Requirements for Windows Vista


Taken from

A Tech Strategist within Microsoft, Nigel Page, has gone on record to discuss the hardware requirements for Windows Vista, due out next Christmas.

What he's said is kind of shocking.

System breakdown

Graphics: Vista has changed from using the CPU to display bitmaps on the screen to using the GPU to render vectors. This means the entire display model in Vista has changed. To render the screen in the GPU requires an awful lot of memory to do optimally - 256MB is a happy medium, but you'll actually see benefit from more. Microsoft believes that you're going to see the amount of video memory being shipped on cards hurtle up when Vista ships.

CPU: Threading is the main target for Vista. Currently, very little of Windows XP is threaded - the target is to make Vista perform far better on dual-core and multi-core processors.

RAM: 2GB is the ideal configuration for 64-bit Vista, we're told. Vista 32-bit will work ideally at 1GB, and minimum 512. However, since 64-bit is handling data chunks that are double the size, you'll need double the memory, hence the 2GB. Nigel mentions DDR3 - which is a little odd, since the roadmap for DDR3, on Intel gear at least, doesn't really kick in until 2007.

HDD: SATA is definitely the way forward for Vista, due, Microsoft tells us, to Native Command Queueing. NCQ allows for out of order completions - that is, if Vista needs tasks 1,2,3,4 and 5 done, it can do them in the order 2,5,3,4,1 if that's a more efficient route for the hard drive head to take over the disk. This leads to far faster completion times. NCQ is supported on SATA2 drives, so expect them to start becoming the standard sooner rather than later. Microsoft thinks that these features will provide SCSI-level performance.

Bus: AGP is 'not optimal' for Vista. Because of the fact that graphics cards may have to utilise main system memory for some rendering tasks, a fast, bi-direction bus is needed - that's PCI express.

Display: Prepare to feel the red mist of rage - no current TFT monitor out there is going to support high definition playback in Vista. You may already have heard rumblings about this, but here it is. To play HD-DVD or Blu-Ray content you need a HDCP compatible monitor. Why? Because these formats use HDCP to encrypt a video signal as it travels along a digital connection to an output device, to prevent people copying it. If you have just standard DVI or even an analogue output, you're going to see HD scaled down to a far-less-than-HD resolution for viewing - which sucks. This isn't really Microsoft's fault - HDCP is something that content makers, in their eternal wisdom, have decided is necessary to stop us all watching pirated movies. Yay.
All i gotta say is, Nobody in their right mind is going to upgrade to Vista, not that many computer people who use windows have 2 GB of RAM, a 256MB memmory card etc, gates sure did blunder on this one.

and if u notice the GPU requirements sound a lot like Core-Image


U.S.D.A. Prime
But they'll still sell a whole boatload of PCs with Vista pre-installed. Not everyone (in fact, very few) buys the retail version of Windows -- in fact, the majority of Windows licenses sold are new computer purchases with Windows pre-installed.

People always upgrade their computers, and there's always new computer buyers, and they'll eventually come into the Vista world -- if not by retail then by an upgrade or new computer purchase.


Man, another thing you might have noticed is that no monitor out there can support Vista right now... In other words, they are expecting you to pay the money for a computer that is worth about $3k and a monitor worth the same...


I would have to admit that the requirements for this o/s are pretty big, i dont know why microsoft is doing this. Hopefully it would be their downfall lol, but i doubt that could happen lol. I am just a little suprized that they dont really have very much backwards compatability.


Crotchety UI Nitpicker
...since 64-bit is handling data chunks that are double the size, you'll need double the memory...
Uhm....riiiiiiight. :rolleyes: Not the way it works, people.

Most HIGH END systems today don't meet the requirements they list there. Unbe-@#$%^&*-lievable. Granted, these requirements are actually more modest than the last set we heard, but back then people assumed that A) They were talking out of their asses because they had no idea what the final product would be like, and B) Hardware would have advanced a lot more by now than it has. At this point they should know almost exactly what the final product will be and, and they already know what hardware they have to hit (unless they want to limit their customer base to ONLY those buying new high-end computers next year).

Lt Major Burns

"Dicky" Charlteston-Burns
also this is for the ultra high -end version of vista - it's always been scalable. this, i assume will be for full-aero-glass graphics. i think this is good. it shows that they are trying to push things forward at last.

it'll do what it's deigned to do: sell PC's, expandig the market.


Staff member
There are two important things to remember here.

1.) It's more than a year away. People will probably _have_ computers this powerful by then, because the newest version of Tetris (replace that with the game that will rock the PC world next year) will require it, too.

2.) Sometimes, OSs have to just go forward. Microsoft saw what Apple was doing in terms of the GUI and the graphics card and saw that it had to counter it. Now: They _could_ have just gone a "slightly worse" path and only render parts of the UI with the graphics card. Or, and that's what they're doing, they can jump all the in-between steps Apple has taken and give users the real thing.

BUT: While Apple forced Quartz on everybody who wanted to use Mac OS X 10.0, for example, which was very slow on most computers and even the best Apple had to offer when OS X first shipped, Microsoft will probably allow users with lesser graphics cards to just use "the old way" or some other reduced setting, so the UI won't turn to gum as it did on us with Cheetah...


Can't wait for the Microsoft crash, when is it? next year? cool, now where's my sleeping tablets :D

oh yeah, don't forget to wake me up