Windows Vista may not make its market debut until early next year, but that doesn’t mean that consumers can’t purchase a PC now that will meet the system requirements for Microsoft’s next-generation operating system.
According to Microsoft, "Windows Vista Capable PCs" are already on the market. This is not surprising, considering that a Vista Capable PC requires just 512 Mbytes of system memory and a 40-Gbyte hard drive (see the figure).
"The vast majority of our consumer and business PCs are already Windows Vista Capable, and many are Premium Ready," said Greg Memo, senior vice president of Products, Marketing, and Web at Gateway, "ensuring that they will seamlessly run Windows Vista when it becomes available."
Driving these offerings are the components necessary to run such an operating system. Microsoft has also been working with CPU and GPU manufacturers to develop hardware that will support Vista.
AMD has developed one workstation, four desktop, and three mobile processors that are designed to be ready for Windows Vista. Its Athlon 62 X2 Dual-Core Processor has a dual-core architecture that features discrete L1 and L2 cache structures for each core. According to AMD, the dual-core processor outperforms its highest-performing Athlon 64 4000+ single-core processor on multitasking benchmarks by up to 30 percent.
A high-performance processor will be a must for Vista Capable PCs. Systems with a modern processor should be able to run the basic home version of the operating system with minimal to no hardware upgrades. But to reap the full benefits of Vista, consumers are going to need to pony up for even faster processors, more memory, and bigger hard drives. Microsoft isn’t worried, though. Having released the operating system requirements more than seven months prior to its release, consumers will have plenty of time to prepare for Vista’s arrival.
To determine if your PC meets Vista's minimum system requirements, visit Microsoft's "Get Ready" Web site.