I see what creative did there. thanks.
Not sure, as I've only used it on Windows 8.1. If your reformatting anyways though, it would make sense to put Windows 8.1 on just to be up-to-date.
I've been using Win 8.1 with a SB-Z.
I use the program Classic Shell to make my Win 8.1 look like Win 7, so I can't really see a good reason for upgrading to Win 8.1.
As a matter of fact, I might need to replace my motherboard, might go back to Win 7 at the same time.
Windows 8 audio stack was slightly rewritten to include audio hardware acceleration again. The wasapi module is now able to offload streams directly to a hardware layer and bypass the software mixer. Nothing I have heard of or seen has used this yet though so its interesting to see how it will play out.
WINDOWS 7 Audio Stack
WINDOWS 8 AUDIO STACK
But just in general there were quite a few changes to 8 and 8.1 on the kernel side of things and optimizations to the memory management system. I noticed it did run a bit faster in certain situations in the desktop environment especially with SSD's. Also gaming wise there was a few fps difference in some of the titles but few and far between. BF4 had a big benefit in that it was more stable and ran faster in WIN 8. Not sure if it was due to its DX11.2 optimization that the devs were touting or not.
But just in general its a quicker OS that uses less resources and has better latency across different hardware. And like Chicolom said, there is no point not to have 8.1 if you are reformatting. Contrary to popular belief and Gaben fanboys(ughh...) Windows 8 is a good OS if you overlook the metro UI and install classic start. 8,1 brought back the start button somewhat although classic start is still the better alternative as its more robust.
+1 and many thanks for that comprehensive response DJ. How about the windows volume mixer? Is it still as scatty as Win 7: I'm having a hell of a time even after a complete reinstall - still getting bizarre clipping trying to balance it all..... and that's on the SBZ alone, optical out to my DAC, the onboard audio AND another USB headset... grrr. I'm using the DPC latency checker and that checks out. Anyway.. don't want to bang on about it and this isn't the place.
On a plus note I'm about to get BF4 soon so why the hell not - moar FPS is always good.
OK, this is another soundcard.. but I get this from my SBZ (on it's own). I know all, like all the things that have been suggested to correct the weird volume sh*t with Windows. At this setting (fresh install) it's at medium volume, but it's all compressed, clipped and not right at all. Any body else having this problem?
Gaben Fanboys. Nice. Almost every NeoGAF PC thread is full of that annoying worship.
Anyway, what will Creative do? So far they have nothing to offer against True Audio or anything else. They just don't care enough, not even the slightest Middleware support. No, nothing.
Well, they are shrinking anyway...
Full range speakers.. on or off for the SBZ range? I've seen posts from various contributors who have offered up contrary opinions on the matter, and I know at least it's to do with compression, but what does it do exactly ?
You'd think enabling it would be the thing to do... any consensus here???