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The "Vista-Capable" Debacle Spreads To Acer

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the for-some-values-of-capable dept.

Windows 133

N!NJA writes in with a Register story on a lawsuit filed against Acer for selling Windows Vista on an underpowered notebook. Of course anybody can sue for anything; it will be interesting to see if this action goes forward in the courts. "With a lawsuit filed Wednesday in San Francisco, California, two residents of Fostoria, Ohio seek damages and relief from the world's third-largest computer maker after purchasing a sub-$600 Aspire notebook that included Windows Vista Premium and a gigabyte of shared system and graphics memory. In its official "recommended system requirements," Microsoft recommends that an additional 128MB is required to run the Premium incarnation of its latest desktop operating system. ... Microsoft says that the Premium, Business, and Ultimate editions of Vista will run on 512MB systems — with certain OS features disabled. In the beginning, Redmond called these 'Vista Capable' machines, and it's facing a separate lawsuit over this potentially misleading moniker."

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First post capable (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27371661)

This post is capable of being a first post

Re:First post capable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27373975)

No it's not! Your post is hideously under-spec'd to be a frosty! I tried it. I'm going to sue!

512Meg? (3, Informative)

jawtheshark (198669) | about 5 years ago | (#27371675)

Probably even with shared graphics memory, resulting in something like 448Meg usable? Windows XP SP0 and SP1 ran on 256Meg RAM, SP2 seems to need 512Meg RAM, SP3 seems to need a bit more (but I never tried taht one on low-memory machines). Vista on such a machine? Eeeuh.... I don't think so.

That said, they seem to have paid quite a lot of money to get a RAM upgrade.

Linux runs fine tough on such "low-memory" (I had harddisks smaller than that, like 20Meg!) machines.

Re:512Meg? (5, Informative)

the_humeister (922869) | about 5 years ago | (#27371785)

Linux runs fine tough on such "low-memory" (I had harddisks smaller than that, like 20Meg!) machines.

It's a little disingenuous to say that "Linux" (aside from the fact that Linux is just a kernel and that the term "Linux" is now being used in the mainstream for almost any Unix-like OS; but that's another argument altogether) will run in low memory. While this is true, most people wouldn't use it like that. My WRT54g with 16 MB of RAM is running OpenWRT. I had a 386 that only had 12 MB of RAM and I had X running with twm, and it ran only slightly faster than Windows 95, which had a much better looking UI.

So yes, you can run "Linux" on a low memory computer, but you're sure as hell not going to be running KDE or GNOME or some other good-looking interface with it.

Re:512Meg? (1)

Jurily (900488) | about 5 years ago | (#27371839)

So yes, you can run "Linux" on a low memory computer, but you're sure as hell not going to be running KDE or GNOME or some other good-looking interface with it.

256 Mb is enough for a lightly used Gnome desktop. My mom has one, and it's working fine for her.

Personally, I'd go with fluxbox on that machine, but I'm not the one who needs to use it.

Re:512Meg? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27372279)

Im running Kubuntu on my home built atom 330 box. It has two gigs, but right now it's only using 0.47 gigs according to the system monitor.

And this is with KDE4, Kaffine playing a video, KTorrent pulling down ...distros...(cough) and of course firefox with a couple of slashdot tabs open.

I think it's fair to say that a modern linux desktop is perfectly usable with only half a gig.

Re:512Meg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27372373)

Same AC. I decided to upload a screen cap.

Might be interesting to anyone considering k/ubuntu for an atom 330 too.

Re:512Meg? (3, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 5 years ago | (#27372283)

256 Mb is enough for a lightly used Gnome desktop. My mom has one, and it's working fine for her.

Your mom should try XFCE. It's much more lightweight, and for light usage it can be configured to look and act almost exactly like GNOME. I run XFCE on Xubuntu on my 512 MB Dell Latitude with its puny 1.5 Ghz Pentium M processor, and it flys!

I tend to find the apps a bigger problem (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 5 years ago | (#27373251)

I run ion3, which is even more minimalist than XFCE most likely, but things can still get sluggish. In particular, Firefox is not so kind on older hardware.

Re:512Meg? (1)

bitrex (859228) | about 5 years ago | (#27373499)

I have XFCE running on an 8 year old Emachine with 512MB and a Pentium III Tualatin based 1.2 Ghz Celeron that I found and stuffed in it - it can be a little sluggish when there are 15+ tabs in Firefox open but in general it's quite usable. Unfortunately YouTube performance isn't good, I'm pretty sure the problem is that even the highest clocked first generation Celerons are just too pokey to handle applications like Flash 10. One thing I've noticed is that on this older machine JavaScript and Flash applications running in tabbed windows can really eat up precious cycles, and the NoScript plugin improves performance considerably.

Re:512Meg? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27373783)

See, that is why, even with Vista being the worst Operational System ever, Linuxes of any flavor won't be ever able to pass the 10% Desktop users mark.
When you get a distro good enough to compete with Windows for the minds and hearts of people that have normal life outside some momma's basement, that distro will need the same or higher computer specs to run a configuration that gets close to what the Windows experience offers to the regular user.
And then, when regular people get upset because of their bad experiences with Linux, geeks come to them with a bunch of complex options where they will have to go to some CLI and type a lot of esoteric stuff as root and if they forget to put one comma their system is going to be screwed for life.
So, normal people need to have a simple system where they can just go, turn on their computers, do their stuff, and shut down their computer, as they do with any other electronics.
I know, here in /., geeks are inside their comfort zone, where geeks think the universe likes them and people will be happy to call geeks for support.
But the truth is NORMAL PEOPLE hates and despise geeks. Warren Buffet even said that the world economic crisis is the geeks' fault. So the humankind hates computer geeks, scientists and any people that look smart. They just want to kill you on a very painful way and not have to call you to install another desktop manager.

