Windows Vista's enhanced functionality and snazzy Aero Glass visual effects will demand steeper hardware requirements for the machines you support. Check this list to make sure you cover all the bases before deciding what Vista versions those machines will be able to run.
Early indications are that Windows Vista will be the most comprehensive operating system ever produced by Microsoft, and the eye candy offered by the 3-D Aero Glass graphics are very slick. But enhanced functionality and graphical improvements come at a price -- and that price is usually high-end hardware. If you plan to take advantage of all that Windows Vista offers, that's definitely true. The minimum requirements to run Microsoft's latest flagship will be much steeper than any previous operating system.
Microsoft has created two distinct hardware classifications for PC manufacturers to use for their new systems. A PC can be either "Vista Capable" or "Premium Ready." The standard Vista Capable machines have more scaled down hardware requirements than the Premium Ready machines. Other than being cheaper and a bit slower than their beefy Premium Ready siblings, the biggest difference between the two systems is that Vista Capable machines can't use the exciting new Aero Glass graphics.
Here are 10 factors to address as you prepare your existing computers to run Windows Vista. Many of the hardware requirements are surprisingly easy to meet, despite the demands of the operating system. The biggest hurdle to run Windows Vista will be the graphics card requirement, although this requirement is less stringent if you don't plan to use the new Aero Glass graphics. In general, a majority of existing PCs will be fully capable of running Windows Vista with standard 2-D graphics. It may not be as pleasing to the eye, but it's likely to be pleasing to your pocket book. (continued)