Print 58 comment(s) - last by Helbore.. on Dec 21 at 2:17 PM

You're going to need at least 800 MHz and 512 MB

Microsoft has updated its Get Ready Web site to include the minimum system requirements to run Windows Vista.

A Windows Vista Capable PC must include at least a CPU running at 800MHz, 512 MB of RAM, a DirectX 9 graphics card capable of at least 800x600, a CD-ROM drive and a 20 GB HDD with at least 15 GB free for the install. Of course, systems with bare minimum specifications will be unable to run Vista in the Aero interface.

In order a PC to be certified as “Windows Vista Premium Ready,” it must have at least a 1 GHz CPU, 1 GB of RAM, a DirectX 9 graphics with a WDDM driver, 128 MB of graphics memory, Pixel Shader 2.0, DVD-ROM drive, a sound card, internet access and 40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space.

For Windows XP, users who did not meet the minimal requirements for XP Home (300 MHz, 128 MB) were still able to install and run the operating system, albeit rather slowly. It remains to be seen if Windows Vista will allow installs on machines lesser than minimal specification.

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GHz myth
By lplatypus on 12/19/2006 5:58:15 PM , Rating: 3
Haven't we moved on from measuring CPU performance in GHz?

RE: GHz myth
By walk2k on 12/19/2006 6:06:53 PM , Rating: 3
No not really. Not back when they were 800mhz for sure. That didn't happen until AMD started using the "Althon" rating, when they were about 1.4 Ghz.

RE: GHz myth
By lplatypus on 12/19/2006 6:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I suppose that the GHz myth became more evident when Intel started marketing Pentium 4 processors with significantly worse IPC than competitors. As you say, this started happening at slightly higher clock frequencies than 1GHz. Today however I can buy a 1GHz x86-compatible embedded processor like a Via C3 or AMD Geode which would be heaps slower than a 1GHz Athlon from yesteryear, so I think that the GHz myth is relevant at 1GHz today.

RE: GHz myth
By dice1111 on 12/19/2006 6:10:08 PM , Rating: 2
This is an interesting point. What should we be messuring CPU in nowadays? Serial numbers and CPU types? Cache? FSB speed? Heat?

It's not that simple. If CPU makers could post their processing powers in a quanitative messurement (like HP and tourque of a car engine), it would make a lot more sence to us simpletons, and easier for them to sell me on a product.

Maybe in gigaflops or a new word like Compupower or something.

RE: GHz myth
By ADDAvenger on 12/19/2006 6:16:53 PM , Rating: 2
Even FLOPS aren't entirely accurate though, theoretical FLOPS seem to be about ten times more than actual real-world FLOPS in everything but supercomputers, and even they seem to get half the real-world FLOPS. I don't remember the numbers exactly, the 1/10 and 1/2 numbers are somewhat made up, but it's close.

RE: GHz myth
By Oregonian2 on 12/19/2006 6:22:50 PM , Rating: 2
And Floating Point performance (FLOPS) may not be terribly relevant anyway. A zero-FLOP processor might run most of vista (or any other OS) just fine. FLOPS is more relevant for things like running SETI-at-home (or the new version whatever it's called).

RE: GHz myth
By greylica on 12/20/2006 7:54:48 AM , Rating: 2
You are completely wrong, FLOP Means almost everything on our digital world. MP3 decompresion, Mpeg, Games, encryptation algoritms, everything, everuything has at least one use for the FLOP operators.

RE: GHz myth
By walk2k on 12/19/06, Rating: -1
RE: GHz myth
By kamel5547 on 12/20/2006 12:24:31 AM , Rating: 2
Um... so how deos this apply to the AMD chip vs an Intel chip lets say... 2.6Ghz dual core athlon performs worse than a 2.4 Ghz Intel dual core... Or the fact that a Pentium D performs fare worse than both those processors at higher clocks and being a dual core chip as well.

Ghz are irrelevant. YOu need another measure of performance that calcualtes real world operations performed.

RE: GHz myth
By cochy on 12/19/2006 6:35:58 PM , Rating: 5
Microsoft should do what game publishers do: List all compatible parts by name, i.e. AthlonXP 2000+ or better/Pentium 3 1Ghz or better etc.

Problem solved.

