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  • Cost: $225
    Months on list: 2
    Price Change: $0

    This had to be the toughest call in the whole article. Windows 2000 Pro is possibly the best operating system to ever emerge from the bowels of Microsoft, and has stability and performance that exceeds Windows 98SE. The main issue is that of total game compatibility, and although Microsoft has been releasing a steady stream of Win 2000 Pro game updates, Win 98SE is still the king of the compatibility hill.

    If you play only newer games, it is doubtful that you would ever miss a beat, and Win 2000 Pro is getting better as each update supports more and more older games. Peripheral drivers were also somewhat of a problem, but as with games, the newer the product the more certainty you can have that Windows 2000 drivers exist.

    Personally, I have both Win 98SE and Windows 2000 Pro loaded on my primary home PC, and find that both have are very useful for specific tasks. Then again, I do find myself spending more and more time within Win 2000, and leaving Win 98SE alone for all but the most finicky games. If I had to pick just one operating system, Win 2000 Pro would probably come out on top based on its excellent stability, performance and more eye-catching user interface.

    As for the pricing data, this concerns the retail version and assumes a totally new purchase for a home built system. If you buy a pre-built PC or coordinate your hardware purchase correctly (usually a hard drive is the best bet to qualify) then going with the OEM version can end up saving you a few bucks. If you already own a copy of a Windows operating system (limited to Win 95 or Win NT 3.51 or newer) then you can also purchase the Win 2000 Pro upgrade version and potentially save some money as well.

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