The REAL System Requirements for Windows 10

After releasing Windows 10 version 1903, Microsoft has updated the official system requirements for it. Users whose PCs have bare minimal hardware required for installing Windows 10 may have already noticed that the OS is literally unusable because it runs extremely slow. Technically, it will run on minimal requirements but the experience will be bad. Here are the real recommended hardware requirements your device should meet to have an impressive user experience with the latest OS version from Redmond.

Officially, Windows 10 version 1903 will require a PC which fits the following specifications:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space: 32 GB for both 64-bit and 32-bit OS
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later
  • Display resolution: 800 x 600, a minimum diagonal display size for the primary display of 7-inches or larger.

Anyone who tries to use Windows 10 on such hardware can confirm that these system requirements are far optimistic. 2GB of RAM is nothing for the OS, and hard disk kills its performance.

Another official document, first spotted by Vadim Sterkin,  sheds some light on what hardware Microsoft themselves consider suitable for their product.

As is evident from the document, you must have 8 GB of RAM, or better 16 GB, and SSD/NVMe plays an important role for the device configuration.

I have a laptop here with an Intel Core i7 Mobile CPU and 16GB Ram with a 20H1 build installed on a classic HDD. It has very poor performance, so the SSD requirement makes sense.

The document mentions these requirements from the point of security. "If you are a decision maker purchasing new devices and you want to enable the best possible security configuration, your device should meet or exceed these standards.", it says.

Other notable hardware requirements include Intel 8th generation processors (Intel i3/i5/i7/i9-7x), Core M3-7xxx , Xeon E3-xxxx, and Xeon E5-xxxx processors, AMD 8th generation processors (A Series Ax-9xxx, E-Series Ex-9xxx, FX-9xxx) or ARM64 processors (Snapdragon SDM850 or later).

So, the optimal hardware configuration for Windows 10 looks at least as follows:

  • Processor: Intel 8th generation processors (Intel i3/i5/i7/i9-7x), Core M3-7xxx , Xeon E3-xxxx, and Xeon E5-xxxx processors, AMD 8th generation processors (A Series Ax-9xxx, E-Series Ex-9xxx, FX-9xxx) or ARM64 processors (Snapdragon SDM850 or later)
  • RAM: 4 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 16 GB for 64-bit
  • SSD/NVMe: at least 128 GB for both 64-bit and 32-bit OS
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later
  • Display resolution: 800 x 600, a minimum diagonal display size for the primary display of 7-inches or larger.

13 thoughts on “The REAL System Requirements for Windows 10

  1. zvonimir

    really nonsense.
    it works on 4 gb of ram and a hdd, intel i6 processor

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      yep, if you have 10240.

      Reply
    2. Bob

      Did you even read the article? “Works” is meaningless at that configuration. Maybe you have been using a super slow computer all your life so you never knew what fast means?

      Reply
      1. Jake1702

        Not sure about 1903 onwards, but I installed LTSC 2019 (1809) on someone’s laptop for them which had 2GB RAM and after about an hour of using to test it, it performed surprisingly well. Perhaps LTSC is the reason, though something in me doubts that.

        Reply
  2. Thomas

    What new features make new builds so slow? Also, can Author suggest best Windows 10 build for extremely old PC (Maybe second version counting from OEM release of Windows 10?)

    Reply
  3. zvonimir

    not really. I am running version 1903 and it works flawlessly.
    If you are writing this article for clickbaits, it’s not a good way to do it.

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Well, I didn’t write the article ‘for clickbaits’. It reflects my personal experience and the actual situation. I am happy to know that you are satisfied with 1903/Windows 10/your hardware. I wish I could be too.

      Reply
      1. Frank

        Your personal experience is that you need 16gb of RAM, just to run Windows 10 x64?

        That’s an interesting take.

        Reply
  4. Chris

    i have a really shitty intel i5 processor with 2gb of ram on a hdd 500gb drive and windows 10 has never run fast on it since i had the bloody thing but since upgrading to 1903 its had a new lease of life runs well for what it is now
    go and figure that one :D

    Reply
  5. Aden

    yes he is right windows 10 is shit on old hardware and am done with it
    now am on windows embedded industry pro that can even run on old Atom CPU Best decision ever!!

    Reply
  6. EP

    2Gb of RAM is fine for 32bit/x86 Windows 10

    Reply
    1. Adrian

      Open one tab in Chrome and you will throw this PC out of a window. Whats the point if you can’t use it?

      Reply
  7. Dan

    This isn’t really a good representation of the specs that would run Windows smoothly performance-wise. The specs listed are purely from a security standpoint because of Meltdown/Spectre. From this standpoint, a AMD A4-9120C is the minimum-spec x64 processor that would still run Windows 10 securely. AMD A4-9120 probably provides a smoother experience though. A Core 2 Quad Q6600 would still run Windows fine, it would just be less secure.

    Caveat – Windows 10 runs significantly better on a SSD because of SuperFetch and other specific design considerations that benefits a SSD. Also 4GB of RAM runs fine on x64 (web browsing, Spotify or YouTube, Word and Excel, all at the same time) in my experience, although I don’t know if Windows 10 is optimized in a way such that it runs additional security programs if more RAM is available.

    Reply

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