Is Your PC Powerful Enough For Windows 8?

Is Your PC Powerful Enough For Windows 8?

It’s hard not to be at least a little excited about upgrading to a shiny new operating system, but the catch is that a new OS sometimes means your ageing computer isn’t up to the task. So is your current PC powerful enough to handle Windows 8? Most likely!

Over at Microsoft’s Building Windows 8 blog, the Windows 8 team has posted the following system recommendations for Windows 8:

Whether you have a logo PC or you’ve built your own PC, the recommendations for the Consumer Preview include:

  • 1GHz or faster processor
  • 1GB RAM (32-bit) or 2GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

This setup gets you going with Windows 8 such that it is functionally equivalent to Windows 7, and as we have talked about previously, you should see measurable improvements in performance in a number of dimensions with a system at this level.

As you can see, the system requirements are actually pretty low, and a low-powered system might actually run better running Windows 8 than Windows 7. In fact, it was specifically designed to run better on low-powered devices, like netbooks and tablets. That said, because Metro apps won’t run on screens with a lower resolution than 1200 by 768, it isn’t necessarily a great option for netbooks.

Speaking of tablets, if you’re looking to take advantage of the touch and feel of Windows 8 on a tablet, Microsoft recommends the following touchscreen devices:

  • HP Elitebook 2760p convertible (Note: This PC is 1280×800 and so does not support snap.)
  • ASUS EP121 tablet (Note: his PC is 1280×800 and so does not support snap.)
  • Dell Inspiron Duo convertible
  • Lenovo x220t convertible
  • 3M M2256PW 22-inch display (Note: The raised bezel can make it harder to swipe along the edges)
  • Samsung Series 7 slate (Note: This PC has two models, one was provided to attendees at //build/ and the other is a commercial release; the latter has slightly different peripherals and firmware.)

Hit up the full post for more details, but the short version: your current computer is most likely perfectly capable of running Windows 8, and if it’s not, you’re probably ready for a hardware upgrade anyway.

For a better idea of what it actually feels like to use Windows 8 on your desktop, check out our video walkthrough.

Running the Consumer Preview: system recommendations [Building Windows 8]


    • The majority of tablets are iPads, so I suppose you’re right there… :–P

      The majority of tablets owned by nerds who care about this stuff would have 1280*800 screens and ARM… is WOA available too, or just x86/x64?

  • well…yeah. the computer I bought in 2003 was powerful enough to run win8 (3ghz p4, 1gb ram, dx9 gfx)

    Now I’ve upgraded to a 2.6ghz core2duo I found in a bin, I think I’m pretty safe.

  • Sortof a shame that MS doesn’t support older netbook screen resolutions… I’ve been using 8 CP on an acer ao533, and so far, its been fantastic, minus the lack of metro support (and the whole start menu thing :P). In fact, win 8 on my netbook feels as quick as my laptop with a dual core processor running 7 in many cases. Using the registry hack to trick the computer into a 1024×768 resolution works, but skews the image so that it really puts me off… Even still, I think I’ll be getting win 8 for my netbook solely due to the fact it makes my netbook not totally aggravating to use. I guess if I really want to take advantage of the whole metro app thing I’ll just hook up to a larger monitor.

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