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Offline News  
#1 Posted : Thursday, October 2, 2014 2:52:35 AM(UTC)
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Buried in the details of Microsoft's technical preview for Windows 10 (look for our own discussion in short order), is a bit of a footnote concerning the operating system's requirements. I say footnote because this news -- that Windows 10 will have exactly the same requirements as Windows 8.1, which had the same requirements as Windows 8, which stuck to Windows 7, which was the same as Windows Vista -- is something we take for granted these days.

As the years roll by, I can't help wondering what we're actually giving up in exchange for holding the minimum system spec at a single-core 1GHz, 32-bit chip with just 1GB of RAM. Back when Windows Vista was in development, those specifications made some sense -- single-core chips were still quite common in the low end of the PC market, particularly in mobile systems. When Microsoft built Windows 7, it wanted to make the new OS available to as many buyers as possible, so it held system specs steady. Between improved OS performance and the proliferation of dual-core CPUs, Windows 7 was much snappier on the low end systems of 2009 than Windows Vista had been in January, 2007.

Windows Vista Desktop
Does this desktop make you twitch uncontrollably? You may have Post Vista Stress Disorder

Then, along comes Windows 8, and again -- it makes sense for Microsoft to stick with the same system specs. This time around, the focus is on pushing the OS into mobile platforms and all the press discussions focus on lower power, higher efficiency, and a GPU-accelerated desktop to further improve battery life. If you're pushing into new form factors and lower-end hardware, freezing the x86 specs while you wait for ARM chips to catch their performance is the only smart thing to do.

Now, with Windows 10, Microsoft is again pandering to the bottom of the market and the minimum specifications haven't budged an iota. To be clear, I'm not saying Microsoft has utterly neglected the top end -- Windows 8 built on Windows 7 with Direct2D and significantly improved desktop compositing, while Windows 10 will introduce features like the much-discussed DirectX 12. The question isn't whether or not Microsoft has continued including new features and capabilities, because it has -- but where might we be if the company was more willing to push the envelope?

The Minimum Spec Anchor

It might be hard to remember, but there was a time when new versions of Windows genuinely pushed the envelope. It didn't always do so reliably, and even its best features, like Plug'n'Play, sometimes took years to work reliably across the hardware market. Still, Microsoft's Windows releases used to be demonstrations of what PCs could do -- up until Windows Vista.

With Vista, Microsoft caved to Intel's demands that it break its own rules regarding GPU support and its attempts to push the bar forward on PC performance often resulted in slower, buggier experiences (though a substantial cause of this, at least initially, was poor Nvidia drivers). Since then, the company has held the line -- despite the fact that even bargain basement PCs of 2014 are far more capable than the equivalent hardware of 2006.

Windows 10 Start Menu

True, Intel and AMD have continued to create innovative standards, with the launch of OpenCL, support for features like Haswell's Transactional Synchronization Extensions, and HSA itself -- but how much more quickly might those features expand if they were baked into Windows and supported natively by the operating system?

For decades, the standard argument has been that Microsoft had to continue supporting ancient operating systems and old configurations, ignoring the fact that the company did its most cutting-edge work when it was willing to kill off its previous products in fairly short order. I'm not arguing that we should return to the bad old days when a computer was old at 12 months and creaking at 24, but what would Windows look like if Microsoft jettisoned support for 32-bit processors (while keeping the ability to run 32-bit software) and at least mandated a dual-core product? What if DX10 -- a feature set that virtually every video card today supports, according to the Steam Hardware Survey, became the minimum standard, at least on the x86 side of the equation?

How much better might the final product be if Microsoft put less effort into validating ancient hardware and kicked those specs upwards, just a notch or two?

Guess we'll have to wait for Windows 11 to find out.
Offline acarzt  
#2 Posted : Thursday, October 2, 2014 10:01:04 AM(UTC)
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Windows is still trying to get more market share in mobile segment, so it makes sense that they would keep the requirements low so that they can work on more devices.

How much overhead do you really want your OS to have? I'd rather they keep the requirements low and get the OS out of the way and let the APPs shine.

Offline altshep123  
#3 Posted : Thursday, October 2, 2014 10:26:03 AM(UTC)
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I was thinking I would hate to see specs go up just because they can, thinking there would be bloat in the software, etc... Who doesn't want a trimmed down, speedy OS... However, I think I miss the point in that taking advantage of modern technology and NOT supporting very outdated hardware would allow just that. There is probably more bloat trying to support all this legacy junk not to mention less efficient code. I agree, focus on nailing the cross-platform functionality with modern tech and leave the legacy systems to stripped down linux distributions if they must be used.

