Paint.NET version 4.0 system requirements

The system requirements for Paint.NET version 4.0 will be increased slightly, although it shouldn’t affect many people.

Here is what version 3.36 requires:

  • Windows XP (SP2 or later), or Windows Vista, or Windows Server (2003 SP1 or later)
  • .NET Framework 2.0 (recommended: .NET Framework 3.5 SP1)
  • 500 MHz processor (recommended: 800 MHz or faster)
  • 256 MB of RAM (recommended: 512 MB or more)
  • 1024 x 768 screen resolution
  • 200+ MB hard drive space
  • 64-bit support requires a 64-bit CPU that is running a 64-bit version of Windows, and an additional 128 MB of RAM

And here’s what I’m planning for version 4.0:

  • Windows XP (SP2 or later), or Windows Vista, or Windows Server (2003 SP1 or later)
  • .NET Framework 3.5 SP1
  • Intel Pentium III, or AMD Athlon XP, or any newer CPU with SSE support (recommended: any dual-core CPU)
  • 256MB of RAM in Windows XP (recommended: 512MB or more)
  • 768MB of RAM in Windows Vista (recommended: 1GB or more)
  • 1024 x 768 screen resolution (recommended: 1280×1024 or larger)
  • 200+ MB hard drive space
  • 64-bit mode requires an additional 256MB of RAM, a 64-bit CPU, and a 64-bit edition of Windows

The biggest changes are the .NET 3.5 SP1 and SSE requirements. Requiring SSE simplifies a few things with the native code, and makes things a lot faster as well (especially for DDS file saving). Since the Pentium III is 9 years old, and the Athlon XP is 7 years old, I figured it was safe to do this. All 64-bit processors support SSE2, and so this is made use of then. It’s rather interesting to have the C++ compiler output the .asm files for GPC and to see how much SSE2 is part of the instruction mix (quite a lot!).

I’m not requiring any newer service pack levels, such as XP SP3 or Vista SP1. I don’t really see any need to. This probably won’t change until .NET itself requires something newer.

I’m not finding that I need to increase the memory requirement at all. In fact, technically the amount of required memory may go down with the changes I’m making to the rendering system. Less memory is always a good thing 🙂

So, let me know if you think any of this will be a problem for your deployment or installation. Also, bear in mind that the only “hard” requirements are XP SP2, .NET 3.5 SP1, and SSE support. By “hard” I mean they are the only ones I actually enforce in the installer and at application startup.

31 thoughts on “Paint.NET version 4.0 system requirements

  1. L.Rawlins says:

    Doesn’t Paint.NET (when it searches for and gathers updates) leave a log of what the system specification of the enquiring system was on your servers, so that you might ‘run the numbers’ as to what the average Paint.NET user is actually running in terms of hardware and OS?

    I wouldn’t have a problm with that if it helped with focused development for your core hardware demographic. So long as I’m told the informations purpose and shown what will be sent at some point during installation.

  2. Rick Brewster says:

    L. — I don’t have a telemetry system. However, I do monitor the specs that are listed in crash logs that are sent to me. I’ve only seen one or two come in that didn’t have SSE listed, and they were very low end systems to begin with.

    When Paint.NET checks for updates, the update manifest that it downloads is named such that it includes the OS version, CPU bitness, and language. This allows me to keep track of those demographics by simply parsing the HTTP GET logs. It also allows me to target updates based on those 3 factors, if necessary. For instance, Paint.NET v3.0 was never “deployed” to Windows 2000 users.

    The other form of feedback I monitor is, well, feedback. If, during Paint.NET v4.0’s alpha and beta period, I get significant response that SSE is too strict a requirement, then I’m likely to find an alternative.

  3. Fowl says:

    While requiring SEE might seem like a non-consequential change… it will impact at least one person I know who is using Paint.Net on a ~500mhz Celeron running XP with 512mb worth of RAM.

    He really needs a new computer anyway, but it’s not like a new version of Paint.Net will do it. Conversely I’m sure that the previous (current) version will remain adequate – so I’d like to suggest that if SSE is not detected a link to 3.x is provided.