Re:512Meg? (3, Insightful)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | about 5 years ago | (#27373845)

So the humankind hates computer geeks, scientists and any people that look smart. They just want to kill you on a very painful way and not have to call you to install another desktop manager.

Fine. Be that way. Just don't come cryin' to us when Brawndo doesn't actually have what plants crave.

Re:512Meg? (0, Offtopic)

Jurily (900488) | about 5 years ago | (#27374321)

with Vista being the worst Operational System ever

-10 Obvious Troll.

I actually like the new Explorer. And there's still Total Commander.

So, normal people need to have a simple system where they can just go, turn on their computers, do their stuff, and shut down their computer, as they do with any other electronics.

Mom knows exactly three major things about her computer: The browser's Opera, the OS is Debian, and the person to ask if something goes wrong is me. You think that's not good enough for Linux? I set it up 3 months ago, and so far she had exactly zero problems with it.

Well, one if you count that I had to show her how to change the background picture back on Day 1.

Re:512Meg? (2, Funny)

Maelwryth (982896) | about 5 years ago | (#27374041)

"my 512 MB Dell Latitude with its puny 1.5 Ghz Pentium M processor, and it flys!"
Oh, f%$k me! Now I feel old. :(

Re:512Meg? (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 5 years ago | (#27372359)

And 512 Meg leave my RHEL and Debian systsems running _fine_. Leaving out most of the semi-graphical debris in the Windows toolbar is a big help, as is the superior Linux handling of virtual memory. (Windows NT and XP memory handling is basically from VMS, and while it's done fairly well for the kernel, for the programs, it's not well used.)

Re:512Meg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27374625)

Gnome can run in 128 Mb; I run KDE 3.5.4 on my old laptop with 256Mb of RAM and it works just fine: in fact I can run MATLAB for linux (2006b) on my laptop without problems.
BTW the difference in RAM usage between GNOME and Fluxbox is minimal (between 20 and 30 Mb).

Re:512Meg? (4, Informative)

jawtheshark (198669) | about 5 years ago | (#27371881)

Yes, indeed... You are of course right. However, I implied (that wasn't perhaps clear) that a 512Meg machine runs a Full Linux-Based Desktop like Gnome just fine. On my Asus EEE PC 701 4G, I rarely exceed 300Meg used.

But your points are well taken....

Re:512Meg? (1)

the_humeister (922869) | about 5 years ago | (#27371959)

I keep forgetting that 512MB is considered "low-memory" nowadays.

Re:512Meg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27372165)

It's an easy mistake to make. I mean, nobody actually needs more than 640k right?

Re:512Meg? (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 5 years ago | (#27372305)

Is there anyway we could please let this meme drop? It's getting really old. Seriously.

Re:512Meg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27372799)

Is there anyway we could please let this meme drop? It's getting really old. Seriously.

You think that's bad? You oughta see a beowulf cluster of 'em! HAHAHAH--*gunshot*

Re:512Meg? (2)

jawtheshark (198669) | about 5 years ago | (#27372179)

Oh, I remember when 1024KByte RAM was overkill (my first, okay, my dads first machine had that... and most people were at 512KByte then) Anyway, I must have pissed off someone. I don't think those Troll mods were deserved.

Re:512Meg? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 5 years ago | (#27374921)

I know, spoiled kids nowadays. I am typing this on a 1.1GHz Celeron that has been running 9 years straight now that started out with WinME(EEEK!) and 128MB of RAM. I of course quickly sent that pre Vista of evil to the hell that it deserved and put on the blessed Win2K of goodness. Over the years I have managed to snag the chips to max it out at 512MB and this machine is a great Netbox. And as for WinXP, I have a 733MHz office box sitting in front of me that is maxed out with 384MB of RAM and XP SP3 and it runs quite well. Multiple tabs, watching the occasional video, no problem.

The problem with Vista is....well Vista is a pig. It is the ziggy piggy of Operating systems, sucking up RAM and CPU like college girls sucking up jello shooters in Daytona. never in the history of MSFT have they had the system requirements jump so much in a single release. It is bloated, slow, and buggy. When I was running Vista I got to experience problems I hadn't seen in so damned long I honestly didn't think they were possible anymore, like having the network connection just shit itself and die and not be fixable without a reboot. And we all know that Vista sucks RAM and CPU, which is why MSFT is trying to get Win7 out the door ASAP. I think Vista just brewed in the bowels too long myself. Add on top Steve Ballmer with his "We have to make this cool so we can be like Apple! We really can be like Apple! Yes we can! STOP LAUGHING AT ME!" and Vista was just doomed from the start.

So while I'm betting most here on Slashdot will think she is just a troll, I hope she gets paid. I mean it isn't like Acer doesn't know what the sys reqs of Vista Home Premium are. If the requirements clearly say "To get the full experience you need X memory" and they are selling "Premium" machines with X-Y memory then it is simply not qualified to run the OS they installed on it. So unless their ads include "you will not get the full experience unless you buy memory X" then while IANAL it seems pretty clear to me. The OS requires X, and the machines are X-Y due to shared memory. Seems pretty clear cut to me. If the OS don't fit, you better pay for the shit!

Re:512Meg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27373375)

I've got two Eee PC's a Eee Box & a Eee 904HD both run XP Home SP3 and are the stock configuration and I have found them to be very satisfactory for all the stuff I need or want to do.

