Windows 11 Release Date and System Requirements Revealed
At a live event yesterday, Microsoft unveiled the next iteration of its desktop operating system, six years after the release of the last one. The Redmond company is calling it Windows 11, and plans to launch it later this year as a free upgrade to Windows 10. The update will begin its roll out “this holiday and continuing into 2022.”
Members of the Windows Insider Program will be able to get their hands on an early build starting next week.
Among the changes and new features coming to the Windows 11 is an overhauled design geared toward increased productivity, support for Android apps in the Microsoft Store, gaming-related enhancements such as Auto HDR for enhanced contrast, even for games without HDR support, and DirectStorage for faster load times on NVMe SSDs. The Chat feature from Microsoft Teams will be integrated into the taskbar alongside a news feed kitted out with a variety of widgets, much like the News and Interests feature recently added to Windows 10.
As for the new interface, it seems Microsoft is reintroducing certain elements of the translucent Aero aesthetic from Windows 7, including curved edges, or that it will at least be one of the operating system’s new theming options. The biggest change in appearance, though, would have to be the taskbar, which seems to have been modeled after the macOS Dock, with app shortcuts and the iconic Start button centered along the bottom.
These additions don’t come without a price, of course. Microsoft has revealed system requirements for Windows 11 and they are understandably a step up from those for Windows 10, specifically storage and system architecture. The new version will be the first to limit compatibility to 64-bit systems, though it will support 32-bit applications. A bigger concern for some expectant users, however, might be the rather short list of compatible CPUs, which excludes predecessors of Intel’s 8th-gen Core processors and AMD’s Ryzen 3 line.
Windows 11 System Requirements
- Processor: Compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC) with two cores or more and a clock speed of 1GHz or faster – you can view the list of compatible processors here
- Memory: 4GB of RAM
- Storage: 64GB
- System Firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
- TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
- GPU: DirectX 12-compatible with WDDM 2.0 driver
- Display: HD (720p), greater than 9 inches