RE: GHz myth
By PitViper007 on 12/20/2006 11:35:57 AM , Rating: 2
While I agree totally with you that MS should list the required CPU specs according to the CPU manufacturer's naming convention, I think that they still have the specs low enough that at this point, it isn't required.

On a side note, I've been running the Vista RC1 Beta for a while now on an Athlon 64 3200+ machine with 1GB ram. I have to say that while it seems to run OK, it is a memory hog. The OS alone seems to want 400-500 meg of ram alone. Add in any programs you want to run, and I think a minimum of 1GB is a necessity.


not too bad...
By thejez on 12/19/2006 5:49:01 PM , Rating: 2
I installed vista ultimate on my Athlon XP 1700+ with 512 MB of RAM, 128MB ATI 7600XT, and 80GB hdd.... everything installed just fine and wasn't too slow with Glass turned on. However i did install another 512 MB of ram ($45) and now it runs a lot faster... for daily use its plenty fast although i dont play a lot games on that machine... i am also adding a 2GB ReadyBoost drive over the hollidays to see if that will increase the speed even more...

RE: not too bad...
By Pirks on 12/19/06, Rating: -1
RE: not too bad...
By edpsx on 12/19/2006 6:53:49 PM , Rating: 2
No its not.. read my other post. I do recommend 1gb of ram though.

RE: not too bad...
By nurbsenvi on 12/19/2006 7:13:41 PM , Rating: 2
Does he mean he can boot from 2gb flash mem?
I know that the Vista does support Hybrid hard drive which has got flash mem in them

but what does he mean by "2gb flash"?

is there a way you can boot from 2gb flash without the need for loading from hdd?

RE: not too bad...
By edpsx on 12/19/2006 11:04:12 PM , Rating: 2
I dont know whether or not you can boot to it.. maybe from hibernation its possible but from a cold boot Id imagine unless the BIOS supports it its not feasible. It basically adds another swap space available when RAM gets full and it needs extra memory to use.

RE: not too bad...
By thejez on 12/20/2006 12:31:31 AM , Rating: 2
ReadyBoost allows you to create a shadow of your swap file onto a flashdrive where access times are typically < 1ms (if you get a decent flash drive)... this speeds up access to smaller (4k) chunks of data that is accessed frequently from the swap file... this speeds up the system by reducing the latency required to access the data in the swap file.

It not near as performant as adding real mem to a system but its way cheaper. I can add a 2GB flash drive for ~ $25 where 2GB of mem is way more expensive.

RE: not too bad...
By thejez on 12/20/2006 12:34:58 AM , Rating: 2
i think your confusing what i am talking about with ReadyDrive which support the hybrid drives for super fast boot times and hybernate recovery.

Here is a link that explains the new performance stuff in vista at a high level:

RE: not too bad...
By thejez on 12/20/2006 12:25:44 AM , Rating: 2
please send me the link to the website where i can buy 2GB (2x 1GB) of PC2100 ram for $25.... cause thats what the 2GB flashdrive cost me.

RE: not too bad...
By fireproofmatch on 12/20/2006 3:57:55 AM , Rating: 2
you are the stupidest thing I heard all this week. do your research.

RE: not too bad...
By slashbinslashbash on 12/19/2006 10:17:06 PM , Rating: 2
ATI 7600XT? That's a new one :O

And the 800MHz requirement does make sense. The PIII and Athlon were fairly close in performance back in those days. The bigger problem is that 512MB is the upper limit on those old Intel 815 chipset motherboards that came with those Coppermine PIII's. Stuck at 512MB is no place to be with Vista.

minimal configuration
By Bytre on 12/19/2006 6:25:26 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it can be installed on machines with less than the minimum configuration. There is not a cpu speed lock in it.

RE: minimal configuration
By RandomFool on 12/19/2006 6:45:42 PM , Rating: 2
I couldn't install RC1 on my pc with 256Megs ram.

RE: minimal configuration
By edpsx on 12/19/2006 6:52:28 PM , Rating: 2
This is actually OLD news. The requirements have been out for quite some time. And adding 2GB flash drive to the computer over ram is not only cheaper but is also quite faster than it using your HDD for swap space, it makes total sense to use this. I think the biggest problem most people will have is the ram and GPU requirements, but even then thats just for the fancy version.

<-- currently 2gb ram, 7900GT (256mb) 4200+ X2.. and it still rates mine as a 3.5/5 or something on its testing scale.