Re:512Meg? (1)

BigBuckHunter (722855) | about 5 years ago | (#27372289)

So yes, you can run "Linux" on a low memory computer, but you're sure as hell not going to be running KDE or GNOME or some other good-looking interface with it.

Bear in mind that one needs neither KDE nor Gnome to have a full featured desktop experience based on Linux. While I no longer dabble with 386's on a regular basis, I can state with some authority that "Linux" runs great on a P54c-233 with 64MB of RAM. Web, e-mail, word processing. Flash video on footube tends to get bogged down a bit, but otherwise an A+ computing experience.


Re:512Meg? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 5 years ago | (#27372729)

I have an old laptop, maxed out at 96meg of RAM, and a screen that can't go past 800X600. For about the same type of usage as you list, I find Puppy Linux and JWM (Joe's Window Manager) works just fine. From the time I hit Enter at the Grub menu to the time I have a full, wor4king desktop is just over 90 seconds, about three times as fast as Win98Se booted, assuming that nothing hung. I don't need no steenking iCandy on my laptop; if that's what I'm looking for, I've got all the gosh-wow enhancements I need on my desktop, and more than any version of Windows has ever had, with Compiz-Fusion and the Desktop Effects enabled.

To bring this slightly back on topic, I don't really see why any laptop needs to have all those flash-and-trash iCandy effects that Visa is so "famous" for, but then, if you take those out, what do you have left that's worth having?

Re:512Meg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27372601)

So yes, you can run "Linux" on a low memory computer, but you're sure as hell not going to be running KDE or GNOME or some other good-looking interface with it.

I run KDE on an old Compaq with 384 MB of RAM. Some things are a little slow, but for the most part it works fine for me.

Minimum memory to run Linux? (1)

sk999 (846068) | about 5 years ago | (#27372895)

On my first laptop (Pentium based) I did a fair amount of web development work, so I often had a database (Postgres), web server, Netscape Communicator, and emacs all running at the same time, along with 6 xterms on an X desktop with FVWM2.

Total memory? 40 MB.

My current laptop has a spacious 1 GB and Linux, with Firefox and OpenOffice running doesn't even use half of it. Upgrading memory? Not worth the bother.

Re:Minimum memory to run Linux? (1)

ubergeek2009 (1475007) | about 5 years ago | (#27373103)

my preious machine had a gig and half and i never, ever touched swap, even when using gimp, firefox, downloading torrents, and running compiz at the same time. (My single core celeron M was running at 100 percent though) On my new laptop I have 4 gigs of ram (It came with vista, but I never booted into it) I had trouble installing the 64 bit version of ubuntu so I just installed the 32 and called it good enough. It reconizes 3.1 gigabytes of ram which is more than I will (probably) ever use on the system.

Re:512Meg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27373033)

Actually, I gave an Acer Aspire One with both KDE and Gnome. Not only does it run fast, Compiz and Kwin run very fast as well.

Re:512Meg? (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | about 5 years ago | (#27373887)

(aside from the fact that Linux is just a kernel and that the term "Linux" is now being used in the mainstream for almost any Unix-like OS; but that's another argument altogether)

*starts the other argument*

I dunno...I, for one, have never, ever heard Mac OS X or Solaris (both of which are Unix-like operating systems) ever referred to as "Linux". I've only ever heard the name "Linux" in reference to either (a) the Linux kernel itself or (b) operating systems that run on the Linux kernel. So, either "mainstream" isn't quite where you think it is, or you need to back up your point.

tl;dr version - [citation needed], I think.

Re:512Meg? (1)

Narpak (961733) | about 5 years ago | (#27371857)

My sister bought a Windows XP laptop wtih 512mb Ram (shared). It ran horrible, it was hard to have a browser and open office open at the same time for instance. I purchased 1gb chip and that made everything fairly smooth. However I am still thinking Dell kind of ripped her (and others off) selling a computer with less RAM than it needs to run the OS shipped with it.

Re:512Meg? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#27371925)

Hmm... I never used Windows XP with more than 512 MB ram. With a fat firewall software, antivirus, a fat messenger software, winamp and Firefox running. And I never felt it to be slow. My current machine, running Linux/GNU/Gentoo/KDE/Compiz with 2 GB ram and a on-board Geforce 7050PV (with shared mem) actually feels slower.

So I wonder if you had some botnet client running in the background... ...or if it simply is the graphics card...

But 512 MB definitely was enough to work well with XP SP3.

Re:512Meg? (1)

Narpak (961733) | about 5 years ago | (#27371975)

Nope. When I got hold of my sister laptop I re-formated it, ran anti-virus and SpyBot from the start. No viruses, no HD damage, up-to-date drivers; in short; the works. Still it was absolutely horrendous to work with; slow, sluggish and over-all not a working product (in my mind). Though buying 1gb of RAM fixed all of those problems right up.

Re:512Meg? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 5 years ago | (#27372375)

Probably the reason you needed a GB is that Dell laptops typically tend to use Intel 8xx, 9xx, and GMA graphics adapters. Typically these use main memory for video RAM, which eat up a big chunk if say, 128 MB or more is dedicated to the to the graphics card, you'll see significant slowdowns, especially if she's running a bunch of memory hogging apps (MySpace messenger, AIM and YIM come to mind). Additionally, some other things that teenage girls like to install are either spyware or memory pigs or both: fancy cursors, fancy unicorn search toolbars, etc., bleh.

Re:512Meg? (1)

Teun (17872) | about 5 years ago | (#27372431)

You do realise modern malware is less of a drain on resources than any type of AV?

