It takes half an hour to boot into Windows 7 running on a 5 MHz CPU with 128MB of RAM
How low can you go?By Shawn Knight 17 comments
TL;DR: The race to 1GHz was very much a real thing at the turn of the century. It was quite entertaining as well, coming down to a photo finish between AMD and Intel (the former took the win by mere days). Fast forward to today and you won't be able to find a new desktop CPU with a clock speed under 1.6GHz or so. But, you can underclock an existing chip to run much slower and that's exactly what NTDEV did in his latest video.
As part of a quest to the bottom, the YouTuber managed to successfully boot into Windows 7 Ultimate and even multitask with more than one program open at once. It's not nearly as glamorous as it sounds as Windows had to be run in Safe Mode and loads of system resources needed to be disabled.
The whole thing is run on a virtual machine that posts showing a Pentium-S clocked at 50MHz alongside 128MB of RAM. Once fully booted (a process that takes around 28 minutes), he is able to run programs like Notepad and another that displays the current clock speed of 5MHz. The YouTuber has even been able to run the system with just 36MB of RAM, but doing so requires using the page file.
If you were wondering, Microsoft recommends at least a 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage to run Windows 7. NTDEV told Tom's Hardware that his install uses less than 1GB of space and required roughly 70MB of memory during the demonstration.
Predictably, the system is painfully slow but it isn't the slowest he has experienced. NTDEV previously managed to get Windows XP running at just 1MHz. That configuration took some three hours to boot, he said.
Next on the bucket list is figuring out how to get Windows 10 or Windows 11 to run on a chip clocked slower than 1GHz.
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