Building a Windows Vista Ready PC

By Dave

Extreme Tech has an article talking about what kind of computers will run Windows Vista in all its Aero glass wonderfulness.

When I worked at a computer store, I had people asking me if a computer or laptop would run Windows Vista just fine, and while it was easy to say yes, since Microsoft has said that Windows Vista will be able to step down its usage to run on weaker systems, it would not be the full experience.

Many people did not realize that Microsoft’s Aero Glass was going to have some hefty requirements when it came out, to be used at full power. Read on for details on just the video card that would be required:

According to Microsoft, the minimum requirement for the full Aero Glass experience is a DirectX 9 capable GPU with 64MB of video memory.That’s a little deceptive. If you’re anything like me, you’ll often have several dozen windows open, which eats into graphics memory. You’ll also want lots of graphics memory bandwidth. So a PCIe x16 graphics card with at least 128MB of RAM becomes de rigueur. Microsoft is suggesting that 256MB of graphics memory would be optimal. So it’s a good thing that we’re starting to see graphics card with 512MB of RAM.

Do you need a high-performance card, like a GeForce 7800 GTX or ATI Radeon X1800 XT if you’re not into PC gaming? Probably not. A strong midrange card, like the GeForce 6800 GS or ATI Radeon X1600 XT will yield good system responsiveness.

And I thought that upgrading from a Sapphire 9200 SE to an ATI AIW 9600XT would be good enough to last me the next two or three years with my almost non-existant PC gaming. Should be interesting to see if a machine like mine can get the full Aero Glass experience without eating all my system resources.

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