If you’re building a PC, you’re probably spending a lot of time researching, comparing, and deciding on which components are right for you. Do you go with an overclocked CPU and matching motherboard? Maybe pay a bit extra for multiple SSDs?
Whatever the case, there are a lot of decisions to make. And a potentially hefty price tag attached if you’re looking for a long-lasting build that allows you to play games at higher visual settings. However, in all the excitement of making a PC your own, there’s one commonly overlooked factor: the Operating System (OS).
You could go for Linux or another open-source OS platform, but more than likely, you’ll utilize the latest version of Microsoft’s OS, Windows 10. While that may seem like a simple decision, did you know there are different iterations of Windows 10 to choose from? To help you understand which version is best for gaming, we’ll dive into the details of both Windows 10 Home and Pro, as well as the primary differences between them.
What is Windows 10 Home?
Windows 10 Home is the latest version of Windows 10 that comes prepackaged in most new PCs, laptops, and tablets. It contains the core features from the standard Windows 10, including the latest iteration of the start menu, a mandatory Cortana voice assistant, and the Windows Hello biometric lock feature.
The Home version includes the added Xbox streaming feature, which allows you to play games on your PC instead of your Xbox One. It also features overhauled security features, with excellent new protections not found in previous Windows iterations. In a nutshell, this is the most up to date version of Windows and is the standard option you’ll get when purchasing a new PC.
What is Windows 10 Pro?
Microsoft has offered Pro versions of their OS since Windows XP. Similar to every other Pro model, the Windows 10 version is designed with business professionals in mind. It includes the core Windows 10 Home OS, but with a handful of additional security, productivity, and business management features.
It’s a free upgrade from the Pro versions of Windows 7 and 8.1 and is often prepackaged in PCs and other devices designed for business use.
Windows 10 Home vs. Windows 10 Pro: What are the Differences?
Now that we have a basic understanding of each version, let’s dive into exactly what makes Windows Home and Windows Pro different.
If you don’t end up buying a new PC or getting a free upgrade from a supported device, you’ll have to pay $119 for a Windows 10 Home license or $199 for the Pro version. It’s a pretty substantial price difference that may make you think twice about choosing Pro if you don’t have a use for its additional features.
Both the Home and Pro version of Windows 10 can initiate Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) sessions. The difference is that you cannot control your PC with another device on your network natively with Home, only Pro allows for that functionality.
The reasoning is that RDP is meant to assist business professionals who find themselves working remotely from time to time. It creates a secure connection between work and home computers that allows the user to access files, programs, and other sensitive material. This isn’t a particularly useful feature for those just looking to game, and there are plenty of free or low-cost options available with similar functionality if you need it.
Bitlocker is an encryption tool that provides extra security for your hard drive and external USB flash drives. It functions similarly to the native security found on macOS (Filevault), providing full disk encryption to keep your data out of hackers’ hands. The latest version even allows for singular file encryption if you want to be more specific with how you lock down your data.
It’s only available with the Pro version at this time. However, there are plenty of free and low-cost 3rd party options available if you need it. But it’s a great option if you’d rather have a built-in security measure already enabled. Keep in mind that if you do go with the Pro version, you’ll need to be sure that any external drives support Bitlocker or risk losing out on performance.
Trusted Boot is available in Windows 10 Pro, and works alongside Secure Boot to help keep your PC free from malware. As part of its safety measures, it checks every aspect of the startup process before going online. This is a great feature for business users that consistently work with encrypted data, but for the average user, you likely don’t need it.
Another Pro-specific feature, Sandbox allows you to launch a self-contained virtual environment. When in use, Sandbox creates its own unique space within your operating system that vanishes once you close it out. You can even search the web anonymously and have it disappear once you’re finished.
This is an excellent feature if you’re looking to test apps or try risky downloads, but it’s also not as secure as other virtual environment platforms.
The Pro version of Windows 10 also allows you to create a virtual PC within your OS. This feature enables developers to work on isolated or volatile builds without compromising their central system.
However, it does have some use for nostalgic gamers. If you love playing older PC titles that aren’t compatible with the current Windows version, you can run and house older iterations to do so. You even have access to Linux with the virtual PC, but you will have to own a current OS key for them to operate and download this feature separately.
One significant benefit that Pro has over Home is the massive 2TB of RAM it supports, compared to the Pro’s 128. On the surface, this may seem like a no brainer. More memory is great for gaming, right? Unfortunately, the likelihood you’ll utilize that amount of memory is super slim, so maybe don’t jump into purchasing Pro just yet.
Business Management Features
While Windows 10 Pro boasts many additional features, the most significant difference is the suite of business management tools it provides. This includes the ability to lock down specific features, join a domain, and turn an out-of-the-box PC into a fully fleshed machine in minutes.
These are all incredibly useful for administrators and business professionals, but the likelihood that the tvypical user would ever touch any of these features is extremely low.
Overall, Windows 10 Pro boasts many additional security, productivity, and business management features over the standard Windows 10 Home OS. If you’re a business owner that needs these added features to stay on top of your employees’ PCs and keep data secure, it’s an excellent investment. But for everyone else, especially those who simply need an OS for gaming, it’s just a bunch of unnecessary features packaged within the ability to handle additional RAM that you’ll never use.
Unless you want additional hard-wired security or the ability to create virtual PCs that run an older OS, you’re better off saving the $80 and investing it in another component of your PC.