I'd thought my times of operating system fiddling was finished after Christmas, but then I'd not banked on other things happening.
First of these was the issue running Adobe Lightroom 5.3 on the Macbook. While it meets Adobe's spec, in performance terms once I began using brushes and spot-removal techniques it slowed to a crawl, to the point where it was taking 20-30 seconds to show the spot I'd brushed over. Discussion online suggested a memory leak in the OSX version, and I'd already seen training videos where the demonstrator (using a Mac) described version 5 as 'herky jerky'.
Adobe's answer is, of course, use a top end machine with at least 16GB ram and a 6 core i7 processor and it will work great.
But users of the windows version reported a smooth, jerk-free performance, so I finally found a way to use the windows 8 pro upgrade I'd paid for last year and yesterday installed it on a spare HDD. And it WAS smoother and faster* - very noticeably so, rendering images in about half the time that the Mac required. The downside with this machine is that it uses 'old' DDR2 ram, and that's now expensive compared to current DDR3 stuff that won't fit. Offers of 'old' DDR2 2GB or 4GB memory sticks at bargain prices gratefully received. ;)
But, as always, there's a fly in the ointment. I tried to use a package I'd downloaded - perfect effects 8 - which requires a minimum 8GB memory, and it wasn't lying. Shortly after opening the package, while W8 was installing some updates PE8 took the system down and appears to have damaged the W8 install judging by the half-speed performance when it had repaired itself. Looks like time for ANOTHER install then. :p
And then my Macbook announced to me that it really, really wanted me to install OSX9 Mavericks. So made a backup-backup at home 'just in case', let it download the 'upgrade' all 5.3GB of it (!) and then off it went.
There's a few extra bits in there that are visible - an app to sell you books, a map app, calendar that looks different, a few odds and ends, but otherwise I can't *yet* see a significant difference between that & 10.8 that I had been running.
* A quick note on W8.
Microsoft do themselves no favours with their OOTB experience for users new to W8. This is the second time I've set up a machine with a fresh W8 install, and because the last time was a year ago, more or less, when you first arrive at the metro screen it's a bit uncompromising and intimidating TBH. They really shot themselves in the foot by not providing a walkthrough video or anything to help a new user - even Apple moving to an upgraded OS that looks just like the previous OS provide a walkthrough (maybe that's to convince you that you really did install an upgrade?). But Microsoft - no chance apparently.
Fortunately I'd remembered enough from last year to know that you have to use the right mouse button to access the login screen, then the windows key switched between start and desktop screens, and to turn off you have to move the mouse to the far right.
I had a brief moment of vacancy after reaching the start screen for the first time and was confronted with a collection of icky-coloured tiles to begin with. Fortunately I remembered quickly enough & culled almost everything except the desktop, internet exploder and bing tiles before replacing them with more obviously useful ones for computer management and program access. I really like the start menu when populated usefully, but bunging all the social networking, weather & news junk across it just makes it un-recognisable to anyone without a windows phone. Which is almost everyone. Bad move.
The other thing I'd forgotten is how much windows does disc access.
I'd used an old Seagate 250Gb SATA 1 drive, and the thing was making an absolute racket, all the more obvious because this computer is now almost silent. It's also noticeable because Linux installs simply don't seem to access the hard drive very much, at elast by comparison, and with 4GB ram available I guess they mostly load up what the need & run from there. Maybe that's why they also perform so relatively quickly compared to both windows and OSX?
Since there is now a DVD made after downloading yesterday I may well try W8 on the 1TB western 'green' drive, since that is also very quiet. It will wipe out my Pear and Sabayon partitions, but that's not an issue since I can easily reinstall them. Just need to check there's nothing on there not backed up.