Windows 11 CPU specs tweaked, with new minimum explanation

Chris Burns - Aug 27, 2021, 3:14pm CDT
Windows 11 CPU specs tweaked, with new minimum explanation

The latest version of PC Health Check changes the minimum system requirements for Windows 11. For some users, this will be good news. Microsoft expanded the number of processors that they’ve tested and confirmed will fit the basic requirements of an approved Windows 11 device. Technically you’ll be able to install Windows 11 on an older device, but Microsoft isn’t going to be there to fix what doesn’t work if said device doesn’t meet Microsoft’s basic requirements.

Microsoft is always testing and expanding on what’s been tested for Windows 11 – and any future version of Windows, as is generally the case. In today’s announcement, Microsoft revealed that they’d expanded the variety of devices that’ll be able to work with Windows 11 that meet Microsoft’s established principals “to best support you” as a Windows 11 user.

The following requirements will stay the same – this hasn’t changed:
• 4GB memory
• 64GB storage
• UEFI secure boot
• TPM 2.0
• Graphics processing reqs
• Compatible 64-bit processor

A new set of PC models with Intel 7th-gen processors were added to the list. The additions are very, very few, but important nonetheless. Intel Core X-series, Xeon W-series, and Intel Core 7820HQ machines.*

*The Core 7820HQ machines included are only those “select devices” that originally shipped with modern drivers, including those based on Delcarative, Componentized, Hardware Support Apps (DCH) design principals. This means that the Surface Studio 2 is now included, where before this announcement, it was not.

No additional CPU models were added to the list from the first generation AMD Zen processors. If your AMD processor didn’t meet the minimum before, it doesn’t meet the minimum now.

Microsoft also made very clear some of the most basic reasons they would not include a machine in their list of approved devices. The three keys are: Compatibility, Security, and Reliability.

For Compatibility, Microsoft suggests that this means the machine can run a “core set of applications” that meets the following needs: video conferencing, productivity, and gaming. Their most minimum system requirements meet and support “some of the most commonly used apps.”

Security in Windows 11 requirements were set by both Microsoft and partnering teams at the NSA in the USA, UK National Cyber Security Center, and Canada’s Canadian Centre for Cyber Security. Requirements here were informed “based on trillions of signals from Microsoft’s threat intelligence, too.

The Reliability bit is the most easy to understand, really. Devices that don’t meet minimum specs for Windows 11, in Microsoft’s testing, “had 52% more kernel mode crashes” than those that met the minimum. Further, devices that meet the minimum “had a 99.8% crash free experience.” Simple enough!

A new version of PC Health Check was released today to add the few extra computers that can now be called compatible with Windows 11. This latest version is an updated preview version of the app, leading up to the re-release of general availability of the app “in the coming weeks.” The PC Health Check app from Microsoft now works on more machines than before: 64-bit Windows, 32-bit Windows, Windows on Arm and Windows 10 in S mode PC.


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