Future Windows 11 updates will require SSE4.2 – LGA 775 and Socket AM2/AM3 processors will be incompatible.

Microsoft’s Windows 11 Update Requires More Advanced Hardware

Microsoft is currently working on a major update for Windows 11, set to be made publicly available in the fall. Insider programme participants receive access to test builds of the platform in advance, revealing some of the forthcoming changes. Among these is a new hardware requirement that could potentially exclude older computers from running the operating system.

Updated Hardware Requirements

In test build number 26058 of Windows 11—made available on the Canary channel to insider programme participants—a restriction was imposed requiring a POPCNT (population count) instruction-supporting CPU to install the operating system. Further requirements were revealed in test build 26063, which blocks CPUs without support for the SSE4.2 instruction set.

SSE4.2 Instruction Set

SSE4 is an expanded SIMPLE (Single Instruction, Multiple Data) instruction set. First implemented by Intel into its Penryn (Core 2) processors in 2006, an even broader SSE4.2 version was incorporated in the Nehalem processors in 2008. AMD introduced SSE4.2 instruction support with their Bulldozer architecture. These instructions are used for searching and comparing characters across two 16-byte operands simultaneously, enhancing XML document processing and CRC32 computation for certain data transmission protocols.

Compatibility for SSE4.2

Any x86 CPU architecture produced after 2008 should have SSE4.2 compatibility. However, systems built prior to the debut of Intel Core i5 and i7 chips will not support this requirement. Users testing the aforementioned Windows 11 build on computers lacking SSE4.2 support have reported installation blockages.

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