  4. Indy says:

    I think this is really fair and good for all. We will see how much the SSE speed improvemnts are, especially for those who don´t use DDS-filetype like me.
    With this requirements PDN 4 will still run on my parents PC who use my really really old PC back from 2000.

  5. Sapo says:

    I find the memory requirement a little strange (I understand they’re not hard requirement but that’s not the point), doing “serious” image editing on windows XP with 256MB is next to impossibile because the system will soon swap the memory needed by the program (which means that the program will slow down).
    While doing the same with Vista and 512MB is probably similar I don’t think that it is worse.

    Is the user knows what his doing Vista with 512MB of ram may even be better than XP with 256MB (and if he doesn’t know Vista will run like crap and he will surely switch back to XP).
    One of my machine is a tweaked Vista box with 512MB of ram and Paint.NET runs just fine.

  6. Rick Brewster says:

    Sapo, who said anything about “serious” image editing? These are the requirements for a normal user doing average image editing.

    For “serious” image editing, go grab your 64-bit CPU and at least a gig of RAM. I’m not going to make my system requirements a full page long and break it out into scenarios, that just wouldn’t have value.

  7. BoltBait says:

    I really don’t see any reason to recommend a higher screen resolution than 1024 x 768.

    Back in the day… it might have made sense, but there are so many resolutions now… I mean, shouldn’t you recommend 1680 x 1050? After all, I really like how Paint.NET looks on my wide screen monitor.

    The fact is, Paint.NET works PERFECTLY at 1024 x 768 (none of the windows overlap) and in my view, suggesting a higher resolution would only make sense if they did overlap at your minimum requirements. Actually, Paint.NET works fine at 800 x 600. Maybe that should be the minimum requirements with a suggestion of 1024 x 768…

    That’s my 2 cents. Spend it where you like.

  8. kirby145 says:

    I agree with BoltBait, I’m not seeing why you would recommend higher, unless you are going to surprise us with some more GUI tweaks?

  9. Indy says:

    Well, this is not to to system reqirements but it has to do with the screen resolution so:

    If your picture is bigger as your screen or you zoom at least so much that is nearly as big that it reaches the side-ends than you often come across the problem that you want to do something on the edges and one of the 4 small windows (layers, history…) is between you and your image and you have to close it and reopen it when needed.
    This happens much more seldom when using a widescreen and working in the ‘fit to window’ zoom mode because most images don´t reach the four windows.
    Maybe this could be improved when the windows would be in background and you have to rest the mouse one or two seconds over them to come in the foreground.
    Or an other way to solve the problem could be(this could also be done in addition to the first one) to let us scroll beyond the image borders, because what I mentioned a while ago I don´t believe that it´s the end of the image unless I see the PDN background.
    If you use both you could also do a check if these windows are “in the image” or in the PDN background so you don´t have to wait the two seconds to use them.

  10. Mark says:

    Sounds very reasonable.

    PDN2.x is only suitable on upto Win2k
    PDN3.x is only suitable on SSE and later processors
    PDN4.x is for everything made in the last 7 years running XP or later.

    I doubt the SSE requirement would affect too many people, however the SSE changes will benefit far more people.

    PS. How would someone get onto the Private 4.0 alphas?

  11. Rick Brewster says:

    Mark, I think you got your requirements mixed up there a bit … PDN 2.x works fine on 2K and later, and PDN 3.x has no SSE requirement 🙂

    As for the private alphas, that stuff is currently only for a small, invitation-only group.

  12. Rick Brewster says:

    BoltBait — You know, right after I published this blog post I tried PDN4 on a system running Vista x86 w/ 512MB. It ran great … ! As for the screen resolution, *shrug*, it doesn’t really matter, I probably won’t list that then 🙂

  13. =David.A says:

    Wow! Paint.NET 4.0 looks like it’s going to be the first version in which my system won’t meet the recommended requirements (I don’t have a dual core CPU)!

    Guess it’s not a big deal, though. 🙂 Besides, maybe I’ll upgrade by then.

