Microsoft Windows Vista, the latest operating
system from Microsoft, is due to hit stores in January of 2007.
Many elements of Vista have greatly improved upon
the familiar features of Windows XP. An improved start menu will
allow for fast searching of your entire computer, while improved
entertainment features ensure a media rich computer experience.
In addition to improved functionality, enhanced 3-D graphics enrich
the overall user experience. In order to take advantage of all the
great features in Vista, your computer must meet a minimum set of
computing requirements. So the real question is this: what do I
need in the laptop I buy NOW so I'm ready for Vista
Windows Vista Capable
Most laptops purchased today will
carry a badge stating its ability to run
the core functions of Windows Vista.
A Windows Vista Capable laptop requires:
A processor running at least 800 mHz
512 MB system memory (RAM)
A video card / graphics processor that is DirectX 9 compatible
A Windows Vista Premium Ready laptop requires:
1 GHz 32-bit or 64-bit processor
1 GB of system memory (RAM)
128MB of graphics memory
40 GB of hard drive capacity with at least 15 GB of free space
A DVD-ROM Drive
Audio output capability
Internet access capability
Any new desktop or laptop for sale today has the
capability to handle the basic core functions of Vista. Running
all of the premium features included with Vista takes quite a bit
more horsepower. In order to run Aero, the next level graphics environment
for Vista, you would need 128 MB for just one 1280 x 1024 LCD. Most
video cards offered today have 256 MB of memory. We strongly recommend
you get at least that amount.
What's the Difference?
For most users, getting a Windows Vista Capable laptop is enough. What you will miss out on is much of the new "eye candy" the OS has to offer - specifically, Windows Vista Aero. Aero offers shiny, translucent buttons, glows around highlighted items and the ability to see through windows.
Vista Premium Ready
512 MB RAM
DirectX 9 capable
DirectX 9 capable GPU with Hardware Pixel Shader v2.0 and WDDM Driver support
32 MB RAM
128 MB RAM up to 1280x1024 (256 MB+ for greater resolutions)
Which Windows Vista Should I Consider When I Buy My Laptop?
Windows Vista is the first operating system
that adapts to take advantage of the capabilities of the hardware
on which it is installed. This is especially important when
buying a laptop, since certain features, such as your graphics processor,
are integrated directly into your laptop's chipset. When features
are integrated, you usually can NOT upgrade them, so it's important
to make the right decision the first time. As long as you
meet the minimum system requirements you will be able to take advantage
of the core Vista features. However, a Vista Premium Ready machine
will allow you take advantage of a smoother graphical interface
as well as the Windows Aero experience. There are quite a few reasonably
priced laptops that would qualify as Vista Premium, and the increased
functionality is well worth the extra money. If you need a laptop
that just "gets the job done" without any frills, having
a Windows Vista Capable configuration is all you will need. However,
if you wish to experience the full visual effects and beauty of
Windows Vista, we highly recommend buying a laptop that is Windows
Vista Premium Ready.
Also keep in mind that a laptop that is Windows Vista Capable or Premium Ready means that the PC is ready for an upgrade from XP and that purchase of the Vista OS is still required.