Re:512Meg? (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | about 5 years ago | (#27372439)

I'm the guy below who worked with a P-III 600MHz/512Meg RAM machine. It might be something else: originally my machine had an horrendous slow harddisk. I changed it and that made more difference than upgrading from 256Meg to 512Meg. (It was a 4200RPM HD and I upgraded to a 5400RPM disk)

Re:512Meg? (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | about 5 years ago | (#27372143)

I ran a P-III 600MHz laptop with 512Meg for two years (begin 2005 to begin 2007) and I could run Thunderbird, Firefox, OpenOffice, iTunes at the same time without a problem. Sure, I did an installation from scratch and I do know how to keep programs from hogging the systray. That, and I run Limited User...

Something else was seriously wrong with your sisters machine...

Re:512Meg? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 years ago | (#27373127)

Business editions sold by Dell are great machines. Consumer versions are likely riddled with spyware. I know for a fact that Compaq's low-end consumer machines are shipped with spyware pre-installed. Back when a 1ghz machine was really hot, my wife ordered a Compaq. My AMD K-6 450 was faster than her brand new Athlon - Until I reformatted the hard drive, and installed WinXP Pro (Pirate Edition) THEN they were about even, until I added another 512 MB of memory, THEN the Athlon flew!!

Re:512Meg? (2)

Logic Worshiper (1480539) | about 5 years ago | (#27372015)

I've run XP SP3 on 256MB RAM before, it worked fine. None of the machines at my office have more that 512MB Ram, and they're all current, running XP SP3 and IE7 (but IE is disabled on most of them, with Firefox set as default). They run fine, so long as they're kept clean, however crapware and tracking cookies slow them down if they're not maintained well.

SUSE, like Windows is slow on a machine with 512MB RAM, I'm going try installing Ubuntu to see if that's better. KDE is crabby like Vista, Gnome is much better (and that's on a laptop with 1GB RAM).

Re:512Meg? (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 5 years ago | (#27373261)

I haven't seen any computer that's able to present Vista with a decent experience yet.

Most of today's computers are still barely able to provide a decent experience with XP.

So to be really Vista capable (with a decent experience) - that's still some years away.

Re:512Meg? (1)

blackest_k (761565) | about 5 years ago | (#27373757)

XP can be tweaked quite well to run on low memory systems, I've seen XP sp2 Systems use about 600meg of ram by the time they finish booting, which I guess is fairly typical on the other hand there are some "releases" of SP3 that are up and running using less than 256k ram and a much smaller foot print.

I wonder where you stand legally assuming you have a retail or msdn key. perhaps even an oem license might be acceptable provided its used on the oem equipment.

Remember when a gigabyte of memory was a lot? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27371687)

Thanks Vista for making that a thing of the past.

Re:Remember when a gigabyte of memory was a lot? (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 5 years ago | (#27371743)

Yes, thank you Microsoft. I love to buy GBs for a very low price.

Now if only they would make windows 7 ECC RAM only, then I could fill up my server with the cheap stuff too.

Re:Remember when a gigabyte of memory was a lot? (1)

Nonillion (266505) | about 5 years ago | (#27371815)

How about when a 40MHz 386 with 4MB of RAM, 40MB Hard drive, a 128kb video card was a "killer" machine ;)

Re:Remember when a gigabyte of memory was a lot? (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | about 5 years ago | (#27371851)

I think standard VGA has a minimum of 256KByte. In the 386 days, VGA was already the norm. Just saying...

Re:Remember when a gigabyte of memory was a lot? (5, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | about 5 years ago | (#27371879)

How about when a 40MHz 386 with 4MB of RAM, 40MB Hard drive, a 128kb video card was a "killer" machine ;)

Ah yes. Back when they used CPU speed for timing purposes. You bought a new computer, suddenly your favorite game ran 8x as fast, and you died almost immediately. Killer machine indeed.

Re:Remember when a gigabyte of memory was a lot? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27373265)

That's what the "turbo" button is for.

Re:Remember when a gigabyte of memory was a lot? (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | about 5 years ago | (#27371817)

True, I had to pay out of the nose for Registred ECC RAM too to upgrade my SMP machine (before dual-cores were the norm). That said, buying it in the US was 3 times cheaper than buying it here in Europe. Even the import tax (which is high) didn't matter. That was before the dollar tanked.

Anyway, now consumer computers do seem to have a 2Gig to 4Gig RAM standard these days. My work laptop has 4Gig and still Vista seems to give me a few second wait. I don't get it. I dumped Debian Lenny on it, and don't even boot in Vista anymore. (I left it there, just in case.)

Re:Remember when a gigabyte of memory was a lot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27372893)

Wha?! 640MB ought to be enough for anybody! :o)

Re:Remember when a gigabyte of memory was a lot? (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about 5 years ago | (#27374019)

I remember thinking I was pimp shit for spending $500 and getting 4GB of RAM for my gaming setup 4-5 years ago. Obviously I wasn't thinking far enough ahead in the future. Now 4GB is nothing and also costs somewhere around $40.

Re:Remember when a gigabyte of memory was a lot? (1)

drsmithy (35869) | about 5 years ago | (#27374565)

Thanks Vista for making that a thing of the past.

Have to hand this honour to OS X, which did it years before Vista was even released.

Vista's not too bad with 512Mb of RAM (4, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | about 5 years ago | (#27371749)

I've actually had Vista running in a 512mb virtual machine on my Linux box. My whole Linux box had but a gig at the time, and I had Ubuntu, KDevelop, the virtual box, Vista in it, running Visual Studio 2008 to develop an Excel application. I was rather impressed that it all worked.

