Whereas today’s mainstream processors and hard drives offer plenty of performance and capacity to keep up with the new OS—now scheduled to arrive for large businesses in November and consumers in January 2007—IT managers and their counterparts, in addition to consumers buying PCs, should take care to specify at least 1GB of memory. If they aim to tap Vista’s Aero user interface, they will need a recent graphics processor, a new report by Gartner said.
Microsoft offers some basic guidelines for Vista on its Web site. For example, it states that the OS will require a minimum of 512MB of RAM and a modern processor to run.
Microsoft is also set to roll out a "Windows Capable" program, which helps highlight PCs capable of being upgraded with the OS for consumers, in April. However, it has not yet put forth final hardware recommendations for the OS, including details on the hardware necessary to run its full Aero interface.
The dearth of information has, so far, left IT managers—as well as PC enthusiasts and other consumers—to wonder how to best configure new machines they might purchase over.
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Lets be realistic here though, most PC’s out there are just not Windows Vista candidates. To a lot of persons, computers are considered an expensive investment, to some, a good value is a PC with 256 MBs of RAM, onboard graphics (64 MBs), Intel Celeron or AMD Sempron. Those are definitely unrealistic specs in some cases to run Windows Vista with a great experience. Also, people are gonna want the Aero Glass effects, they are not gonna get that experience with existing systems unless they do major upgrades or purchase an entirely new machine with all the specified guidelines for getting the Aero Glass experience.
Another thing that confuses me is Aero Glass, in the current Windows Vista BETA, the semi-translucent taskbar and windows are known as Windows Aero under Personalization > Themes. The other thing to take infor account for graphics cards not supporting the Windows Display Driver Model is Aero Basic. So, it is possible (not confirmed or guaranteed) that Aero Glass might be an additional tier that requires an even more powerful GPU to render the interface. This article by eWeek does make some good points though, to get the best experience from Vista, make the sacrifice and invest wisely if you want the seamless experience that Windows Vista is all about and I am sure you will indeed want it.
Right now on my Dell 8300, 3.2GHz HT, 2.6 GBs of RAM, nVidia Geforce FX 5200 128 MB, Vista lags a bit, but of course I take into account, its an interim build not BETA 2 and performance won’t be there until around BETA 2/RC1. Also, limited disk space seems to make Vista really unstable, I am running it on a 10 GB hard disk partition, way below the minimum requirements of 15 GBs. So, for Vista, it is recommended you also get good storage for Vista, since the current BETA eats up 8GBs of disk space, but I don’t know if that will also change to a lower requirement by RTM. But just to be safe, minimum for me would 300GB disk. You could also do a RAID configuration, with say a 150 GB Westen Digital Raptor 10,000 RPM drive as master and a slower secondary drive that is more affordable.
For those persons who have systems up to snuff and just want to upgrade to Windows Vista, at least do the necessary research to ensure that your existing hardware devices and applications are supported or will be with update drivers and patches.