Windows 8 Minimum Specs Are Good News

Windows 8 has surprisingly reasonable minimum specs.

Whenever a new operating system is released–and especially if said OS is released by Microsoft–there’s much ballyhooing to be done about its specs and requirements. Particularly after the debacle of Windows Vista, which was sluggish on even the very newest hardware at the time of its release, Microsoft has been under a lot of pressure to “de-bloat” Windows. With Windows 7, they proved they could do that by shipping an OS that was smaller and tremendously faster than its predecessor. With Windows 8, we’re seeing that evolution continue as Windows slims down and speeds up yet again.

Of course, this time it’s very different: Windows 8 is a complete reinvention of the desktop operating system, with a front-and-center focus on the touch and, if rumors are correct, voice, experience. With all these new bells and whistles, the natural question is: what the hell kind of minimums will I need to run this?! Click through after the break for the full lowdown, sans bellyaching!

Source: Within Windows

What follows is from the Within Windows website, with AtNS’s commentary in blue.

Minimum component set for tablets and convertible PCs
These are the BASELINE specifications for Windows 8 tablets and PC’s. While some sites we’ve seen today are stirring the “ZOMG! Teh Rez is too l0w!” pot, there are already Windows 8 tablets announced with higher resolutions up to 1080p. So let’s not get our panties in a twist for no reason!

Storage: At least 10gb free space after the out-of-box experience completes. In all likelihood, this means that the minimums we’ll see in storage for these devices are 16GB of NAND storage, similar to iPad and other tablets.

System firmware: UEFI. This is the new “Basic Input/Output System” replacing the decades-old BIOS. It should ensure that new systems have a lot more protection from malware running in the OS or from bootable media.

Networking: WLAN and Bluetooth 4.0 + LE (low energy). Obvious, but the good news about Bluetooth 4.0 as a minimum specification is that we can count on battery life improvements from even the most basic of devices.

Graphics: Direct3D 10 device w/ WDDM 1.2 driver. Good news for gamers, though I’m a little surprised they didn’t mandate DirectX 11 since that’s been the current version for more than 2 years. Still, DX10 is very capable.

Resolution: 1366×768. This has some folks up in arms. Don’t be pissed–it’s a MINIMUM, which means that even the cheapest, lowest end device will still have better resolution than your iPad 1 or 2. 3 is up in the air :).

Touch support: At least 5 touch points, must pass all tests. Better than some tablets, less than others. For reference, iPhone supports 5, iPad supports 11.

Camera: 720p Don’t get too excited. That’s 0.9 Megapixel.

Ambient Light Sensor: 1-30k lux capable w/ dynamic range of 5-60K. Neat! Sensors.

Magnetometer. Even MORE sensors. We like sensors. Sensors are sensible. They make sense.
Accelerometer: 3 axes w/ data rates >= 50Hz. In case you were worried there aren’t enough sensors.

Gyroscope. Last one. We promise. Maybe.

USB 2.0: At least one controller and exposed port. Likely, these will be MicroUSB ports, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a few tablets shipped with full size ports. Personally I’m looking forward to the “Transformer Prime” variants.

Speakers. So you can hear stuff, I’ll bet. Surprised Microphone isn’t listed, given it’d seem to be a requirement for Microsoft’s TellMe service.

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