Hmmm.... Thanks, Twelve25! Wow...am I feeling ignorant about this.
Admittedly, most of my turn-based strategy games and MS apps (Word, Excell, etc.)are older. I didn't know about the DirectX limit (thanks) which I'll probably bump up against sooner or later, but haven't so far.
I've heard just a little about "compatibility mode settings"...and what I've heard about them allowing my XP games and apps to run properly (or at all) on a Vista or Win 7.0 pc hasn't been promising.
Are "compatibility mode settings" (for running XP games and apps) much improved in Win 8.0 (over Vista and Win 7.0)?
Is there much of a performance hit?
Leaving the DirectX limitation aside for the moment, I guess the question might be: Would my XP games and apps run more smoothly and with less of a performance hit on a new Quad-core system under Win XP...or under Win 7.0 or 8.0 using "compatibility mode settings"?
I have never compared performance directly side by side, but I don't notice a performance hit when I have tried it. I don't think there is anything new and fancy for compatibility mode, so I wouldn't expect different results vs 7.
I'd probably prefer to just run the latest open source LibreOffice vs an old version of Office. You won't have any security patches or anything for that old code anymore. LibreOffice can read and edit Microsoft office documents.
You also may not be able to find drivers. XP is ten years old now and support is starting to wane. A newer system that was designed around Windows 7, probably didn't get any time dedicated to researching drivers for an old OS. At least check that out before buying if XP is you plan.
If your games and apps are that old, do they even need a new computer? Are you expecting a 10 year old game to have better graphics on a new computer? Will Office type any faster on the new Quad core? Maybe you should just leave the apps on the old computer, and put this new computer in for all your new apps. You could get a little KVM switch to swap between them.
Just an idea. I hate to see someone put a 10 year old OS on brand new hardware.
As Twelve25 said, finding drivers for XP on a newer computer will be difficult if not impossible. Much of what is said is excellent advice, and I really have no qualms with any of it. The only thing I'd suggest, is that if you're really worried about some older games is to buy a second computer. Some older refurb that was from the XP days. That will be dedicated to the older games you want to play (if you find they won't work with Windows 8), and then you have a primary computer for everything else.
I would make sure to keep the XP system completely off the Internet, which would allow you the benefit of not having to worry about an AV program or any of the other usual assortment of security software.
So first try running the various programs you want to run, and I'd be willing to bet most of them work just fine. If a sizable number doesn't, then you can go the second stand-alone retro/legacy gaming unit.