Acer sucks (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 5 years ago | (#27372147)

You probably had to tweak it though? I bought a lower-midend Acer Desktop ($450-500, without monitor, with some dual core AMD chip) about a year ago and it was nasty even with 2GB ram. It was just meant for the wife to browse on, but out of the box, you would start it up and you could hear the harddrive, CPU, and fans working the entire time even though it was advertised as a quiet system.

They did absolutely no optimizations at all at the factory, and the problem corrected itself once I turned all the graphics bling off, which was cranked up to maximum to choke the integrated graphics, as well as tediously uninstalling Acer's recovery bloatware which was just obnoxious. It's not a particularly demanding skillset, but I'm not sure most computer illerate people could do it, and would otherwise be stuck with a computer that freezes every few minutes while it's cranking away and takes 5 minutes or more to boot up.

The only thing that stopped me from installing Ubuntu on the spot was that it came with no Windows Recovery disk and if murphy's law struck and she wanted some windows program, I didn't want to have to buy that at some outrageous price because the recovery partition got mucked somehow. Of course, in the meantime, out of the blue, Vista refused to boot up (and she was always on a normal, not administrator account) so Ubuntu went on it eventually anyway.

Its time wasting experiences like those that remind me why I prefer macs for the parents and linux for myself.

Re:Acer sucks (2, Interesting)

Z34107 (925136) | about 5 years ago | (#27372457)

At work, we have an old, repurposed desktop at our help desk for doing troubleshooting over the phone. It's either an old HP D310 or DC5000; I forget which. Has the worst kind of horrible, integrated Intel graphics and a gigabyte of RAM. 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 processor.

The Vista partition runs fine on it, and in fact runs faster than the XP partition. (Although that's due to all the garbage the other help desk workers have thrown on the machine; they stay away from the Vista partition because "Vista is slow.")

Mind you that we're not running Aero Glass or gaming on that machine - all we have to do is pull up a web browser to enter support tickets, we have to manage iPrint printeres and NetWare shares, and we boot up Office 2003 and 2007 to step people through the horribly complicated process of double-spacing their paper. But, it's pretty snappy for those kinds of tasks - and this desktop has got to be running on 5 years old.

Will Vista run on less than a gigabyte? Haven't tried it and wouldn't want to, but my friend got it running on the "Linux version" of the Acer AspireOne netbook - the one with 512 MB of RAM (he upgraded it to 1.5 GB), the Intel 945 GMA graphics, and the ridiculously slow 8 GB SSD drive. He vLited the crap out of an installer ISO and got Home Premium (minus Aero) running on there, and installed any programs he needed to a 16 GB SD card.

So, it is possible, and it will work, and it will do 99% of common word-processing-web-browsing tasks. His biggest complaint was that it wouldn't run Finale well, but Finale is about as memory-hungry as Photoshop.

Now, our 5-year-old work computer had no bloatware (we have VLK copies of Vista and XP, and the machine at one point had a fresh image.) The netbook also came without bloatware (it was the 8 GB Linux model after all; we did a fresh copy of Vista.)

Perhaps a more appropriate reason for a lawsuit (if any) would be for bundling bloatware, rather than selling an "underpowered" computer.

Re:Acer sucks (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 5 years ago | (#27372509)

The only thing that stopped me from installing Ubuntu on the spot was that it came with no Windows Recovery disk and if murphy's law struck and she wanted some windows program

fyi, you can use any vista dvd with any serial key. So all you need is any copy of the vista dvd, and the key on the bottom/back of the computer case. Unlike XP, you can get a clean install on any system (some drivers, and bloatware not included).

Re:Acer sucks (1)

Khuffie (818093) | about 5 years ago | (#27372599)

I ran the Vista beta on my 1 gig machine (ati radeon 9700 graphics card) and it ran quite well. One thing is that Acer's bloatware tends to be absolutely horrendous in bogging down the computer it's absolutely disgusting they decide to throw all that crap in there...and it's Acer's own software, not some demos or trials that other companies pay them to throw in. I can't fathom why they would do that, and pretty much refuse to buy an Acer laptop because of that. They even threw it in on their netbook!

Regarding the recovery partition...one of the bloatware apps (Acer Recover something or other) can burn a recovery DVD disk out of that partition. You can probably redownload that app off their website to burn the recovery disk and throw Linux on it if you want.

Re:Acer sucks (1)

tjstork (137384) | about 5 years ago | (#27373441)

You probably had to tweak it though? You obviously are not running Aero in a low memory configuration, that's the key. In fact I don't even think you could run it in a virtual server because you can't get hardware accelerated 3d in VM hosts. But I found that without the glass effects, I still preferred the desktop to XP and even Ubuntu, which prior to Vista had been my favorite. I actually can't stand how new computers of any kind come with so much junkware. My wife's pre-loaded with Vista ACER notebook is pretty good so far, but in the past I've had big trouble with ACER machines. I could barely get Windows to work, OS/2 never flew, and Slackware would refuse to see my mouse.

Re:Vista's not too bad with 512Mb of RAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27372181)

that doesn't count. the VM software is caching the IO to ram as well.

yeah, but does it run? (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | about 5 years ago | (#27371859)

Does the OS run on the notebook? Is it able to run the basic applications, even if the HD is swapping like crazy? If so, they're going to have trouble succeeding with the lawsuit.

You can't buy the cheapest thing available and expect it to run WELL. Only to run.

