Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is ready for serious business


— 10:30 AM on August 11, 2017

These days, multi-processor machines with mounds of memory are more accessible than ever. I can run down to Newegg Business and spec out some serious firepower. The thing is, hardware support in Windows 10 Pro maxes out at two physical sockets, 256 logical cores, and 512GB of RAM. There's also no support for NVDIMMs, Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) for 10-gigabit Ethernet adapters, or ReFS (by default). If I want to run Windows on my beast box, I'm going to have to step up to Windows 10 Enterprise, and the thought of weathering its licensing process is not enticing. Fortunately, Microsoft is about to release Windows 10 Pro for Workstations that can do all those things.

Microsoft didn't go into too much detail on its blog post, but highlighted the main differences from the standard Windows 10 Pro. The Resilient File System (ReFS) will be used by default on new installations, and SMB Direct mode will make use of RDMA on high-end network hardware for copying large amounts of data over the network faster and without loading up the CPU. The new Workstation edition will also support up to four physical CPUs and 6TB of memory.

The "Windows 10 Pro for Workstations" name itself might be little strange, though it harks back to the old Windows NT Workstation editions that were put to pasture with the release of Windows 2000 Professional. Unlike Windows 10 Enterprise, we'd guess that this edition of Windows might be sold directly to customers instead of going through a complicated licensing process, seeing as the company says it's intended for "power users." Amusingly, Microsoft's blog post makes continued reference to "AMD Opterons" rather than the company's current Epyc CPUs.

Microsoft didn't say how much Windows 10 Pro for Workstations would cost, nor how users would acquire it. We figure that it'll be available as an e-tail physical or download package and possibly through the Windows Store, much the same way Windows 10 Pro itself is. We'll know for sure later this year, as Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is supposed to debut with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

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