Windows 8 would be launched in three different SKUs for x86/64 processors plus an additional version for ARM based processors named as Windows RT (Windows 8 on ARM). Microsoft has tailored all four of these SKUs for different sectors like Windows 8 Core for home users, Windows 8 Pro for professionals and Windows 8 Enterprise for enterprises and business. Windows RT is the first ever version of Windows to be developed specifically for ARM architecture and it has been aimed at low battery consumption with better performance.
Although, the core features of all three x86/64 SKUs are same but, some additional features have been added in each one like Windows 8 Core doesn’t have Windows Media Center support which is included in Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Pro and Core doesn’t have the Windows to go feature while Enterprise have this one etc.
Windows RT has been designed for low battery consumption without compromising the user experience so; it doesn’t have many features like the traditional desktop app support similar to the Windows 8 Core, Pro and Enterprise. Windows RT won’t have the Windows Media Player support and Media Center won’t be allowed to install in it. Windows RT devices will get pre-installed Office 13 application due to restrictions in the desktop app installation.
You can see the complete feature by feature comparison in the table below (click to enlarge).
Which SKU is best for you?
If, you are a home user who want to use Windows 8 for just regular tasks like app usage, TV, movies and songs listening and games etc then, Windows 8 Core is best for you but, if you want to get the features of Media Center then, you will have to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro to get the Pro Pack.
Tip: The upgrade procedure to get Media Center in Windows 8 Core/Windows 8 Pro can be found here.
If, you are a professional and want to take advantage of additional Windows 8 features like VHD support, bit locker encryption and Hyper-V etc then, Windows 8 Pro SKU is best for you.
Note: If, you want to get Windows Media Center in Windows 8 Pro then, you will have to upgrade your Pro too. Media Center upgrade is same for Windows 8 Core and Windows 8 Pro whose procedure can be found here.
Enterprises and businesses will have to use Windows 8 Enterprise which includes all the feature of Windows 8 Core and Windows 8 Pro with an additional feature of Windows to go. Windows to go lets you install Windows 8 on any selective USB drive and plugging it to any other Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC will provide Windows 8 support on it without the need to install Windows 8 on it.
Note: Windows to go feature requires some extra requirements like 32GB of supported USB drive and compatible PC.
If, you are wishing to test out the latest technology of Windows on ARM devices then, Windows RT is best for you. You won’t find Windows RT anywhere other than the selective devices which would get it pre-installed. Windows RT gives limited features but, is best for testing out the new part of Windows developed specifically for ARM processors.
Which Windows 8 version are you choosing? Vote below and we will let you know the results on Windows 8 launch date of October 26.
Which Windows 8 SKU are you buying?
- Windows 8 Pro (49%, 122 Votes)
- Windows 8 Enterprise (27%, 69 Votes)
- Windows RT (tablet) (12%, 31 Votes)
- Windows 8 Core (12%, 29 Votes)
Total Voters: 251
You can see the comparison of different editions of Windows 8.1, the update for Windows 8 here.