Typically not seen as the pinnacle of gaming operating system technology, but rather as the business operating system, Win2K is meant to do all the mundane things in life: spreadsheets, server management, and other assorted boring tasks. Every so often, we get the reader that keeps e-mailing in, asking about the gaming potential of this operating system. It's not something we do often, but occasionally we have to appease the few that play games on Windows 2000. So, for all you office gamers and power home users, enjoy -- it's your turn to be happy.
So what if 2000 is mainly used for work, why can't we play games on it? To start, Win2K is based on WinNT. That alone should send up big red flags. Machines running the WinNT kernel are meant to be stable; they are not built to run the latest and greatest video or sound cards, but they run rock solid on older equipment. Combine that with the fact that most games come with enough glitches to crash even a fresh install of Win98, what makes us think that a picky game would work on an equally picky operating system?
When it comes to Win2K or WinNT, the general question is one of support; performance is put on the backburner. The last printer I purchased didn't have any drivers for WinNT or Win2K. I emailed the company asking if any drivers were currently in production or if any were planned at all. The answer: NO. Fortunately this situation is getting better. Much of the newer hardware is supporting all the operating systems.
So now that more hardware is getting support, what about more software? Games are still pretty ramshackle when it comes to Win2K. Most of the big titles have support, but as a general rule the rest of the scene is hit-or-miss. The Need For Speed series doesn't have NT or 2000 support. The Quake series, on the other hand, is fine on NT and 2000. More games are supporting Win2K; but if you are an avid gamer, any of the Win9x operating systems would be much better choice for your gaming rig.
Our comparison tests the newest and best video cards to see how they will perform on this workaholic OS. Running the usual gauntlet of benchmarks, we have the ATI Radeon, GeForce2 GTS, and the Voodoo5 5500. Our results were out of this world, avert the eyes of small children, you have been warned. Without further ado - onto the tests!
We went into our games library and tested out a variety of games (the ones that hadn't been raided by those sketchy Gamers.com people yet) on Win2K and Win98. For the most part, games do work in Win2K, occasionally in limited capacity and performance. The most popular games such as Quake 3, Counter-Strike, and Diablo 2 work just fine as expected. You start hitting snags when you get into the mid-tier games and when you venture into the Nerf Arena Blast territory (i.e. games most people wouldn't be caught dead playing) that's where the problems crop up.