  14. Olivier says:

    Please don’t enforce SSE support as Adobe Premiere Elements does. It would be great if paint.net could still be supported on non SSE platforms.

  15. Rick Brewster says:

    Olivier – Sorry, but at some point older systems just can’t and shouldn’t be supported. From my perspective, it eventually becomes as burdensome as supporting older operating systems. Multiple code paths end up being necessary, which affects the amount of time I can spend working on features or on performance for more modern systems. It simply costs too much.

  16. Nidonocu says:

    Rick, as a feature idea. Since you don’t want to keep bothering people who don’t have the required new system specifications to update, have you thought about releasing an update to the updater code so it can perform a system spec check and alert the user that they can’t get the next version before it disabling its self?

  17. Rick Brewster says:

    Nidonocu, That’s a noble idea but it ends up being a chick and egg problem anyway. Let’s say I put out “3.37”. Not everyone will end up updating to that (I still get crash logs for all v3.xx releases), so if I put up a 3.5 update soon after that then its effectiveness is fairly limited. There’s really no way to tell clients to update to 3.37 and then update to 3.5.

    But yes, having a user in a perpetual state where v3.36 is nagging them to upgrade only to constantly download and then get an error message, “SSE is required,” is not something I’m fond of doing. It may just end up that way though.

  18. Rick Brewster says:

    Oh, and to finish that though. It does end up being a problem that, over time, fixes itself. Chips that do not have SSE is a userbase that is shrinking every month as people slowly upgrade or replace their systems. It’s like the dial-up problem: it isn’t exactly a growing market, if you know what I mean.

    (Disclaimer: I could be wrong and the SSE requirement could actually end up being a major liability/problem. The great thing is I can always fix things, this is the Internet remember :))

  19. JR Wood says:

    You know, I have so much fun with PDN 3.36, that I really wouldn’t be too upset if my system couldn’t handle PDN 4.0; but I sure would like it. :^)

  20. Rick Brewster says:

    Actually, one thing that could work to avoid someone continually being offered an update on a system that can’t run it … I can simply add code to turn off the auto-updater when the installer is run in “update” mode when the system requirements are not met.

  21. Marvin says:

    Hi! I’ve been using Paint.net for more than a year now and all I can say is that I love your product so much that I really don’t have any reason right now to try Adobe Photoshop again, unless I really need the other higher-powered features like 16-bit editing.

    Just wanna know whether the new Paint.net will run on Atom-powered netbooks like the Asus Eee or MSI Wind?

    Thanks and more power!

  22. paddy says:

    Paint.Net is really a good tool. But the tool is a little slow in my computer. It seems that the new version need more resources than before. Have you conside to add some fuctions like “fast load” or “disable fuction1”. It will be helpful to the guy who have a old computer. Sometime I just want to use a easy tool to edit the picture. The basic fuction will be enough^_^

  23. spritemoney says:

    You guys should make a pocket verison of PAINT.NET like how adobe did with PS.

  24. Paul says:

    It appears that I meet all the minimum system requirements for v 3.36. I have a dual athlon processor at 2.8ghz, 3 gb of RAM and more than 200 mb of HD space. I’m running XP Media Center Edition SP2. However, the selection process takes a million years. I’m working on the sections of a mandelbrot image in a background layer, trying to select it and add to the selection. I’ve increased the refresh rate of my CRT monitor to 75 hz and the screen resolution is at 1024 X 768.
    Do you have any idea why this selection process is taking so long?

  25. Racingdj08 says:

    I would consider upgrading my laptop with the AMD Turion 64×2, currently I have the single core AMD Turion, which dosent preform that great.

  26. James says:

    I am successfully running the latest Paint.NET version on my Asus EEE PC, it has a resolution less than 800×600 and has absolutely no problems.

  27. Paint is Awesome says:

    With all this ram being taken from me. there better be a poly tool. or i will stay on 3.35 until that day comes.

    Please dont make V.4 as complicated at Ps.

  28. Rick Brewster says:

    PiA, … what’re you talking about? RAM is being taken from you … ? The latest Paint.NET has *lower* memory requirements. This is also a very old blog post.

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