Join Date: Jan 2005
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Which decisions to make now so that you're ready for Windows Vista
By Charlie Russel, Microsoft MVP for Windows Server, Security, and Tablet PC
So youâ€™re getting ready to buy a new computer, and you want to make sure that the computer you buy now will work well with Windows Vista. Well, the good news is that just about any new computer you buy today will work fine with Windows Vista. Because of the way Windows Vista is designed, it will work well across a broad range of hardware. However, to get the best Windows Vista experience, there are some basic system requirements and suggestions you need to know about. In this column, Iâ€™ll take a look at how to make decisions now that will leave you in the best possible position when Windows Vista ships. The examples Iâ€™ll use below cover the products that are available as of beta 1 (July 2005).
As a general guideline, just about any mid-range and better processor shipping from Intel or AMD is a good fit for basic functionality in Windows Vista. The lower end of the current processor range will work, but those processors wont provide the optimal experience for most users and definitely wont provide the best experience for high-end gaming or video editing.
To take better advantage of Windows Vista functionality, you should have at least 512 MB of RAM, on your PC. This provides enough memory for both the operating system and a typical application workload.
If you are building or buying PC today, you probably want to avoid the low end of the current GPU range and make sure you get a GPU that supports DirectX 9 and has at least 64 MB of graphics memory.
The typical Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) hard disk has a speed of 7200 RPM and a 2 MB cache. By selecting a Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) drive with an 8 MB cache and Native Command Queuing (NCQ), you can give your system a boost in performance, especially if your typical workload involves running several different applications simultaneously.
Windows Vista will take full advantage of the connected world in which we operate, so you should make sure that the PC you buy has the latest networking capabilities built into it. For a laptop, this means built-in 802.11 wireless capability, and for the home PC, you should include at least 100 Mb of Ethernet capability. Adding wireless 802.11 capability to a home PC gives you greater flexibility in where you use that PC and makes it easy to connect your mobile laptop to your home network.