Windows Task Manager has been long a friend of those power Users. It is also true that for many years the technically savvy users have been taking advantage of features in Process Explorer from SysInternals. But you have to admit the UI Design on Task Manager is just easier to use as opposed to a super power tool such as Process Explorer. There has been plenty written about the new Task Manager’s Details Tab and Process’s Tab on Microsoft’s Windows Blog. But really to me the new differentiating factor is the new Performance tab on Windows 8 Task Manager.
I used to heavily use a program called Cpu-Z from CPUID to guess how many logical Processors vs. how many Physical or How many Cores a Windows Laptop might have. The Problem with that approach was that when I shopped for a computer in a place like BestBuy they had group policies set such that the Guest User would not be able to install any new programs on it. Thus it was virtually impossible to find out how many processors a computer had or whether virtualization is enabled or perhaps if the computer in question has enough room left to upgrade the RAM on that computer. But Starting with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Task Manager actually shows you how many logical processors your computer has, It even tells you whether virtualization is enabled on that Computer or Not.
But actually for me Task Manager’s Memory Pane of Performance Tab is the most welcome feature. It shows you how many slots of Free Ram you have left on that Computer. Of course it is true that the data provided is not even close to the level of granularity that CPU-Z Provides you about your hardware. But TaskManager really provides enough Information to satisfy most of what you need to know about your hardware.
The Figures below provide a contrast between what CPU-Z Provides and What Windows Task Manger shows you about your hardware.
Figure 1: the default Minimalist Task Manager View in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
Figure 2: The New CPU Pane of Performance Tab of Windows Task Manager
Figure 3: The New Memory Pane of Performance Tab of Windows 8
Figure 4: CPUZ- Showing how many Physical Processors, How many Cores and how many logical processors the Computer is running with.
Figure 5: Cpu-Z showing how many DIMMs of memory your Mother Board carries on board.