There has been much fretting about exactly what hardware will be required to run Windows Vista, but fear not my flock for we now have the official details and they aren't bad at all.
Today two specifications lists were released, one which will simply enable the OS to get up and running (which we heartily don’t recommend using – masochists excluded) and another which will provide the full Vista experience (the resource heavy Aero interface included).
If you’re looking to drive yourself insane with slow loading times and stripped down graphics then all you will need to run is Windows ME - sorry, slip of the keys - Vista is an 800MHz processor, 512MB RAM, a video card with Direct X9.0 support and at least 20GB of hard drive space. “Great!” I can hear some noobs thinking, but – trust me – don’t ever run Vista on a system like this… EVER.
Making Vista operate in its full OS X Tiger copying form however takes some not altogether unreasonable additional grunt. That works out as a 1GHz processor, 1GB RAM, a Direct X9.0 compatible video card with 128MB of memory for resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 or 256MB for resolutions above that and a 40GB HDD with a minimum of 15GB free post install.
Now the clear difference between Microsoft’s upcoming OS and previous generations is the extra focus of graphics hardware. In the past little more was needed than something with enough strength to power on a monitor while these days the additional visual garnish takes an obvious toll. Secondly, the emphasis has moved away from the processor (though we’d still recommend more than 1GHz under the hood) to RAM. Vista is going to be a heavy memory drain and will benefit from as much as you can throw at it. XP pretty much levels out after 1/2GB, by contrast we figure Vista is going to be in its element with 4GB+.
In sum, I think we can all breath a collective sigh of relief. Previous less optimised builds of Vista ran hideously slowly on even the most advanced hardware and rumours were running rife that we’d all need supercomputers just to make it boot. Ultimately, the long and short of it is most of you – especially considering you read a tech website – are likely to be able to run Vista with your current systems.
Whether you want to begin on what I like to term Hackers' Christmas (more commonly known as a Microsoft OS release day) is another matter entirely…