May 6, 2004 2:12 PM PDT

Not all will see Longhorn in 3D

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Is your PC ready for Longhorn?

February 18, 2004

Plan A for Microsoft

November 6, 2003
SEATTLE--The next version of Windows will sport some fancy, three-dimensional graphics, but for those with an older video card, Longhorn will look a lot like Windows 2000.

That's because with Longhorn, Microsoft plans to offer three different graphical interfaces, each requiring a different level of graphics card.

"This is the first time we've had a tiered user experience based on the hardware you are running," lead product manager Greg Sullivan said during an interview at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) here.

The top-of-the-line interface, code-named "Aero Glass," will have transparency and other advanced three-dimensional shading features but will demand a high-end video card with at least 64MB of video memory. The midlevel "Aero" interface will offer most of the improved graphics abilities and will require just 32MB of video memory.

Both Aero and Aero Glass will also require DirectX 9.0 support, AGP 4X for external graphics cards and a Longhorn graphics driver.

For those systems that lack such a powerful graphics card, Microsoft will offer a "classic" interface, designed to replicate Windows 2000, the mainstay of today's corporate desktops.

Although Microsoft detailed the graphics requirements for Longhorn, it did not, as it had originally planned, give public guidance on what types of hardware will be either required or recommended to run Longhorn.

Instead, Sullivan said, the company is talking privately with computer makers and other hardware companies, as it tries to finalize its plans for the OS. The arrival of Longhorn has also been pushed back until mid-2006, making the need for such requirements less urgent.

Sullivan did say that "the overwhelming majority" of systems being made when Longhorn ships will be capable of running the operating system. The OS will also run on relatively new machines made before Longhorn arrives. "The expectation is that if you have a relatively new PC, you should be able to take advantage of the OS," Sullivan said.

The graphics requirements are not merely for show, Sullivan said.

"When you have a terabyte of local storage, potentially, a rich way to relate and gain (access) to the data becomes very important," Sullivan said. "We're not doing 3D in the (Windows) shell because it is cool--but it is cool."

Independent technology analyst Peter Glaskowsky said the hardware requirements appear not to be overly stringent and that the OS should run on most modern machines. "Certainly, by the time it comes out, I think almost anything being manufactured will make the grade," he said.


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Longhorn will be dragging in the dust...
Ok, so Longhorn will have features in 2006(?) that Mac OSX had
3 years ago. Longhorn's recommmended hardware specs are
ridiculous and Mac OSX gets faster and less encumbered on
older hardware with each release plus OSX is already leaps and
bounds ahead of where Windows HOPES it will be by 2006 in the
GUI department. ...and people wonder why people like myself
who have been in professional IT consulting for over a decade
are now using Macs? I have all the power and portability of
Unix, plus the best GUI any OS could hope to have. (and it keeps
getting better!) I hear people gripe about the price of Macs, yet
every new Windows OS practically requires a PC upgrade
(Longhorn will require EXTENSIVE upgrades from today's PC's),
my 3 year old G4-550 Powerbook performs marvelously and
flawlessly 24/7, needs not to be upgraded (though I'm lusting
for a G5), and every release of OSX runs BETTER on my laptop
than the previous one. Let's talk ROI people! : ) You WIndows
folks, can wait if you want, I'll continue to support you and your
networks, patch your security holes and buggy software, and
take your money to the bank, but I'll be d*mned if I'll throw mine
away on Longhorn or any other Windows OS in my house or my
shop. It was fun while it lasted, but I've met a new love.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Mac OS X works great on older models!
I would like to add that I installed Mac OS X 10.3.3 Panther on an
old original iMac Bondi Blue G3/233 as an experiment and it
runs better and faster than the previous version of Mac OS X
10.1! Of course I helped it a little by adding more memory to
get it up to 384MB and the maximum built-in 6MB Video
Memory seems to be enough for a pleasant interface but is
limited to non graphic intensive applications. But overall the
darn thing works great and is extremely stable!

My personal opinion is this software would be a "Longhorn"
killer app if only Apple would port it for PC's but make some
features "better" if used on a Mac. Like iTunes is now.
Posted by Brad Freeman (9 comments )
Link Flag
A Reply.
I admit that OS X for Macs is a very, very nice looking OS. I think that's the only thing I like about Macs, but what little I saw it looked superb. XP's look is a big jump over the older versions of Windows, but it still doesn't compete with Mac 10. I'm hoping that Longhorn will look a ton nicer, heck, I'd upgrade to see it!
Posted by (26 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You are a Microsoft custmer
They are banking on the fact you will pay money to see a flashy interface. I hope for most peoples benefit that most of the improvments mentioned dont end up being vapor ware.
Posted by Kilz (85 comments )
Link Flag
The problem with Longhorn
I think one of the toughest things for Microsoft with Longhorn
will be getting people to upgrade. Every computer out today is
apparently too slow to run it, so everyone will have to upgrade.
In the meantime, Mac OS X runs on any computer since the iMac
(1998) and boasts the same feature set as Longhorn, and is
available today. And guess who first introduced the tiered
graphics for the OS? Apple with Quartz Extreme in Mac OS X
Posted by iKenny (98 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Longhorn Not just a GUI upgrade.
Longhorn isn't just a GUI upgrade. OSX doesn't have the features that Longhorn will include. It will have a new filesystem, which which remains to be seen if it's any better, supposed to be a lot better though. Then it's supposed to have DRM out the ass, which I'm sure no one is looking forward too. But Longhorn and OSX can't be compared, it's not even here yet. So, make your comments when it does come out. Then we will see what Apple has to offer. OS11? Who knows. Where can it go from here?
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
Good Timing?
People updrade their computers every two years. Those that don't usually buy a new one every 4-6 years. With the last major computer purchasing event having taken place 2000 where fears of the millenium bug wiping out thousands of computers, Microsoft has struck a good time to be releasing the 'next generation' in OS Technology to the Windows User's. Top pc's today will be able to run Longhorn well, and anyone upgrading or buying a new computer in the next two years should have no problem running Longhorn.
Posted by nbdeagle (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Why is it in every longhorn post theirs a mac user complaing
No offense, and i at times use linux as much as windows, but are you people feeling threatened or somehow violated because longhorn is gonna copy all the things that made the mac os better then windows :P
Posted by FocusedWolf (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"We're not doing 3D in the (Windows) shell because it is cool"
WHY NOT???? Why not do something just because it's so freaking cool?? That's what I like about Apple. They do stuff just to make using the UI feel good. I remember using an SGI workstation 10 years ago and when you closed a window it would twirl and shrink away. Our regular ol' PC's have way more power than that these days, but MS hasn't used it. Kinda sad really.
Posted by (8 comments )
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