Chapter 17: What is Windows RT?

In terms of looks, Windows RT and Windows 8 use the same new-style Start screen. However, Windows RT has been designed specifically to run on ARM-based tablet devices. Traditional computers run on CPUs that feature the x86 architecture, but many tablets and low-power computers run CPUs that are based on the ARM architecture.

You can't run Windows 8 Pro on devices that have ARM chips, and you can't run Windows RT on devices that have x86 chips. ARM chips consume less power than x86 chips, which means they also produce less heat and don't chew through battery life as fast. They are favoured by manufacturers who want to create small and thin devices, including phones and tablets.

To cater to the market for thin and light devices, Microsoft released Windows RT. It will be available on the entry-level Microsoft Surface tablet, which runs the NVIDIA Tegra ARM-based CPU and it has a starting price of $559. It will perform similarly to Android-based tablets, which also run on ARM CPUs. Windows 8 applications won't be able to run on Windows RT, so you won't be able to install a traditional copy of Microsoft Office, for example. Instead, there will be a special version of Office 2013 that will be available for Windows RT and it will include Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications.

The high-end version of the Surface tablet will run a third generation Intel Core i5 CPU and it will be able to be used as a laptop when resting on a desk, in addition to a tablet when you are on the move. It will run traditional applications without any problems and will offer a similar level of speed as a conventional Ultrabook, for example.

Previous chapter: Microsoft Surface

Next chapter: Do I need a new computer to run Windows 8?

Go back to the index

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Elias Plastiras
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?