Microsoft: Windows 8 won’t require a hardware upgrade

The arrival of Windows Vista caused quite a fuss a few years back—not just because the operating system lacked polish, but also because it required beefier hardware than Windows XP. Will Windows 8 follow in the same footsteps? According to official Microsoft statements quoted by Thinq, not at all.

In fact, the site quotes Microsoft’s Tami Reller as saying, “In both of our Windows 8 previews, we talked about continuing on with the important trend that we started with Windows 7, keeping system requirements either flat or reducing them over time. . . . Windows 8 will be able to run on a wide range of machines because it will have the same requirements or lower.”

That promise ought to reassure some who might have been worried about Windows 8’s apparent emphasis on touch input. Of course, Reller’s statement should come as no great surprise, since Microsoft is also cooking up an ARM flavor of Windows 8. Next year’s ARM-powered tablets will no doubt be more powerful than today’s, but Windows 8 will have to make efficient use of system resources in order to provide a smooth user experience and to avoid draining battery life.

As Reller points out, the lack of steepened hardware requirements could also make Windows 8 an easier sell to enterprise users. I’m guessing some corporate types might be put off by the big, friendly tile interface, though, even if Windows 8 demos have shown an intact, Windows 7-style desktop lurking underneath.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t plan to upgrade from Win7 for a long time, considering it’s a very nice OS (how much eye candy do you need anyway?). But this is good news, as I want to get the most out of my investment and plan to keep my Phenom II for a long, long time.

    • DarkUltra
    • 8 years ago

    It would take a core i7 920 to make windows 7 gui feel as responsive as windows xp.

    [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay-gqx18UTM[/url<] HDD is also much slower in 7 than xp for some reason, but it helps greatly having a fast cpu. if you have a "slow" cpu, like core 2 duo 2ghz, an ssd is necessary or you'll have to wait a few minutes until everything is in the memory. I hope windows 8 ui is entirely direct2d, that would open up many possibilites, just look at the smooth gui of iphone and wp7 🙂

      • Krogoth
      • 8 years ago

      It is a an apples and oranges comparison between the different renders for the GUI.

      NT 5.x’s GUI is simpler by design which is why it is faster.

      NT 6.x offers more affects and eye candy, but at a cost. = slower.

      It is a non-issue for the vast majority of users, unless your hardware is really old.

      It looks like that video is actually showing a rendering bug with msc under NT 6.x. It is a very minor one, which is why it probably passed QA/testing.

    • swaaye
    • 8 years ago

    Well it’s not like they’re gonna come out and tell us how amazingly demanding it is and how it might need 16GB to run butter smooth. The only angle they will ever push is how streamlined, perfected and rightsized it is. 😉

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 8 years ago

    Not sure why Windows 8 has to try and sell the new Metro UI built for tablets and Kinect-like controls as something better for Windows. Hell, the inability to run more than two apps side by side is very limiting for the even slightly demanding PC user.

    Microsoft needs to realize that having two different interfaces, one for Kinect/touch and one for mice, makes more sense than shoehorning everyone into the same interface just cause.

      • cynan
      • 8 years ago

      I think that Microsoft developers do realize the value of the original style windowed interface. I also thank that this whole conception of Windows 8 as a “touch GUI OS” is simply due to MS marketing having their heads so far up their ****, which seems about par for MS.

      As far as I understand it, the new touch GUI was designed primarily for tablets and NOT for desktops. The fact that marketing has seemingly failed to make this distinction so far is… well… see previous paragraph. Instead of touting the new touch GUI as an added level of flexibility for OS interfacing, we have people who are now under the impression that MS intends Windows 8 to be primarily a touch screen OS, which is ridiculous. I mean, even if this [i<]was[/i<] a good idea, how many people would be prepared to chuck their monitors and buy one with a touch screen just to switch to Windows 8?

    • albundy
    • 8 years ago

    considering that its going to run on tablets, I’d think the hardware requirements should drop quite a bit.

      • PeterD
      • 8 years ago

      It’s only possible to drop the hardware req. by leaving things out, so: but having an installed version with lesse functionality. Which means you’ll by W8 and but end up with something like half a W8.

    • Neutronbeam
    • 8 years ago

    You know, right now I’m guessing that my current hardware won’t require a Windows 8 upgrade.

