full features there would have been far less complaining and negative articles. Same here, if MS reported available storage using a different base number nobody would complain about storage space. MS needs to learn how to manage perception and predict when perception could turn negative on them.

Difference is the surface is a tablet and the air is a laptop. The extra money gets you a computer you can type on your lap.

The cost of the air is comparable to ultrabooks.

The article above only mentions stores. However if you want to compare and ask where the extra money goes the air is lighter and the battery lasts at least twice as long.

REM2000 said,

Difference is the surface is a tablet and the air is a laptop. The extra money gets you a computer you can type on your lap.

The cost of the air is comparable to ultrabooks.

The article above only mentions stores. However if you want to compare and ask where the extra money goes the air is lighter and the battery lasts at least twice as long.

Sigh. The Pro is effectively an ultrabook - heck, it's guts are filled with the same bits, it runs full blown Windows and all it's apps. It's cost is in the same ballpark and no, the air 11" actually has less battery life. Crikey that Apple logo is blinding..