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Microsoft announces requirements for Windows Vista Capable" and "Windows Vista Premium Ready" PCs

Microsoft today laid out the groundwork for what constitutes a "Windows Vista Capable" and "Windows Vista Premium Ready" PC. The actual final specifications for Microsoft's next generation operating system have been speculated on for the past few months, but as we inch closer to the Beta 2 build of Vista, things are starting to become clear.

Vista will run on just about any modern computer released in the past few years. An 800MHz processor coupled with 512MB of RAM is the bare minimum for running Vista. You won't get all of the fancy graphical enhancements and you most likely won't have a very pleasant experience performance wise either. For me, it's bad enough running a Windows XP system with a lot of windows open that is "crippled" with just 512MB of RAM (between Photoshop, FireFox and its memory leaks and the countless other programs I run), so I couldn't imagine limping around on Vista with only 512MB.

To be qualified as a Vista Premium Ready PC, a 1GHz x86 or x86-64 processor is required along with at least 1GB of RAM. In order to run the Aero Glass user interface in all its glory, you'll need a DirectX 9-class graphics card which supports the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM). Microsoft goes further and stipulates these requirements for running Aero Glass on Vista:

  • Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware
  • 32 bits per pixel
  • 64 MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor less than 1,310,720 pixels
  • 128 MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at resolutions from 1,310,720 to 2,304,000 pixels
  • 256 MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at resolutions higher than 2,304,000 pixels
  • Meets graphics memory bandwidth requirements, as assessed by Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor running on Windows XP

Representatives from Dell, Gateway, Lenovo and Toshiba have all made statements in regards to their overwhelming support for Windows Vista and their steadfast commitment to delivering Windows Vista Premium Ready PCs to consumers. Here's a statement from Dell:

“Dell is focused on designing systems today that will enhance the effectiveness of the features of Microsoft® Windows Vista tomorrow,” said John Medica, senior vice president of the Product Group at Dell. “We are working closely with Microsoft to ensure the best user experience on currently shipping performance desktops, workstations and notebooks, and customers can be confident that their high-performance Dell configuration can make the most of the next-generation capabilities of Microsoft Windows Vista.”

For consumers who would like to know if their current system has what it takes to run Windows Vista, you can go to Microsoft's Windows Vista “Get Ready” website and run the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor. And also keep in mind that these are Microsoft's minimum requirements for compliance with Windows Vista. Running a system with the bare minimum is far from optimum for such a new operating system. I wouldn't be surprised if a 2.0GHz and 2GB of RAM is the true “sweet spot" for Vista, as industry insiders have already claimed.



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Virtualised?
By peternelson on 5/19/2006 1:57:36 AM , Rating: 2

I'm confident my machine will be ok to run Vista.

But what I'd *really* like to do is run Vista in a virtual machine using hardware virtualisation and the Xen 3 hypervisor so that several instances of linux are also running as the machine's *main* OS.

Is this likely under a 64 bit VT capable processor with say 4GB ram? Or 8GB?

Even if it can will I have to sacrifice the Aeroglass graphics in order to do so? Or can I flip between virtual machines without conflicting the graphics driver or having crawling screen updates?

I don't think the Microsoft upgrader tool will answer these questions, and as always the official hardware requirements are well under what is required in practice to actually do any worthwhile work on the OS. I'd agree 2GB is a sensible minimum amount for Vista-alone usage.




RE: Virtualised?
By Nekrik on 5/19/2006 2:58:07 AM , Rating: 2
I have read up on Xen but have not run it myself yet. I would imagine that you would have to sacrifice the Aeroglass interface as none of the VM/VT solutions out there offer true 3D support (that I know of), either from an emulated or virtualized device, via a 'pass-through' driver, or by giving direct control to the second OS.

I do think Vista will run well enough under virtualization, screen updates should not crawl along, but it won't be on par with dedicated hardware.


RE: Virtualised?
By InternetGeek on 5/19/2006 6:36:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
VM/VT solutions out there offer true 3D support (that I know of), either from an emulated or virtualized device, via a 'pass-through' driver, or by giving direct control to the second OS.


Actually, it is GPU makers who have to provide support for this. It is a hardware requirement.


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