RE: minimal configuration
By walk2k on 12/19/2006 7:27:00 PM , Rating: 2
That's strange, my system is similar (X2 4400+, 2GB, 7800GT) and it gets a 5.0 (in RC1 or RC2). It only gets that low because the cpu is the slowest subsystem (at 5.0) the rest of it gets much higher scores, 5.3 or so for the HDD, 5.8 I think for the ram, and 5.9 for the GPU (5.9 is the highest rating).

RE: minimal configuration
By edpsx on 12/19/2006 11:05:08 PM , Rating: 2
Its been awhile since I checked.. maybe they changed something since then. I uninstalled it awhile back due to lack of driver support.

GPU requirements
By phatboye on 12/19/06, Rating: 0
RE: GPU requirements
By mechwarrior1989 on 12/19/2006 6:36:26 PM , Rating: 2
You only need a DX9 Graphics card if you want to run Aero, which looks great btw, but you don't have to get a DX9 graphics card if you don't want to.

RE: GPU requirements
By lplatypus on 12/19/2006 6:36:35 PM , Rating: 2
What does "DirectX 9 capable" mean exactly? It doesn't seem to imply support of Pixel Shader 2.0, because this is an additional requirement for "Windows Vista Premium" certification.

RE: GPU requirements
By willow01 on 12/19/2006 6:58:29 PM , Rating: 2
That is one of the problems with DirectX 9 and lower, a grfx card need only support certain elements of DX in hardware, the rest can be done (if at all) rather slowly in software. With DX10 a graphics card must support all of the features of the api to be called a DX10 card.
Also is that right that you still need a dx9 capable card as minimum?

RE: GPU requirements
By walk2k on 12/19/2006 7:29:19 PM , Rating: 2
That's right, just because a card or chip has a DX9 driver doesn't mean it's suitable. I think when they say "pixel shader2.0 and 256mb VRAM" they basically mean integrated chipsets (with no pixel shaders and only shared ram, etc) need not apply.

By chucky2 on 12/19/2006 7:07:38 PM , Rating: 2
...back when Vista Beta 2 Public hit, I installed it on my own machine, and it did install - and run...very slowly mind you with nothing else loaded up, but, if you had to have Vista, and couldn't afford an upgrade, it will at least work for you.

Typing this on my:

AMD K6-3+ 450 OC'd to 600 (6.0x100)
Tyan S1598C2
512MB Mushkin PC100 CAS222
Radeon 9500 w/ 128MB
PCI Syba SATA RAID controller
Seagate 128GB 7200.7 SATA hard drive
SIIG USB2.0/Firewire/NIC PCI add in card
Soundblaster 16 PCI

Yes, I know my machine in ancient...but, it runs XP w/ SP2 just fine, Word, Excel, and IE (or Opera) work fine, and it's most importantly, cheap (can't beat free).

Please AMD, release 690G!!!!


By johnsonx on 12/19/2006 10:46:43 PM , Rating: 2
Damn, how did you get your K6-3 up to 600Mhz? I couldn't even get mine stable at 550 with a TEC. Even 500Mhz was touchy with stock cooling, so I mostly ran mine stock.

By carl0ski on 12/20/2006 12:37:23 AM , Rating: 2
i had my K6-2 at 2x 100 which as it so happens becomes 600mhz :)

i never got my hands on an Asus or Gigabyte super socket 7 mainboard that unofficially supported 133 fsb


By chucky2 on 12/21/2006 5:31:48 AM , Rating: 2
All CXT cores remap the 2.0 multiplier to that's what I've got set, and my Tyan board (unfortunately only) goes to 100MHz FSB.

As far as the CPU being able to actually do that, it's a + series chip. Basically, it's meant for notebooks, however since the same chipsets were used in the notebooks, you just really need a motherboard that can support the lower voltages.

The advantage to running one of these is that they were manufactured on the .18 micron process instead of the .25 the other K6's were that's where the speed (and less heat) come from.

Pretty much all the K6-3+'s in the wild were the 450MHz variety, and pretty much all of them were good for 550MHz with stock voltage or maybe a .1v bump. Most of them were good up to 600MHz also, albeit with a .1v to .3v bump needed.

Nice little chips...have served me really well over the years...


