Vista-ready PC?


What kind of computer should I buy so that I can run Vista when it comes out?



This question was answered on February 23, 2006. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Windows Vista is not due to be released until “holiday 2006” with no specific launch date set The actual date is such a mystery that even Microsoft itself is having a ‘Guess the Launch Date Contest’ on their Microsoft Developers Network (MSDN) site.

Not only has Microsoft refrained from announcing an actual release date, they have been very ambiguous on the actual hardware that they are going to require in order to run Vista.

With the latest Beta release (test version) Microsoft stated: “Vista PCs should be ‘a modern, Intel Pentium- or AMD Athlon-based’ one with a dedicated graphics card featuring DirectX 9.0 support, and 512 MB or more of RAM Minimum system requirements will not be known until summer 2006 at the earliest," according to the corporate statement.

Vista (originally code named Longhorn) is designed to be run on the latest architectures in both processors (referred to as Dual Core) and high-end video cards, but the unofficial word from several sources is that most mainstream PCs with at least 512MB of RAM and an upgraded video card that has support for the new LDDM (Longhorn Display Driver Model) would be able to run Vista.

But before you go spending a pile of money on a computer that you “hope” will meet the requirements for Vista, a word of caution:

Windows Vista is still baking and has not been finalized yet!

This means that any number of updates, changes or deletions can occur before the launch of the actual version at the end of this year.

Trying to buy hardware for a moving software target is generally a futile exercise Buying a system design to run an operating system is best done after the software program has been released and thoroughly tested.

Those of you that have been reading my column for years have seen this phrase before every new version of Windows was released, but it bears repeating: Pioneers get arrows!

My advice on Windows Vista is to wait until a lot more testing and information has been released before taking the plunge That means, most of you won’t be moving to Vista until the first or second quarter of 2007 at the earliest.

If you are buying a machine today with the hopes of being able to run Vista, you will spend a lot of money on hardware now that may be much cheaper a year from now.

Buy a computer today based on what we know is needed today Even if you can get Vista to run on something you buy this year, it won’t take you very far down the road as more demands are put on the system as the operating system evolves (Just look at the difference in Windows XP when it was released and the current bloated patched up versions that we are all running today!)

Anyone that has ever tried to hedge their bets on the future by buying a bunch of expensive hardware knows the risks, so save yourself the grief and the money or wait until the end of the year to buy your new computer.

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Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on February 23, 2006