Vista cometh

Microsoft has finally anounced a date for the release of Windows Vista: Nov. 30.

The beast has also unveiled Windows Vista Enterprise Hardware Planning Guidance, a lovely blather of corporate-speak. Don’t worry, the page includes actual minimum hardware requirements:

800 MHz CPU, 512 MB memory, 20 GB HDD w/15 GB free, CD-ROM

But they really would prefer that you opt for:

1 GHz CPU, 1 GB memory, 40 GB HDD w/15 GB free, DVD-ROM

Now, if you dig up the venerable requirements for Windows XP, you’ll see the baseline is:

233 MHz CPU, 64 MB memory, HDD w/1.5 GB free, CD-ROM

Ahem. Ever tried running XP on a machine thusly equipped? No way. Heck, you need 64MB just for SVCHOST.EXE whatever that is. Unless you have LOTS of free time, the real minima for XP are about the same as those Redmond suggests for Vista, above.

Simple extrapolation suggests a more accurate minimum config for Vista:

2.7 GHz CPU, 4GB memory

Ouch.

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3 Responses to Vista cometh

  1. Erich says:

    How are you extrapolating this 4GB memory figure? I’ve run the second Vista RC (supposedly the same build that’s been sent to manufacturing) on my Macbook, first with 1GB of RAM and now with 2, and it runs fine. Of course many apps won’t install correctly or work right and the XP driver for my printer won’t work, so I haven’t been able to do much actual work, but I suspect that 1GB of RAM is about right, 512MB for those who just need web, email, and Office.

  2. cbd says:

    The minimums for Vista are really those for XP. So, I’m just assuming they underestimate what you need to run Vista consistent with their underestmations for XP:

    800*(800/233) = 2764; 512*(512/64) = 4096.

    You can run XP with 256 MB, but only if you do one thing at a time (e.g. Word or Explorer). Using that figure would generate a 2GB floor.

    Also, I’d make the argument that for Microsoft, release candidates and early versions of an OS run *better* than later; as they add “service packs” and a bunhc of other crapola, cruft builds…

  3. Erich says:

    My understanding is that “Aero” and the other eye-candy has been offloaded in Vista from the CPU to the GPU, supposedly for reasons of efficiency. That said, all the silly effects seem to be working at full capacity on Macbook’s cruddy integrated graphics chip, for what’s it’s worth.

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