A brand new Home windows 11 {hardware} system requirement could also be coming

A brand new Home windows 11 {hardware} system requirement could also be coming


Microsoft lastly seems to be commenting on how far again it’s keen to go in supporting older {hardware}. Beginning with the upcoming construct of Home windows 11 24H2, Microsoft requires that your processor helps the POPCNT instruction. In case you’re questioning what it’s and whether or not it impacts you, you are not alone.

This new addition was found by Bob Pony on X (previously Twitter). In keeping with the consumer, if the CPU doesn’t help the POPCNT command or is disabled, Home windows won’t work in any respect. A number of system information now require this instruction, beginning with the Home windows 11 kernel. Lengthy story brief – no POPCNT, no Home windows 11 24H2.

However what is that this POPCNT instruction anyway? It stands for “inhabitants.” It’s a easy however helpful instruction that counts the variety of set bits (ones) in a machine phrase. As software program engineer Vaibhav Sagar explains, “For instance (assuming 8-bit phrases for simplicity) popcount(00100110) is 3 and popcount(01100000) is 2.”

So a HUGE discovery in Home windows 11 model 24H2, since construct 25905.
A CPU with the instruction "POPCNT" IS REQUIRED NOW!
There are numerous system information that require the POPCNT CPU command, from the Home windows 11 kernel to the USB XHCI drivers.

With out POPCNT it will not boot! pic.twitter.com/vCWYvzfu6k

— Bob Pony (@TheBobPony) February 11, 2024

Suffice it to say, it is actually, actually previous – not less than by laptop requirements. It was first launched as a software program resolution within the Nineteen Sixties, ostensibly on behalf of the Nationwide Safety Company (NSA), as a software for decrypting messages. A lot later, it grew to become widespread as a {hardware} resolution in client CPUs within the early 2000s, beginning with AMD’s Barcelona processors (Phenom II) and Intel’s Nehalem (the primary Core collection). These launched in 2007 and 2008 respectively.

At the moment, POPCNT finds utility in cryptography, knowledge compression algorithms, bioinformatics, machine studying and AI, amongst others. It looks like an necessary, if typically ignored, instruction. Sagar additionally notes its usefulness in workloads comparable to operating binary convolutional neural networks.

What sense does it make if Microsoft immediately makes a 60-year-old instruction necessary in its subsequent Home windows construct? Tom’s {Hardware} notes that Microsoft could wish to be certain that all Home windows 11 PCs are able to supporting binary neural networks.

The excellent news is that you do not have to fret about this until your PC is sort of previous. In concept, Home windows 11’s TPM 2.0 requirement already locks these computer systems out, as it is a a lot newer criterion that have to be met (though it may be labored round). Nevertheless, fanatics attempting to switch newer working programs to outdated {hardware} could discover it troublesome to get previous this drawback.

Microsoft could possibly be decided to make AI PCs the norm, and it’s, with options like automated upscaling rumored to be coming within the subsequent main patch.

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