Re:yeah, but does it run? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27374499)

"If so, they're going to have trouble succeeding with the lawsuit."
          I don't think so. If it was a little sluggish, that's one thing. If it's unusably slow out of the box, quite another.

"You can't buy the cheapest thing available and expect it to run WELL. Only to run."
          Of course I can. It's a creation of Microsoft to expect *just the OS* to run poorly on a brand new machine. Traditionally, you could buy as cheap as you wanted, the low-end machine may not run the most demanding apps on the market, but for fuck's sake, at least the bundled apps and OS would run fine.

          My solution? I will never send Microsoft another cent. I intend to buy nearly the cheapest netbook on the market, and make sure it ships with Ubuntu. "Microsoft=no sale" for me. It'll be faster than the Inspiron 2200 I have now (by a small amount, or a large amount if I get a dual core), which runs Ubuntu great.

capable? sure. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27371903)

It works fine with 512... Its just incredibly slow!

"Premium" edition? (1, Insightful)

Mr. DOS (1276020) | about 5 years ago | (#27372031)

Guys, I know Vista has way too many versions, but is it really that hard to remember that it's Windows Vista Home Premium (and for that matter, Vista Home Basic), not Vista Premium and Vista Basic?

      --- Mr. DOS

Re:"Premium" edition? (2, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about 5 years ago | (#27372221)

But all of those versions run like crap on a small machine.

Turning off Aero helps some, but the machine was underspeced for ANY version of Vista, and the manufacturer should have realized that.

By simply bundling in another 512meg of memory the manufacture could steal a march on their competition. Yet they chose to knuckle under to Microsoft and Intel.

Re:"Premium" edition? (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | about 5 years ago | (#27372441)

I'm a little confused. I mean, I understand that Microsoft probably intentionally lowballed the requirements for Vista, but how did they knuckle under (buckle?) to Microsoft and Intel by skimping on RAM? I think the real problem was manufacturers skimping on RAM despite the fact that DDR2 prices have plummeted (and are still plummeting). My parents' computer from 2003, which finally died a few weeks ago, was the cheapest thing at CompUSA and it had 512MB RAM. You'd think that by 2008 we would have moved past that...

Strange story (2, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 5 years ago | (#27372093)

Why can't they reduce the memory allocation of the graphics to 256 or 128Mbyte? Why did an extra SODIMM cost so much? And how much is the lawsuit going to cost them?

If the machine kept freezing and crashing, why didn't they return it under warranty rather than go to law? If I buy a computer and it is obviously faulty, I should expect to exhaust the warranty process before starting a lawsuit, and I should not have to provide a technical explanation of what the supplier did wrong. It's broke, fix it.

Nowadays the concept that you get what you pay for seems obscure to some people. But then, looking at the number of rich and famous people who thought Bernie Madoff's "too good to be true" interest rates were somehow possible, it looks like stupidity is no respecter of class, celebrity or even IQ.

Re:Strange story (3, Interesting)

jawtheshark (198669) | about 5 years ago | (#27372281)

Why can't they reduce the memory allocation of the graphics to 256 or 128Mbyte?

Doesn't that depend on the laptop/BIOS/Chipset? I have Fujitsu-Siemens Pa1510 and it reserves 256Meg by default for the graphics card. Originally the machine had 1Gig, I upgraded it to 2Gig, which results in me having 1.8Gig available (still enough...) I only use it for 2D stuff, so I would be more than comfortable with 16Meg Framebuffer (1280x800x24bit=24576000bit=3072000Byte ~= 3MByte required) The BIOS has next to no options and under Linux I can't seem to adapt it (please, if you know how to, tell me!) I think I saw the option on Windows, but that's long ago and I might be mistaken. It's an ATI X1100 chipset.

Anyway, my point is that these cheapo machines (mine was an el-cheapo machine) usually don't give you such options.

Re:Strange story (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 5 years ago | (#27374203)

Why can't they reduce the memory allocation of the graphics to 256 or 128Mbyte?

You seem to be misunderstanding what an Acer sub-notebook is.

I just bought an Acer Aspire One 120gigs/1 gig of ram/1.6/8.9 inch screen/Windows XP Home for my mom (it cost me $369 refurbished from tiger direct -- which included the price of second day delivery)

The Acer Aspire One is a nice machine, I did my research on it, and my mom absolutely loves it, but I was really surprised that I couldn't install some Adobe software initially on it -- because I couldn't accept the EULA. The Ok button of the EULA kept on going off screen, which normally is not a problem, I can press 'enter' blindly or press tab a couple of times, and then press 'enter', but that didn't work either. And normally on a windows machine, you would only need to go to the control panel, double-click on display, and change the resolution to make the off-screen part visible -- but that part didn't work either -- don't ask me why. Eventually, I did get the damn software installed, but that's more because I'm a programmer and I knew which tools to use.

If the machine kept freezing and crashing, why didn't they return it under warranty rather than go to law?

They probably did. It also looks like they did a couple of things to make the thing work. Besides, a warranty doesn't cover a machine that works fine within a normal operating range. At least, that's what I was told when I tried returning my Mac Powerbook 150 (more than ten or fifteen years ago). My problem with my Powerbook was different, but just as outrageous in my opinion. And I did get an exchange for another Powerbook 150 from the store (which luckily didn't have the same problem, it was the same model -- but Apple had farmed it out to different OEM manufacturers), but that was only after making a very big stink in the store and staying my ground for over two hours.

And how much is the lawsuit going to cost them?

Personally, I would have tried suing in Small Claims court, which would have cost me $60 plus three to six months of waiting, but then I live near the city they're suing in -- so it doesn't look that was an option for them. I doubt it was their choice to sue in California since they're both Ohio residents.

