Well, I'll start off with my opinion (as my user name implies) but I am sure you will receive many other contrarian opinions, so here goes:
I absolutely prefer winodws 8 over Windows 7; period! However, it does have a moderate leaning curve that one must get past to enjoy the benefits thereof. Anyway, I am not an apps guy so my first encounter with the new start screen was a disaster. In fact, I hated it! However, once I found a way to boot directly to the desktop via Classic Shell, I was very much impressed with the OS in general. I found it to be faster in all areas over win 7; period. And, the fast startup option (which for me replaced the Win 7 ready boost option) works fantastically under the right installation circumstances. Now, based on my experience (and configuration only), I am able to cold boot from power on to the desktop in about 7 seconds. Never had it that good under Win 7. Again, just "myopinion" as my user name implies. Good luck with your own decision.