Kaby Lake and Zen CPU sport new generations for Windows 10

By: Costea Lestoc
2 minute read

After the release of the sixth generation Skylake processors by Intel, Microsoft made an interesting announcement: the only operating system that would support the most recent generation of chips is none other than Windows 10. Apparently, this won’t be the only generation to work like this: any upcoming upgrades will as well. This made lots of Windows 7 and 8.1 users unhappy since they feel like it is a way of forcing them to move to PCs  running Windows 10.

At the same time, Microsoft announced it would change the initial decision and not end the support for Windows 7 and 8.1 in 2018, as the initial plan was. Instead of this, the two older versions of the operating system will be supported on the Skylake processors for their entire lifespan.

However, the change applies only to sixth generation CPUs. This means that any future upgrades, which includes the CPUs from the Zen series, will only support Windows 10.

Marco Chiappetta, who works at Hot Hardware, conducted an in-depth analysis of the technical structure of the next-gen features being brought to CPUs and drew the line between compatibility and support. According to his explanation, Microsoft optimizes Windows 10 to only support the new features found on Kaby Lake and Zen. As it seems, the technology and microarchitecture used for the latest types of processor require indeed some serious updates to the operating system in order to function properly.

Among the newest features Intel added are the Turbo Boost Technology 3.0 and Speed Shift. On the other hand, AMD also introduced “fine-grained clock gating”. All these features will need more support than the basic driver software, which is a pretty good explanation as to why is Microsoft making this move.

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