So since they're suing remotely, they're probably subscribed to pre-paid legal aid. And for some of those outfits, if you don't use those hours accumulated, you lose them (just like those cell phone minutes). So at the end of the first year, you better sue someone (it's just like those people I know who only call me at the end of the month before they're about to lose all those minutes). I really wouldn't be surprised if it was the prepaid legal aid thing. It seems everyone I know pays for pre-paid legal aid of some kind, even if most of them never end up using them.

Re:Strange story (1)

fermion (181285) | about 5 years ago | (#27374629)

All this may be true, but the article states that Acer sold it with Vista pre installed. It is not surprising, because, as you mentioned others have done the same. The problem is that today, unlike the 90's, nobody warrants their machine for basic functionality after you leave the store. Apple was the last on to so do. So, the only recourse for these types of problems where the machines does not work as advertised is to sue.

Re:Strange story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27375007)

Never blame on stupidity what can be accounted for by greed.

Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27372109)

Companies like Dell have been selling "under-powered" computers for quite a while now.
I've had many calls in the past with people complaining of horribly slow performance, only to arrive and see that their Dell or HP machine is running Windows XP, with onboard graphics and only 128MB or RAM. Considering all of the exra "crap" these computers come bundled with... its not wonder it was painfully slow. Even disabling all of the unnecessary startup programs only slightly helped.
People are misled thinking they got a great deal on an XP compatible machine, and are not told its only really good enough to run XP only. anything above a base install of the OS starts severely degrading performance.

It's that damned theme engine (1)

TheCrazyFinn (539383) | about 5 years ago | (#27372119)

Turn off the Theme service and Vista Home Premium runs fine on a Netbook with 1GB of RAM, as my Fujitsu U810 proves. It's not terribly speedy, but quite usable unless you're in power-saver mode. All that UI gloss just makes things slow.

Re:It's that damned theme engine (3, Informative)

hechacker1 (1358761) | about 5 years ago | (#27372237)

Aero offloads the GUI onto your graphics card if it is capable of DirectX 9. It provides a faster, tear free interface, and if you notice DWM.exe (Desktop Window Manager) uses only 0-1% of CPU during use.
If you disable Aero and fall back to GDI, DWM.exe will disappear, and explorer.exe instead takes the load, usually using 1-5% of my CPU (at least on this machine).
In general, you should get better performance if you have a decent video card. If you are using the desktop anyways, why not utilize the GPU?
A couple of considerations:
1. Vista uses more GPU ram with each window. If you have a shared memory GPU, it's conceivable that it would be too slow when you start opening many windows. Or if your GPU just doesn't have a lot of RAM.
2. Maybe your GPU isn't as power efficient as using the CPU for rendering the windows. Battery life could be affected.
3. Windows 7 with driver model 1.1 uses a constant amount of GPU ram for any amount of windows (steaming in textures instead of keeping them loaded). It also re-enables GDI 2D HW acceleration which was disabled in Vista, but available in XP. Windows 7 also accelerates Cleartype text.

Re:It's that damned theme engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27373553)

You can disable glass but still get composition, even on Vista Home Basic. If your GPU is capable, it will try to use it unless you've actually turned off DWM and not just glass.

I don't know if composition without glass is any faster than composition with glass, I imagine it requires somewhat less from your system.

Acer 5315 - Mandriva Linux, WinXP (3, Interesting)

hduff (570443) | about 5 years ago | (#27372391)

I purchased 4 of these at Wal-Mart. Mine got Mandriva Linux; I can run compiz with all the gee-whiz effects with no problems. The system is fast and reliable.

The other family members got WindowsXP "upgrades" using TinyXP after they complained about Vista slowness. Wow, what a difference! Fastest Windows machines I have seen since 98Lite.

One way to solve this - Communism or Socialism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27372445)

This shows just how evil capitalism is and you fucktarded USians are always willing to stick to the old ways of capitalism while the every other country is beginning to embrace or has embraced alternatives such as socialism and communism. M$ as well as any computer manufacturer is in it for money, the same reason other businesses are in it for. Money will destroy the world while communism and socialism will save it.

The rest of the world.

Can someone explain why it needs all the memory? (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 5 years ago | (#27372465)

Honestly, I don't understand what Vista can possibly be doing that it requires so much memory. What is it using it all for?

Re:Can someone explain why it needs all the memory (1)

the_humeister (922869) | about 5 years ago | (#27372829)

Not sure, but you could say the same about other OSes and other environments. Mac OS X, if you don't load aqua, has a really small memory footprint but then balloons once aqua is loaded. Same with KDE and GNOME.

Re:Can someone explain why it needs all the memory (2, Interesting)

ubergeek2009 (1475007) | about 5 years ago | (#27373171)

There is one problem with vista though. On my brother's machine It only uses half the ram, but it has the swap file full and is swapping in and out like crazy. Any suggestions as to what the hell is wrong?

Re:Can someone explain why it needs all the memory (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27374781)

Posting AC as I'm moderating.

There's "use" and there's "use", and I'm not sure which one you meant. If you're normally a Linux user and used to the way it uses swap, or if you're a tech that's just not familiar with the swap strategy Windows uses, it can get confusing, but see the next paragraph. However, if you mean the machine isn't seeing all the RAM and therefore not using it at all, that's different. One cause of that may be a 32-bit machine with more than 3 gigs RAM, due to the PCI device address space normally found at the top of the 4-gig 32-bit address space. Less RAM than that, perhaps it's as others have mentioned elsewhere, that it's a shared memory machine and the graphics are using part of it.

