System requirements for Windows 7 aren’t any great mystery, but now we’re getting a much better idea of what it’ll say on the retail box.
Microsoft posted relatively modest system requirements (at least for any computer belonging to a Tom’s Hardware reader) when it released the Windows 7 public beta in January and only slightly modified them for the release of yesterday’s Release Candidate.
The system requirements for the beta at the time called for:
- 1 GHz 32-bit or 64-bit processor
- 1 GB of system memory
- 16 GB of available disk space
- Support for DirectX 9 graphics with 128 MB memory (to enable the Aero theme)
The system requirements published yesterday for the official Release Candidate are the following:
- 1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
- 1 GB of RAM (32-bit)/2 GB of RAM (64-bit)
- 16 GB of available disk space (32-bit)/20 GB (64-bit)
- DirectX 9 graphics device with Windows Display Driver Model 1.0 or higher driver
The only real changes to the system requirements since January are slightly bumped up ones for the 64-bit version, though we suspect anyone who plans to run the x64 build will have a machine that’s way beyond the minimum (having at least 4 GB of RAM would be a good starting point).
While the system requirements posted yesterday apply to the Release Candidate, Microsoft told ZDNet that they were ‘final’, though it’s unknown if there will be different requirements between different SKUs such as Starter Edition or Ultimate Edition. “The system requirements are final and not SKU-specific,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.
Those who plan to run XP Mode will need at least 2 GB RAM, 15 GB of additional hard drive space and a processor that supports hardware virtualization.
According to early tests, Windows 7 performs better than Windows Vista on the same hardware.
"It's been a long time since we've had a version of Windows that will actually run better [than the previous version] on the hardware that most customers have," Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Windows product management group, said during a conference call with reporters, quoted by ComputerWorld.
Windows 7 does carry with it slightly heftier system requirements than Vista does, despite it being a better performer. From one generation to the next – and three years later – Windows 7’s system demands does seem positively modest.
For reference, Windows Vista’s system requirements are:
- 1 GHz processor (32- or 64-bit)
- 512 MB of RAM (for Home Basic); 1 GB of RAM for all other versions
- 15 GB of available disk space
- Support for DirectX 9 graphics and 32 MB of graphics memory (for Home Basic); 128 MB of graphics memory plus WDDM support for all other versions