Windows 10 is only a few short months away, with the rumored mid-July release date nearing. Consumers and businesses still have the next few months to prepare for a Windows 10 upgrade, which promises a bevy of improvements over Windows 8. So what’s required to upgrade to Windows 10? Not much if your computer exceeds the minimum system requirements for Windows 8.1. For an upgrade from an older operating system such as Windows Vista or Windows XP however, you may need to reexamine the hardware listed in Device Manager (Right-click Computer > Properties > Device Manager).
For Windows 10, Microsoft requires the following hardware at a bare minimum.
- CPU: 1 GHz
- RAM: 1 GB (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
- Storage: 16 GB
- Graphics Card: DirectX 9 compatible
Desktop computers barely meeting those requirements likely will not be able to run Windows 10 with all the bells and whistles—such as the updated Aero Glass theme—enabled. To help you get the most out of Windows 10, here’s what your desktop should be running.
Egg Rating: 5 out of 5
We recommend users go for an i5 processor for general-use purposes as it provides plenty of performance at a mainstream price. The Core i3 line may be too slow for some users while the i7 can be overkill for most tasks—in fact, even gamers rarely tax the i7 to its fullest. The i5-4690S features four physical cores and costs only $25 more than the i5-4590. If you’re wondering what the S stands for, it means “Performance-optimized lifestyle,” and according to Intel means slightly lower power draw and performance. It can handle most office tasks thrown at it while running Windows 10.
Price: $129.99 (DDR4) / $54.99 (DDR3)
Egg Rating: N/A (DDR4) / 5 out of 5 (DDR3)
Whether you buy DDR4 or DDR3 is determined entirely by your motherboard.. No need to get the gamer-centric low latency models as those ratings mainly affect frames-per-second performance. What you want is plenty of memory.
On that front, 8 GB of system memory more than meets the needs of Windows alone and can handle plenty of multi-tasking. With 4 GB, you may still get some stutters when running instances of Chrome, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Excel all the same time—I speak from experience on this. 8 GB? You might as well start streaming music with the extra system memory at your disposal.
Egg Rating: 4 out of 5
The go-to SSD since its release, the 850 EVO offers plenty of performance at very good price points. 250 GB provides more than enough storage space for Windows 10. In fact, taking into account drive partitioning and Windows 10 installation, you still have roughly 215 GB of storage space left to work with. If you go with a 120 GB drive, you’d be looking at less than 100 GB of usable space after a format and Windows install. The next drive up is the 500 GB EVO, which costs considerably more for storage capacity you might not need.
Graphics Card: VisionTek Radeon 7750 1GB DDR3 PCI-E 3.0 Video Card
Egg Rating: 4 out of 5
No gaming graphics power, just pure multi-monitor productivity. The VisionTek Radeon 7750 1 GB supports DirectX 11.2, so Windows 10 support won’t be a problem. You may not need all four DVI outputs, but they are there just in case. 1 GB of video ram meets the needs of most programs as long as you are not working with insanely large image files and textures. If you are, then a Quadro or FirePro workstation card will better suit your needs.
So does your computer look like it can handle the next iteration of Windows? If you’re unsure whether your computer can handle Windows 10, leave a comment listing your current system hardware.