Funny people should complain...
By B166ER on 12/20/2006 1:36:52 AM , Rating: 2
I guess it is unfair MS made Vista's requirements so high, as if you are stuck with a 700 Mhz P-III w/ 256megs (a la mom and dad), then you cant use Vista. I mean whats one suppossed to do, go back to Win98? They soooo oughta lower Vistas requirements, so we all can get a higher end OS, 'specially one that costs more than our lowly 700 mhz systems.

RE: Funny people should complain...
By tcsenter on 12/20/2006 5:39:12 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, those are the choices. You can either run a just-released OS or a nine year-old OS that is no longer supported. There are no other options in between at all.

By PitViper007 on 12/21/2006 2:10:25 PM , Rating: 2
There are other choices, just not from Microsoft. I'm not normally one to take up the Linux banner, but in fairness there are SEVERAL different flavors of Linux that will run on older hardware. Some are easier to use than others, but they are there. If the machine is to be used primarily for surfing the 'net, email, and maybe word processing, that might be the way to go. If you are wanting to run software designed for the Windows OS, there are ways to do it but it's not real easy. It's not a perfect solution certainly, but it is something between 9x and Vista.


RE: Funny people should complain...
By Helbore on 12/21/2006 2:17:30 PM , Rating: 2
What is the point of having newer, more powerful hardware if all the software caters of the lowest end of the market?

An 800Mhz CPU is ancient now. 512MB RAM is dirt cheap. These specs are perfectly fine for a just-released, state-of-the-art (no jokes, please ;) ) operating system. Simple fact is, new software is meant for new(ish) hardware. If you've got an old PC, expect it to run the software that it was designed to run (ie. software that came out at the time)

Performance Measurement
By Azsen on 12/19/2006 8:10:13 PM , Rating: 2
What someone needs to do is set up an impartial company that will measure the performance of CPUs. The CPU manufacturers e.g. Intel & AMD would then send all their new CPUs to this company for testing/benchmarking. Based on the results of the test, they would then give the CPU a rating/score and the CPU manufacturer would have to use this rating in their marketing to describe the ability of the CPU.

But even if this were to happen, a lot of the real world CPU performance is based on the rest of the system i.e. motherboard, chipset, RAM and so on. It would be difficult to keep the rating scale consistent for new CPUs as new chipsets or faster RAM comes out. Maybe if the program only used the internal cache on the CPU and the benchmark program was specifically designed to use multiple cores as much as possible then it would be more accurate.

At the end of the day though how's that number going to help decide what the real-world performance will be like? A custom benchmark performance rating isn't going to tell you how the CPU will perform in commonly used applications or games. You will still have to rely on review sites like Anandtech for that. At best it would clarify some confusing ratings across manufacturers and get rid of the Ghz rating which is meaningless when comparing CPUs from different manufacturers.

RE: Performance Measurement
By S3anister on 12/19/2006 10:05:26 PM , Rating: 2
like what the EPA does to automobiles....

THEN it [the impartial company's speed measurements] can get outdated every 2 years, and not properly measure how the CPU's actually perform.

sounds great!

RE: Performance Measurement
By jtesoro on 12/20/2006 1:33:36 AM , Rating: 2
Isn't that what 3DMark (or PCMark) is supposed to do? On one hand we say that it's an artificial, but somewhat inaccurate, benchmark when measuring game performance. But for this purpose it seems to hit the mark (no pun intended).

CD ROM drive?
By Etern205 on 12/19/2006 10:51:33 PM , Rating: 2
A Windows Vista Capable PC must include at least a CPU running at 800MHz, 512 MB of RAM, a DirectX 9 graphics card capable of at least 800x600, a CD-ROM drive and a 20 GB HDD with at least 15 GB free for the install.

Okay this seems kind of odd. Assuming all the versions of Windows Vista will be available on a single DVD. Then why is the minimum requirement you need is a CD-ROM? Is Microsoft going to separate Windows Vista Home Basic or those Starter Editions on a stand alone CD or something?

For those that does not know almost all the version of Vista is on a single DVD. If you have downloaded Vista RC1 run it,
and when you get up to where you type in your product key, skip that part and you will see the other versions of Vista. :)

RE: CD ROM drive?
By InTheNameOfMyself on 12/20/2006 12:26:55 AM , Rating: 2
Kind of brings back the old days, doesn`t it?

