May 17, 2006 2:26 PM PDT

Microsoft to spell out Vista's needs

After months of providing only basic guidance about the kind of PC hardware needed to run Windows Vista, Microsoft is ready to get a bit more specific.

On Thursday, the company is expected to give details of two marketing programs that computer makers and retailers can use to indicate whether, and how well, their computers will run the upcoming Windows operating system. The "Vista-capable" program lists the features needed to minimally run the new operating system. The "Premium Ready" program will identify PCs that can take advantage of Vista's high-end features, including its new Aero graphics, according to a source familiar with the company's plans.

To be Vista-capable, a machine needs at least an 800MHz processor, 512MB of memory and a graphics card that can run DirectX 9 graphics. Those requirements are similar to the minimum guidelines the company has been recommending for Vista for some time.

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To carry the Premium Ready designation, a PC must have a 1GHz processor, 1GB of main memory, 128MB of memory and a graphics card that supports Vista's new graphics-driver model.

The amount of graphics memory needed to run Vista's Aero graphics also varies based on the size and number of monitors. Multiple displays and larger screen sizes require more dedicated memory.

The programs are designed to help PC makers characterize and label new systems, but they also give existing PC owners a better sense of whether it is feasible to upgrade their machines.

Microsoft is also expected to announce on Thursday a test version of an upgrade-advisor tool that can be downloaded from its Web site. The tool helps a user know which versions and features of Vista their PC should run, as well as which hardware upgrades might allow them to take fuller advantage of the OS.

Vista also has a built-in tool for evaluating its performance based on a computer's components and overall performance abilities.

The Vista-capable program comes as Microsoft is preparing to offer a broader test version of the Windows update, which the software maker has said will be made available this quarter to about two million testers. The company also hosts its annual Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) for hardware makers next week in Seattle. Details of the Vista-capable program were noted earlier Wednesday by eWeek.

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WinHEC, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows Update, memory, Microsoft Corp.


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Vista May Not Matter
The virtualization vendors are arbitraging the difference between the cost of Windows and the cost of alternative operating systems, which is likely to increase pricing pressure on Microsoft

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Posted by Broward Horne (88 comments )
Reply Link Flag
In a word: huh?
If that's supposed to mean that M$ will have an even harder time persuading folks to move from XP to Vista than they had moving folks from 98 to XP, then I agree. Does anyone really need the meager enhancements that Vista is scheduled to provide? I don't. I've yet to hear of any quantum leaps in interface or overall functionality left in the Vista they're actually gonna release (someday) that puts it so over and above XP that I'll care enough to even upgrade my current box to run it, much less purchase an all-new computer.

Simply put, XP is good enough. It ain't the flashiest or slickest kid on the block, and it has more than its share of issues, but the plain fact is it's an effective OS and lets me run the apps I need/want to run with a minimum of headaches. Unless I'm dealing with really old apps, or high-end programs that require a whole bunch from the hardware, I can buy pretty much whatever I need for the task at hand, hardware or software, and not worry about things like drivers or compatibility. Just install it and nine times out of ten it works. Maybe Macs and OS X do it as good or better, but I gotta buy a whole new machine and new apps to run on it, and Linux seems like a hobby in and of itself to maintain, over and above what apps you run on it. Perhaps also I'm just so acclimatized to Windows idiosyncrasies that I no longer acknowledge all of them, i.e. better the devil you know than the one you don't. Let's put it this way: when I can put OS X on my current hardware AND run City of Heroes/Villains on it, then I'll give a damn! ;)
Posted by DarkHawke (999 comments )
Link Flag
Stamp of Approval
Shouldn't this get the CNET stamp of High Impact news..

Whatever that means
Posted by ServedUp (413 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who will buy Vista?
XP will stay important for years to come and i hope Apple will bring
osX to the OEM market, forcing MS to lower there prices. Nobody
will buy Vista (except for some geeks and nitwits) but they'll force it
in with the new hardware. Now is the time Apple, just go for it!
Posted by Peter Bonte (316 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Don't get your hopes up...
I've been wishing/hoping for OS "salvation" from Apple since the late 80's. To be honest, I don't think Job's realizes what he could do in this market. Apple refuses to compete in the "PC clone" market, all so they can hold on to a &lt; 10% share of the hardware PC market?????

Yes, yes... I've heard the arguments around controlling your hardware. I understand the benefits of not having to support 40 million different sound cards. Does Apple understand how much money this could be worth?

It's all about risk versus reward.
Posted by drfrost (467 comments )
Link Flag
Should Help Christmas Computer Sales
The "Premium Ready" designation should encourage consumers to buy that Christmas Computer, rather than waiting until January - or so.
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ok, 1Ghz cpu does sound reasonable, very reasonable, but 1GB of system memory? Wow...
Posted by huddie klein (70 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I won't be switching to Vista
I can't think of a single reason why I would want to "upgrade" to Vista. XP has all I really need except that it could always be faster. I am running a 3.06GHz with 1GB RAM. Obviously, Vista is going to bog down my existing system, and for what? A couple extra features I don't need, or I could at least get from some other 3rd party software?
Posted by ebeamsales (36 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And when your drivers are no longer offered in XP?
Every new operating system from M$ runs slower and takes up more system resources. Resources I prefer to be used by my games. So I'm in a similar boat with you.

But what's going to happen as the hardware/software community migrates? Eventually I'm going to be stuck upgrading.

Let's hope that by then we can get all the software we want in Linux.
Posted by drfrost (467 comments )
Link Flag
Why not?
I can think of a few. More features. A nicer interface and speaking of that, Aero Glass is gorgeous.

I have pretty much the same specs on my PC as you do and I'll be upgrading for sure (however, I might wait for SP1. I've not decided on that yet).

Vista doesn't have anything I "need" just a lot of stuff I want.

Either way, just like today, I'll still be using Linux more often than Windows.

One can never have too many operating systems....
Posted by angrykeyboarder (136 comments )
Link Flag
Why so high!?
Wow.. its too much system requirements.. Mac OS X has been delivering a stunning graphical user interface for years with specs well below those.
Posted by adam_the_atom (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's interesting...
I can run linux on a very old machine and have no problems whatsoever. And there's really nothing missing in my linux windows manager that I really care about.

Vista has made one promise that I do care about. They've said the new graphic drivers (under the new driver model) will be significantly faster (they claim 10x improvement but I suspect that's only measuring time spent inside the driver and the real bottleneck is the card). If that's true THEN I might be interested. But I'm guessing the first benchmarks will dispell those claims.

The fundamental questions of the universe:

Will Apple ever wake up?

Will gaming publishers ever port to Linux?

Will M$ ever understand their consumer (not business) user base?
Posted by drfrost (467 comments )
Link Flag

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