We still haven't personally touched Windows 8 on an ARM-based device at Microsoft's Build convention -- save for a tiny pat -- but there are plenty of repurposed Windows 7 machines in Anaheim this week. Yesterday, we got our very own developer edition of Samsung's Series 7 slate (dubbed the Windows 8 Developer Preview PC) and today we tried an early version of Windows 8 on the MSI WindPad 110W and the Acer Iconia Tab W500. In case you've forgotten, each of these devices sport an low-power AMD Fusion APU inside, so this is our first look at how well lower-performance, longer-battery-life chips can power the new operating system.
While bezel gestures were a little tricky to activate on on the repurposed touchpanels, the first thing that hit us was how smoothly the Start screen scrolled, keeping up with our fingers even when we swiped rapidly or back and forth on the page, just as it did on more potent hardware. We also didn't have any trouble snapping windows in place on the desktop.
You wouldn't expect a six-watt AMD Z-01 or nine-watt AMD C-50 processor to compete with a Core i5 on raw performance, of course, and we found that both the Fusion chips didn't load apps or run them quite as quickly as the Intel slate, but both the MSI and Acer tablets seemed cool to the touch and didn't have noisy fans. These aren't the chips AMD actually intends to run Windows 8, too -- when the operating system comes out, AMD plans to launch devices based on the low-power 28nm Krishna and mainstream 32nm Trinity processors. See how current-gen AMD Fusion tablets performed in our pictures and video below