You know, like installing Windows95 from FDs.
I thought it was like 12 or 13 disks.

RE: CD ROM drive?
By atwood7fan on 12/20/2006 12:39:45 AM , Rating: 2
hah! I remember needing 29 disks to install windows 95 on my old pentium 66; good times until one of the disks in the middle went bad (I think around disk 16) now THAT was fun!

800mhz/512mb ram
By praeses on 12/19/2006 6:55:50 PM , Rating: 2
Ironically, that's the configuration of the oldest "in service" machines I have here at work. The ones we bought before hand were P2-350's w/64->128mb of ram.

Anyways, from a fresh install, service packed, and with Office 2k3, they already feel sluggish. Since the users tend to fall within the typical user category, we run Symantec AV Corp 10.1, which turns sluggish into slugs. I cannot imagine Vista on these machines running anything other than Office.

RE: 800mhz/512mb ram
By Lord Banshee on 12/19/2006 7:06:02 PM , Rating: 2
I do not know

My first built machine was a 800MHz p3 with 512MB so i don't see whats so weird about it. Some of us a long time ago learned that more ram is always better :)

RE: 800mhz/512mb ram
By StevoLincolnite on 12/19/2006 8:24:09 PM , Rating: 1
More RAM isn't always better, If you remember back to the Windows 98 Era... *Vomits*
You would recall computers having LESS performance with 512Mb or more RAM!
That was a problem with the Operating system though, as it had troubles paging "Large" amounts of memory.
I have a Celeron 800, 256Mb of ram, and a Voodoo 5 5500 In my bedroom for the ole' 3DFX games, and the games that just don't work on Windows 2000/XP. I'm hoping when I make the jump to vista I wont loose certain games/programs like when I made the jump to XP.

By kibets on 12/19/2006 5:42:04 PM , Rating: 2
That means my sammy Q1 UMPC supports Vista in 800 x 600 mode


By threepac3 on 12/19/2006 6:01:17 PM , Rating: 2
Wait a sec here... It seems the the writer implies that if you only meet the minimum requirements and have a DirectX 9 capable card that you would not be able to run Aero. Then what would be the point having a DX 9 card in the first place?

about ram req
By jazzboy on 12/20/2006 9:22:26 AM , Rating: 2
It seems like MS wanted to ensure that those who installed Vista on 512MB RAM machines, actually did get at least okish performance. I've got Vista installed on a 512 MB laptop and it's not bad at all - and then it improves masssively when I add a flash drive and use 512MB of it for Readyboost.

If you install XP on a machine with 64MB RAM (min XP RAM requirement), it is SOOO slow due to constant paging, and even running wordpad/paint/pinball is a struggle.

By encryptkeeper on 12/20/2006 11:15:52 AM , Rating: 2
It remains to be seen if Windows Vista will allow installs on machines lesser than minimal specification.

Trust me, it will. I work for a PC distributor, and we have seen people running Aero on 32 meg video cards.

Install vista?
By RyanE on 12/21/2006 11:49:28 AM , Rating: 2
Ya know, I worked for ms supporting xp through an outsourcer and we were breaking Xp all the time. A funny one was when we edited and INF that was used to check against files and registry entries that wouldn't grove with XP. I bet that it's a similar thing with Vista. I think that you could probably install it on lower then min specs but it'll run like crap.

By albundee on 12/19/06, Rating: -1
RE: .
By aGreenAgent on 12/19/2006 5:45:28 PM , Rating: 2
That's right asshole, people who can't afford new computers should be shot.

RE: .
By Nightmare225 on 12/19/2006 5:56:35 PM , Rating: 2
I somehow doubt anyone interested in a computer won't have enough money for an 800 MHz processor and 512 mb of RAM... >_>

RE: .
By walk2k on 12/19/2006 6:02:49 PM , Rating: 2
Well, if you have a 800mhz computer with 512 megs, I'd be pretty surprised, unless you've upgraded the ram recently. 800mhz computers were more commonly shipping with 128-256 megs.

Heck 512 didn't become the standard until the last year or so.

The RAM requirements are pretty high. 1GB for Vista Ultimate? Yikes.

RE: .
By RandomFool on 12/19/2006 6:43:24 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like this is the end for me...

~Typing on a 700Mhz P3 with 256Meg ram~

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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