Microsoft details the processor requirements for Windows 11 [Update]

A laptop running Windows 11 placed in a fancy studio lit in blue

Microsoft unveiled Windows 11 today and showed off a bunch of improvements, including new UI elements and experiences, the new store app, support for Android apps, and more. The company also posted the minimum system requirements earlier in the day, detailing the specifications that will be required for running the next-generation OS. In addition to those, the firm has also provided processor requirements for setting a baseline of hardware requirements relating to the silicon.

Firstly, for system requirements, there is an interesting bifurcation of hard floor and soft floor specs – specifically for partners, where hard floor specifications are mandatory requirements for the OS, while soft floor specifics will be treated as something that is accepted but not advised. The company is making security safeguards such as TPM 2.0 necessary for users to upgrade from Windows 10. However, it looks like devices sporting support for TPM 1.2 will also be able to receive the update, if the soft floor specifications are to be believed.

Here are the hard floor – or mandatory – requirements for the OS:

  • CPU: Core >= 2 and Speed >= 1 GHz
  • System Memory: TotalPhysicalRam >= 4 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB
  • Security: TPM Version >= 1.2 and SecureBootCapable = True
  • Smode: Smode is false, or Smode is true and C_ossku in (0x65, 0x64, 0x63, 0x6D, 0x6F, 0x73, 0x74, 0x71)

And here are the soft floor requirements:

  • Security: TPMVersion >= 2.0
  • CPU Generation

Moving on to processor requirements, the company has provided separate lists for Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm chips. While the list usually grew with every new Windows 10 version – accommodating newer generation chips –, the number of supported CPUs for Windows 11 has shrunk. It is not clear if this is the final list of chips or if the firm will tweak the models as the release of the OS nears.

For Intel, the company has listed Core branded chips starting from the eight-generation, for both laptop and desktops, along with several other Xeon and Pentium chips. Interestingly, these leave out chips in devices such as the Surface Studio 2, which are still being sold. As for AMD, some Ryzen 2000-series CPUs and all Ryzen 3000-series chips and newer are supported, along with a list of Epyc processors for servers. Here, the obvious exclusion is the A-series of chips. Qualcomm’s list is small and includes the Snapdragon 850 SoC and newer, which were aimed at the Windows on ARM PC market. You can head to the dedicated pages to check out the complete list.

These CPU specifications likely only apply to new devices, meaning that older devices such as the Studio 2 that house a TPM 2.0 chip might not be denied the upgrade to Windows 10. It will be interesting to see if there will be any updates to the requirements.

Update: Microsoft has updated the system requirements documentation to remove the soft floor specifications. It adds that the changes were made to "correct the guidance around the TPM requirements for Windows 11", making TPM 2.0 a required specification for devices to upgrade to Windows 11. This likely includes systems with dedicated TPM or firmware-based solutions like fTPM (AMD) and PTT (Intel).

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