Microsoft building new edition of Windows 10 for power PCs, workstations


TS Evangelist

A few days ago Microsoft accidentally pushed out a buggy, internal Windows 10 build that caused big problems for users. The company pulled the problematic Build 16212 quickly and offered an apology along with some troubleshooting tips for affected machines. Apparently, this build also included references to a new edition of Windows 10 for advanced users with high-performance PCs.

Three new editions were referenced, including Windows 10 Pro for Advanced PCs, Windows 10 Pro N for Advanced PCs, and Windows Server 2016 ServerRdsh. As ZDNet explains, the N edition simply refers to the version Microsoft makes for Europe, while Rdsh (standing for ‘Remote Desktop Session Host’) is presumably aimed at hosting Windows applications or the full Windows desktop for Remote Desktop Services client.

The leak was followed by a slide posted on Twitter by user TheGrandMofongo, shedding more information on Windows 10 for Advanced PCs — dubbed “Windows 10 Pro for Workstation” in the slide. There are four main capabilities described in the slide: a workstation mode, the Resilient file system or ReFS, which succeeds Microsoft's NTFS file system, faster file sharing, and expanded hardware support.

In Workstation mode Microsoft plans to optimize the OS by identifying “typical compute and graphics intensive workloads” to provide peak performance and reliability when Workstation mode is enabled.

Windows 10 Pro for Advanced PCs will also benefit from a new resilient file system, ReFS, which is fully backwards compatible, designed for fault tolerance, and optimised for handling large amounts of data. Microsoft introduced ReFS with Windows 8, but Microsoft notes that NTFS, or New Technology File System, has been its mainstay filesystem even in Windows 10 today.

Microsoft is also including the SMBDirect protocol-based file sharing in Windows 10 Pro for Advanced PCs, which allows for high throughput, low latency and low CPU utilization when accessing network shares.

Lastly, Microsoft is planning to allow Windows 10 Pro for Advanced PCs on machines with up to 4 CPUs and a memory limit of 6TB. Windows 10 Pro currently only supports 2 CPUs.

Microsoft is yet to confirm anything about Windows 10 Pro for Workstation (or Advanced PCs), so it’s unclear when we’ll see this version of Windows available to the public. The slides note that the mentioned capabilities are just a starting point, “We are engaged with our advanced users, and will continue to bring innovation to this high- end segment of the market.”

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TS Evangelist
It's funny but I've been thinking of the days of Windows NT and Windows 9x... back when enterprise and consumer OS's were different. Are we going back to that perhaps? I feel M$ has gone way too far in the consumer mobile direction for a desktop OS. I understand the big picture, one OS for all for seamless compatibility; but they applied that methodology to the UI more than the core system it seems, which is the exact opposite of what we wanted.

I think we need to go back to idea of a Windows XP, the first successful merging of the consumer oriented Windows 9x and enterprise oriented Windows NT. After they worked out all the bugs (which admittedly took awhile) everyone loved it. Take everything that has been learned in making a stable, reliable OS along with resource management the later OS's have.
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These optimizations seem just like the Gaming Mode ones MS is trying to implement. No real problem with that, but...

...all of us using Process Lasso already have these optimizations, and we have for five plus years. Even in Win7. Back then, I remember with 3D rendering in Maya (mental ray) that Linux and Mac OS had a roughly 8% advantage in rendering speed on identical hardware, compared to Win7 workstations. But using Process Lasso, that gap went from -8% to +3%, simply because it can optimize processes better than any native application can.

I still use Process Lasso on every workstation, and it has its own Gaming Mode which is even faster than Microsoft's implementation. It's Process Lasso and others like it which are pushing MS to try its own, but they still fall short of this cheap third-party solution.


TS Maniac
Risky move. Most of this " identifying “typical compute and graphics intensive workloads” to provide peak performance and reliability when Workstation mode is enabled." is baked into BIOS/ACPI. Moving more of that to the OS will cause this PC to act weird if you load Linux / other operating systems. ACPI is bad enough already with "OS Control" options for c-states and p-states that only work on the hardware that the OS was developed on. And in most cases OS Control needs to be turned off due to this "non-standard" not being designed for ALL pc hardware vs a small few. VMWare ESX even has white papers for HPE and DELL units both that say to NOT use "OS Control" and to let the proprietary (capping methods) do the job in BIOS versus ACPI. Edit: I imagine MS will have to detect AVX and AVX2 (as well as single-bit or double-bit precision code) instruction sets and then deny low power states if AVX is detected? Intel and AMD do this differently, so I imagine some bloatware in this new OS for the different implementations of the CPU vendors.
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TS Ambassador
ReFS is not an end-all replacement for NTFS - - in fact, the system can't even boot from it AND MS SqlServer can't operate with it. See the WiKi for details.