It’s no debate that Windows 11 is a better platform for gaming than Windows 10. It’s packed with gamechanging features, from DirectStorage, auto HDR, and an improved Game Mode, to the built-in Xbox app and Game Pass. However, which actual edition of Windows 11 – Home or Pro – should you opt for?
Which Version of Windows 11 is Best for Competitive Gaming?
In short, there’s no noticeable performance difference between Windows 11 Home and Pro when it comes to gaming. All of the game-centric features like auto HDR, the optimized Game Mode, Xbox Game Bar support, and DirectStorage, are available in both Windows 11 versions. Windows 11 Home and Pro also have the same minimum hardware requirements – 64GB of storage, 4 GB of RAM, a 1 GHz dual-core CPU, TPM 2.0, and a GPU compatible with DirectX 12.
For most gamers, Windows 11 Home is therefore the better option because it doesn’t involve any additional costs if you already own Windows 10. However, Windows 11 Pro does have a few differences that some gamers may find worthwhile, including better security, support for more RAM, and a higher CPU core limit.
If you want to futureproof your device for years to come, and never have limitations when it comes to hardware expansion, the Pro edition is ideal. Windows 11 Home only supports up to 1 CPU socket, 64 core count, and 128GB of RAM, while Windows 11 Pro can support up to 2 CPU sockets, 128 cores, and 2 TB of RAM.
With that said, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever need or make use of Window 11 Pro’s upper limits; virtually all triple A games can run effortlessly on 16GB of RAM, and high-end gaming laptops and pre-built PCs rarely go over 32GB of RAM. Even in the future, the chance you’ll ever require more than 126GB of RAM as a gamer is close to nil. Windows 11 Pro’s top specs are really only useful when it comes to tasks like virtualization or heavy video editing.
Windows 11 Pro and Home both have several security measures to keep your PC and data safe from malware, including device encryption, Windows Hello, secure boot, and find my device. However, there are a fair few security measures unique to Windows 11 Pro:
- Windows Sandbox: This feature allows you to create a separate copy of your operating system, with the main advantage of this being that you can download potentially dangerous apps, software, or attachments, and run these in isolation without your main OS being put at risk. Sandbox isn’t really a necessary feature if you stick to mainstream games and websites, but if you dabble in video game modding? It’s definitely worth considering. Mods have been known to distribute viruses that steal your information, with a renowned example being the 2015 GTA V “Angry Planes” and “Noclips” mods.
- BitLocker Device Encryption: This feature is designed to keep your PC protected from prying eyes; your data is encrypted and made unreadable to anyone who tries to access it without the correct decryption code. Aside from protecting you from malware and other threats, it also means your data will stay safe if you accidentally leave your gaming laptop at a local LAN party or esports tournament. Windows 11 Home does offer data encryption as well. However, it isn’t as advanced and lacks the many configuration and management options that Bitlocker Device Encryption has.
- Windows Information Protection (WIP): This feature allows you to set up various security policies to help prevent accidental data leaks or breaches. As a gamer, you likely won’t be interested in this feature – it’s mainly for use in an enterprise setting. Which brings us nicely onto our next difference between Windows 11 Home and Windows 11 Pro:
Windows 11 Pro is ultimately designed with enterprises in mind, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s packed with business-tailored features, such as Assigned Access, which allows you to restrict app access based on the user. Other unique features include Mobile Device Management, Group Policy, Hyper-V, Enterprise State Roaming, and Active Directory support. Windows 11 Pro also gives you the ability to create local accounts.
Now these features, while excellent in professional environments, aren’t going to improve your gaming performance anytime soon. They’re really only ideal for those “entrepreneur by day, hardcore gamer by night” types.
Windows 11 Home is significantly cheaper than Windows 11 Pro. A Windows 11 Home edition license costs $139.99, while a Pro license will set you back $199.99. If you already own Windows 10, you can upgrade to Windows 11 Home for free or to Windows 11 Pro for $99.