    • willmore
    • 8 years ago

    It’s supposed to run on ARM tablets, right? Well, I think my good ol’Q6600 will be faster than them for a few more years, so, yeah, I didn’t really expect to need to upgrade that for W8–assuming I even run W8.

    I’ll second the request for “Why would we expect it to require more resources, what does it add to W7?”

    • Anomymous Gerbil
    • 8 years ago

    Cyril, for enterprise users, hardware upgrades are a (relatively) minor issue when considering an upgrade to Windows. Testing hundreds or thousands of apps, re-writing them as required, and re-packaging them as required, is what takes most of the time and money.

    • Oldtech
    • 8 years ago

    So what’s the big deal. Vista came 10 years after XP. Did anyone really think that it would be optimized for 10 year old hardware?
    Windows 8 is barely 2 years newer than Windows 7. Of course it will run on the same hardware.

      • designerfx
      • 8 years ago

      your comparison makes zero sense, considering that xp and windows 7 have pretty much identical hardware requirements.

      edit: VV fair enough, not identical, I take back my comment.

      I guess more accurately would be saying “the requirements for win7 weren’t as drastic as the windows vista ones were at the time”

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        identical?

        from MS:
        “If you want to run Windows 7 on your PC, here’s what it takes:

        1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor

        1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)

        16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)

        DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher drive”

        “The minimum hardware requirements for Windows XP are:
        Pentium 233-megahertz (MHz) processor or faster (300 MHz is recommended)
        At least 64 megabytes (MB) of RAM (128 MB is recommended)
        At least 1.5 gigabytes (GB) of available space on the hard disk
        CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive
        Keyboard and a Microsoft Mouse or some other compatible pointing device
        Video adapter and monitor with Super VGA (800 x 600)or higher resolution
        Sound card
        Speakers or headphones”

        I think given the almost decade gap, 7 was pretty frugal, but they certainly aren’t identical.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 8 years ago

          That amount of recommended RAM is a bald faced lie. WinXP is painful to use with 256, I can only imagine how slow it would be with 128.

            • LaChupacabra
            • 8 years ago

            I don’t think Microsoft has updated those requirements since the original Windows XP.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      Six years, not 10. Your exaggeration was in the order of 67%

        • Taddeusz
        • 8 years ago

        How about 40%

          • Duck
          • 8 years ago

          6 plus 40% is 8.4

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Maybe Win8 is 100% less demanding than Win7?

          • derFunkenstein
          • 8 years ago

          You suck at math. 6 x 1.67 = 10

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Be nice. Math is haarrrd. On the other hand, which crime is worse on a tech site: misspelling/grammar or bad math…?

            Hmm… I would say I can tolerate both pretty well. Ridiculing someone because of a math error is bad form… it’s not particularly important to debate how 6 vs 10 should be represented correctly using percentages.

            • cynan
            • 8 years ago

            C’mon. Lighten up guys!

            To me this is almost worse than nitpicking on grammar because difference is largely one of semantics and depends on frame of reference.

            While I agree that “exageration” implies “what percentage of 6, added to 6, will give 10 (67%)”, if you would have said “The actual time between Win 7 and Win XP releases was 40% less than you stated”, this would be correct.

            So really, who cares. Lets not be petty and all just get along!

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 8 years ago

            Not be petty…on an enthusiast site where people come to argue with themselves that spending hundreds of dollars for 5% faster single threaded performance was the best way to spend that money?!?!? DOES NOT COMPUTE! BSOD IMMINENTSA*&D&^ASD&^*&ASD(ASDJ*&OIK

            • dpaus
            • 8 years ago

            Double-quotes or not, that should still be “exaggeration”

            (sorry, couldn’t resist…)

      • PetMiceRnice
      • 8 years ago

      OK well maybe Vista didn’t come out 10 years after XP, but it really didn’t come as a surprise at all that Vista would need a better computer to run than XP.

      But I do remember the uproar when the system requirements for Windows 95 were published. 4MB of RAM was required and they were recommending 8MB. It may seem laughable now but at the time I remember paying $75 per megabyte for memory.

        • PeterD
        • 8 years ago

        Fact is that Windows VIsta needed better hardware than lots of computers sold at that time.

