Yes folks, I have decided to take up the challenge. I have decided to take Windows 8 and install it on my Mac via boot camp. Boot camp essentially splits the Mac’s hard drive into two unequal portions(partitions to be proper), and allows the user to install windows 8 on the second partition. What you can then do is choose whether you want to boot into your mac’s main operating system(Mac OSX) or boot into Windows 8 and give your mac over to Windows 8. When you are done, simply shut down or restart and you will be able to boot back into OSX. So why would you want to do that? Well, you are pretty much getting close to all of the performance that the mac can offer. When playing games under Windows on a mac using boot camp, you will have pretty much full access to all the graphical power that the mac has to offer. This can be really useful especially when playing games such as Diablo 3 or Left 4 Dead 2.
The things that I needed were:
- A DVD with the 90-day trial version of Windows 8(or the Windows 8 RTM)
- Another blank DVD to put the boot camp support software onto
- The boot camp assistant software on the Mac
In my case, the test subject was my main computer and it was a Mid-2010 iMac with the following specs:
- Screen size: 27″
- CPU: Intel Core i3 3.2GHz
- HDD: 1TB Seagate HDD
- Built-in ODD
- Graphics Card: ATI Radeon HD 5670 512MB
- Memory: 12GB DDR3 1333(3×4)
- Built-in SD card reader
- Built-in iSight camera
So the first thing that I did was to launch the boot camp assistant on my Mac. I decided to allocate 73GB for Windows 8 and have the correct version of Windows 8 on a DVD. In this case, I had burnt a copy of Windows 8 Enterprise(64-bit) to a DVD before I installed.
I started off by launching the boot camp assistant and hit the continue button. As shown in this screenshot, I chose to install Windows 7 and download any support software that I needed. This could include drivers(the software that allows the hardware to talk properly to Windows).
As for the support software itself, I had the choice of either putting it on a DVD, or putting it on an external hard drive or USB Flash Drive, I chose to make a DVD. The boot camp assistant then set about downloading and putting my support software onto a DVD for me.
It was now time to choose how much of my Mac’s Hard drive I wanted to allocate to Windows 8. In this case, I decided to allocate 74GB to Windows 8. Next, it time to install Windows 8 onto the Mac. After what seemed like a lengthy partitioning process, I restarted my mac and chose to boot from the Windows 8 DVD that I created earlier. Since this was the 90-day evaluation version I did not need a product key as such. When I was asked what kind of install I wanted, I chose custom. From there, I selected the boot camp hard drive and under the “drive options(advanced)” I clicked on format.
At this point I was worried that I had chosen my Mac partition. However, I would advise you not to do that otherwise you will lose all of your data. If you do format your Mac OSX partition by mistake then I can’t be held responsible. Since this was the 90-day trial version of Windows 8 Enterprise I did not need to enter in a product key. Afterwards, it was just a case of a waiting game.
After the install was done, I restarted my Mac and booted back into the Windows 8 partition and everything was ready to go. As expected, I was asked to set up my user account for Windows 8 as well as personalise my install with my preferences. In addition to that, I had to link up my hotmail account so I went ahead and did that.
I have not seen anything else that is new in this build since the release preview(which will expire on 15th January 2013). The first thing that I did was to check out what apps there are in the Windows 8 app store. I have to say that there are now a lot more applications available than in the release preview. I should also say that even on the mac I was using, Windows 8 was still very snappy. I will definitely say that this latest build is definitely faster than the release preview and even more polished. In my experience of using this build of Windows 8 I have not experienced any bugs(knock on wood).
The other cosmetic change that I noticed was to do with the way the desktop Win-32 apps look on the new Windows 8 tile UI. As shown here, the icons for these apps have all been enlarged. In addition to that, I can also report that most of the older Windows “desktop apps” and metro apps worked well in my tests. Most of the hot corners worked perfectly. I was able to access the “charms” menu as well as see all of the windows that I had open.
And so we move to the hardware tests. I had a microsoft mouse along with a wired Apple keyboard plugged in. In my testing both of them worked well. In addition to that, the built-in iSight camera also worked well with the camera app on Windows 8. I also tested the camera app with my Logitech C615 and in my tests, pictures came out fine but videos recorded with a slower frame rate. That being said I am sure that the Logitech Webcam Software should be updated with support for Windows 8. The graphics card in the Mac also worked well. I played a round of left 4 dead 2 and Windows 8 handled it well. There was nothing noticeable in terms of a slow-down of frame rate. This also proved that the built-in speakers worked well.
All-in-all I can report that Windows 8 worked well on the mac. My only gripe is the new tile-based UI. I am sure that many of us will want to just use the desktop UI that we’ve been used to for a long time. I know that there is no start menu but that’s been replaced by the start screen. From what I have seen, most of the hardware and software worked well. If you are going to install Windows 8 on your mac, then I would recommend giving it a try before shelling out the full amount for a system builder’s copy. That way you can make sure that all of the hardware on your Mac will work as well. Just make sure that you back up your data before doing so.