I would like to point out Windows 8.1 can run on a 16 GB partition with 1 GB of ram. Further, MS has historically always pushed hardware.
What intel giveth, Microsoft taketh away
The requirements have been the same from Vista- Windows 8.1. Hardware with those specs will run reasonably the same from Vista (SP2) through to Windows 8.1.
I found it isn't Microsoft that taketh, as much as: Symantec, McAfee, Adobe, Firefox, and Google (Chrome).
Further on Firefox and Chrome is web developers and websites takething more. On a 9 year old Windows PC that used to function very well, replacing nothing but the web browser, and plugins (like Flash) it is almost unusable on many websites. This isn't Microsoft's problem.