The most recent version of their Windows operating system for personal computers that Microsoft has released, is Windows 10. First put on general sale in July 2015, it has many major changes and updates from its predecessor Windows 8.1.
Some of the most significant ones include its support for universal apps, Cortana personal assistant, Microsoft Edge replacing Internet Explorer as the packaged default browser, and in relation to gaming – improved integration with X-Box, which you will read more about further on. Let’s look into more detail about the difference between Windows 10 home and pro for gaming.
Incredibly there are no fewer than 12 different versions of Windows 10, albeit most of us will only encounter two or three of them in retail stores. Some of the more obscure ones include versions called Enterprise, which is an enhanced version of Pro, with some features added which are only of any benefit to companies and organizations working with IT systems.
There are two versions designed for educational establishments, which are obviously used in schools, colleges and universities. It has many similarities to the Enterprise edition but does not have the same number of features.
For us mere mortals, the ones we can buy in-store are Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, and an enhanced version of Pro called 'Pro for Workstations.’ This version is designed for use with the very best hardware and suited to expensive PCs that have up to four processors and memory capabilities of up to 6TBs of RAM. These are specifications that most of the top PCs found on general sale can't match.
Before we look at how the Home and Pro versions of Windows 10 match up when it comes to gaming, we'll look first at how they differ at the basic level for normal computer users. Firstly, all the basic features and layout are almost identical, so the likes of Cortana, virtual desktops, and Microsoft Edge will be found on both.
In terms of specifications, the Pro has one advantage, which we may come back to, and that is the maximum RAM that it can handle. With the Home Edition, the specification is a maximum of 128GB, which to be fair is pretty good, however, the Pro Edition can accommodate 2 TB of RAM, which gives it a huge lead over the Home in terms of how much data it can handle at any one time.
There's no doubt that Windows 10 Pro is more geared towards what is often termed as a 'power user' of personal PCs, or small business users. There is a free service called 'Windows Update for Business,’ which includes multi-layered security and protection for the device, identity, and applications, plus ongoing updates to keep everything secure as possible.
Windows 10 Pro also has additional security apps called Secure Boot and Device Guard to prevent malware or malicious code hijacking the user's device. Other business-orientated features include remote desktop for accessing your PC from other locations via a tablet or smartphone, and there is an assigned access feature to allow co-workers or employees access to specific apps on your PC.
We've already touched on one or two features in Windows 10 which are geared towards gaming, but let's take a closer look to see if these are of any benefit, and what others there are that might make gaming on your PC better.
We'll start by pointing out that in previous versions of Windows, Microsoft had done a pretty poor job of integrating gaming systems. They did try to introduce something called 'Games for Windows' which never took off, and instead of trying to make Windows more gaming friendly, they instead focused all their attention on X-Box, which is obviously their own top-selling gaming console.
Thankfully that has all changed with Windows 10, which Microsoft has integrated properly with X-Box. You can now use the X-Box app on your PC to stream games, or experience greatly improved gaming graphics due to Windows 10 fully embracing DirectX 12, which enhances the visual enjoyment of games enormously
Here are the main gaming features that Windows 10 has to offer:
You can connect your PC to the same interface that the X-Box console uses to buy games, watch clips, chat with other gamers, and best of all, multi-player streaming of games.
With Windows 10 you can now play against other gamers with no competitive disadvantage. This means that gameplay using a PC keyboard or mouse is as responsive as someone using a game controller. The number of games which are cross-platform enabled is increasing all the time.
We mentioned this in the previous section, but it is worth repeating. Having this included within Windows 10 takes gaming graphics on a PC to a whole new level.
If your TV is fully booked and you need a screen to play a game, then all is fine, because Windows 10 will let you stream games from your X-Box console to your desktop computer. The console still controls the game so there is no loss in speed or action, and you play using the game controller as normal.
If this is something you normally use third-party software to do, then you can dispense with it. Windows 10 gives you the ability to capture a screenshot of your game so you can keep a record of where you are, and you can also record a game as you play it.
Not really in terms of any advantage. All the gaming features we have just discussed are available on both versions of Windows 10. The enhanced features of Pro are generally geared towards business users so there seems no massive difference in how any game would be played. There's certainly a higher level of security, and as you may be accessing online platforms, this would certainly make that safer and provide more protection against someone trying to hijack your device.
The other main advantage of Pro would be if you have a higher specification PC using Windows 10. You will recall that the Pro can accommodate RAM memory of up to 2TB versus 128 GB for Home. This greater capacity would allow your PC to carry out more functions at the same time, and thus, in theory, make it less prone to any lag, but not necessarily be any faster.
It may a small difference, and in a few scenarios, it could be enough to make the difference between winning and losing, but all things being considered, we reckon Windows 10 Home versus Windows 10 Pro for gaming is a tie.