Offline DMBlake  
#4 Posted : Thursday, October 2, 2014 10:31:19 AM(UTC)
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How is that a lost opportunity? Operating systems shouldn't be resource intensive and shouldn't require impressive hardware. Get with the program.

Offline SeanPatrickCarey  
#5 Posted : Thursday, October 2, 2014 10:31:21 AM(UTC)
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HotHardware thinks Win10 should be resource intensive so as to try to push people to upgrade their machines. While it would help push people to develop better hardware (BARELY), it would be totally backwards. Prebuilt storebought Win10 machines would by default be more expensive since theyd have higher specs, meaning people looking for a simple, up to date pc, but cant afford a really nice one, would be forced to have an outdated OS. MS wants as many people as possible to get to use Win10, which makes the most sense. "pushing the envelope" with OS min specs is stupid...

Offline MichaelStewart  
#6 Posted : Thursday, October 2, 2014 10:37:06 AM(UTC)
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Microsoft with all of their wisdom can offer OS' s with higher minimum specs as a alternative....just like gpu's. People with high end system s may want the tech to finally push the windows OS. They don't have to have just one OS with the same specs since vista

Offline PrestonChapple  
#7 Posted : Thursday, October 2, 2014 10:57:53 AM(UTC)
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100% disagree. An OS should be very minimum. I have the computer to run the programs I want to run, I don't have the computer to run the OS.

Offline LukeKirke  
#8 Posted : Thursday, October 2, 2014 11:24:26 AM(UTC)
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The reason they call it Windows 10 is because they missed things out

Offline IgorCarlier  
#9 Posted : Thursday, October 2, 2014 12:25:35 PM(UTC)
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dont agree with this article also, windows should give more to those with high end specs pcs but not remove those with old ones, actualy it would be more bad ass if the minimum requirements would be less ! clean the code give more with less ... not the other way around

Offline IgorCarlier  
#10 Posted : Thursday, October 2, 2014 12:25:36 PM(UTC)
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windows 10 in binary = 2

Offline IgorCarlier  
#11 Posted : Thursday, October 2, 2014 12:25:37 PM(UTC)
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should be windows zero

Offline Joel H  
#12 Posted : Thursday, October 2, 2014 12:27:50 PM(UTC)
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Hot Hardware thinks that support for non-GPU-accelerated desktops should be dropped, multi-core should be mandatory, and 64-bit should be the only supported version, yes.

Come on. How many of you complaining about this are going to go home and run Windows 10 on your 2003 Opteron or Pentium 4 with 1GB of RAM? Anybody? *ANYBODY?*

I'm not arguing that the OS should target a six-core Core i7 as a minimum spec, but let's not pretend there's no middle ground here.

Offline mike coyne  
#13 Posted : Thursday, October 2, 2014 2:18:13 PM(UTC)
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I am sure that most of people switched to 64 bit OS and x64 CPU (Intel / AMD) and big RAM (such as 8 GB or more) that will have no problems to run on new OS Windows 10. Maybe few old 32 bit CPU as Pentium 4 can run on 32 bits new OS Windows 10 unless they can upgrade RAM and old styles AGP 8X video card. I do not think there is nothing is wrong with it. We are move forward more with 64 bit OS and x64 CPU..

Offline ibnMuhammad  
#14 Posted : Thursday, October 2, 2014 2:25:09 PM(UTC)
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Wow, what a dumb post.

The OS is a damn operating system who's role is to manage the hardware and resources as efficiently as possible and GET OUT OF THE WAY of the user so that you can run productivity apps on top.

It's job IS NOT to occupy gigs of RAM, so you have no resources left for anything else on top!

There's NO NEED at all for an OS to justify more than 512mb of RAM, because the point is to serve you a desktop so you can go off and do the things that matter.

The stupidity of this post can be summed up by reading some comments here: -

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/14/10/02/1724236/lost-opportunity-windows-10-has-the-same-minimum-pc-requirements-as-vista

Offline ibnMuhammad  
#15 Posted : Thursday, October 2, 2014 2:34:09 PM(UTC)
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I actually believe the specs for Vista/7/8 are already far too high!!

Why in the world would you need more than a Pentium 2 (maybe 3) CPU (i.e. more than 800mhz) and more than 512mb just to run an operating system?

You buy a PC to run productivity apps on top, not to run the OS alone!

The more resources and cpu-cycles required to run an OS means the less resources available for the rest of the apps which actually matter.

Come on Joel, maybe you thought it was April fools today?! :)

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