          • kc77
          • 8 years ago

          Correct. The biggest issue was that the memory needed for the IGP wasn’t taken into account. So if the min spec for Vista was 512 and the machine shipped with 512 with IGP it really had 384 which really made Vista unusable.

        • yuhong
        • 8 years ago

        Yea, Raymond Chen’s blog documents some of the pain they had to take in order for Win95 to fit in 4MB.

      • mutarasector
      • 8 years ago

      Vista came 10 years after XP? Better check the math again…

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 8 years ago

    Like most of Microsoft’s operating systems, it’ll just require a considerable upgrade in [i<]patience.[/i<]

      • Krogoth
      • 8 years ago

      Zing!

      • carburngood
      • 8 years ago

      Or solitaire? 😛

        • Palek
        • 8 years ago

        Clever! 🙂

    • Sargent Duck
    • 8 years ago

    Other than the “big, friendly tile interface”, and a few tweaks here and there, what does WIndows 8 really bring to the table?

    Of course, I don’t expect anybody to answer that question as you’d have to work at Microsoft to know that…. and then you’d have signed a NDA.

      • Duck
      • 8 years ago

      All they are doing is adding more and more features. All I want is to remove nearly all features. Less is more. Windows 8 will be an easy one to pass on.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        well, then pass on it.

        You ARE able to remove features in windows now, so whilst it might be a pain for you, you are able to remove a ton, and they just install what a typical user might want to use.

        You’re correct that the big change is the new tile interface. they’re working on consistency across their product line, and while it pretty much is just for touch, windows 8 will still function like 7. if you don’t have a touchscreen, i’m not sure there’ll be too much to upgrade for, but i guess, we’ll have to wait and see.

          • Duck
          • 8 years ago

          Well it should be cheaper than home premium too. Win7 cut the fat edition. I like remote desktop so that means it’s Win7 pro for me which is expensive.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            or use logmein or showmypc. they both have free editions.

            • Duck
            • 8 years ago

            Meh.

            Even if I use home premium, there’s still a tonne of functionality I am paying for (like media centre) that I don’t want.

            I just want the most basic an uncrippled Windows OS. The lowest price and hardware requirements. Even home premium limits the amount of RAM you can have. Win7 Pro is still the cheapest non crippleware version at the moment.

      • codedivine
      • 8 years ago

      ARM port?

        • Kurotetsu
        • 8 years ago

        There’s also the part about it being entirely .NET based and running inside a virtual machine I think? Though I don’t know how true that one is.

      • PeterD
      • 8 years ago

      Erm…. Adding money to MS’s pile?

      • mnecaise
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]what does WIndows 8 really bring to the table?[/quote<] an improved kernal.

      • Rakhmaninov3
      • 8 years ago

      Win 8 will be able to involve a lot more cloudiness than 7

    • Krogoth
    • 8 years ago

    Not surprising at all, because Windows 8 is nothing more than Windows 7: Touchscreen Edition.

    I don’t understand why developers think touchscreens are going to replace GUI, let alone the CLI. Touchscreens only make sense for some situations and platforms. It is not going to work for everything, unfortunately the industry and customers will find out the hard way.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      it works fine for a lot of crap that people do on computers. like watch youtube, or movies, or play stupid flash games.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 8 years ago

      What do people do with their computers?

      Share pictures, watch youtube videos, check email, update facebook, etc.

      Those tasks can be effectively accomplished with a touchscreen interface.

      • Arag0n
      • 8 years ago

      You are plainly wrong. Less is more in consumer market. Deliver the minimal amount of required complexity to use a device/software and obtain the maximum results or applications and people will praise it as the best of all times.

      People don’t care if you can have your own virtual dataserver in your linux distrobuion as long as they can’t play their flash-based games normally or steam idiot games like alien swamp.

      • Krogoth
      • 8 years ago

      You completely overlook one major area, paper work.

      Try filing your taxes, bills, and statements with a touchscreen. 😉

      It is cumbersome at best.

      That’s going to one huge thing that customers will complain about with upcoming “pure” touchscreen based interfaces.

      It is why touchscreen based interfaces will never pick up in the business world.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        nobody thinks they’ll pick up in the business world. but for consumers, they’ll be fine

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