But as I mentioned, Windows has a much different swap strategy than Linux, but also one that confused me years ago before I ever switched to Linux, as it makes a sort of sense but isn't intuitive. On Windows, as long as swap is enabled, the OS will use it, preemptively preswapping, trying to keep a lot of stuff both in memory and in swap if it can, so if the memory taken by an app is needed by something else, the VMM can simply dump the physical memory copy since it's already in swap, instead of having to spend extra time swapping it out just when the user is waiting for whatever needs the memory to load. This means it's using swap long before it actually has to, to keep the extra copy there just in case. In fact, if swap is enabled, Windows at least /used/ (9x versions, whether it still does I haven't the foggiest) to break if it couldn't do this. I discovered this the hard way at one point when I installed a new CDROM that took the drive letter I /had/ been using for dedicated swap. Fortunately I knew enough about how the 9x versions worked that I was able to boot to DOS mode and mcedit the hidden msdos.sys or whatever file (it has been awhile, I'm no longer sure what file it was) and point the swap at a different device.

The effect of this is somewhat unintuitive. On Windows (again, 9x, but I believe it still applies today), if swap is enabled at all, it must effectively be the size of the physical memory at LEAST, before you get any "extra" virtual memory at all. If you have a swap LESS than the size of your physical memory, Windows may not be able to use the full physical memory at all. Either swap must be made bigger, preferrably double RAM or larger, or on big memory machines that don't really need swap anyway, it should be disabled entirely.

Linux (and presumably most OSs) work more intuitively and rather differently, but theoretically, maybe a bit slower when people are loading something new into physical meory. Swap is always additive. If you have a 2 gig physical memory and a half gig swap Linux machine, it'll let you use 2.5 gig, NOT the half-gig you might be stuck with on Windows. Also, it doesn't so aggressively pre-swap, tho adjusting the swappiness setting [1] can change that. Swappiness defaults to 60. Higher numbers cause it to favor swapping apps out to keep cache, lower numbers encourage it to favor keeping apps and flushing cache, once available memory is full of cache and apps.

I'm running kernel/md RAID, here, 4-spindle, RAID-6 for my main system so two-way striped (with two-way parity), with a swap partition set on each of the four spindles as well, with all four set to the same priority, so swap effectively runs RAID-0. Thus, the 4-way swap is actually faster than (re)loading stuff off the effectively 2-way striped RAID-6 (the other two being parity stripes), so I set swappiness high, 100, thus encouraging the kernel to swap out apps and keep cache data, because swapping in the apps out of the 4-way data striped swap will be faster than rereading the cached data off the two-way data striped RAID-6 main system. That of course is rather the opposite behavior most users, on a no-RAID single-spindle disk, will likely want. They may prefer to set swappiness much lower, say 20, or even 0.

[1] Swappiness can be set in /proc/sys/vm/swappiness, or on most systems that set various sysctl parameters at boot, in /etc/sysctl.conf, using the vm.swappiness value for the latter.

$grep swappiness /etc/sysctl.conf
# vm.swappiness = 60
vm.swappiness = 100
$ ... Too bad I'm posting this AC and a lot of folks that could make use of it probably won't see it. Hopefully it gets modded up, regardless, so people that may be able to use it can see it.

Re:Can someone explain why it needs all the memory (1)

slash.duncan (1103465) | about 5 years ago | (#27374827)

AACCKKK, slashdot now kills moderation even if you check the post annon box! So much for modding THIS story!

I guess one has to post using another not-logged-in browser if one is moderating, now. I wish I had known that before I posted the above as AC, I'd have just posted regularly. Well, at least /. is giving more modpoints now. I got 15 this time instead of the usual 5, so the couple lost modpoints don't hurt quite so badly. But unnecessarily posting a comment as AC that's useful enough a lot of folks can probably use, does!

Oh, well...

1 GB for $9.99 (2, Insightful)

cskrat (921721) | about 5 years ago | (#27372547)

According to Acer this laptop ships with 1GB from the factory. And according to NewEgg upgrading to 2GB would be about $9.99 plus $2.99 shipping or going to 4GB would be just under $40.00. How the hell did she spend $157.40 on an upgrade that maxes out at $40 in parts and $30 in labor?

Vista does run reasonably with 872MB available to it as long as you stick to basic applications. OpenOffice, Firefox, Windows Media Player and etc. all run well enough. Crysis, Fallout 3, Photoshop CS4 and Visual Studio will run like dogs, if at all.

Vista capable is just like a DOT highway safety rating, just because your Kia is roadworthy doesn't mean that it will compete with a BMW for either performance or luxury.

Bah (2, Interesting)

wildBoar (181352) | about 5 years ago | (#27372575)

thing that pissed me off was the so called free upgrade to Vista that was advertised. When I went to get it I was asked for 80 euros. Dirty robbing thieving bastards. Service charge and postage - absolutely mad and a total con.

So I'm still happily using XP (and Centos)

what do you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27373159)

you buy one of the cheapest laptops you can find, Microsoft only supply XP to netbook makers, so it HAS to have Vista, then they complain its slow and unreliable, thats like buying an uber cheap Chinese moped and being surprised it spends every other week in the workshop.

what OS did Mr and Mrs Einstein think was going to be on it?, did Acer lie about the system specs?, why spend a hunk of money on something you obviously know nothing about?, didn`t they even wonder why it was cheap?, why are they paying so much for a couple of gig?, are they just really dumb and gullible?, should we care?

anyway, I have several Acers, including an newley bought Extensa 7620z, first thing I did when I got it home was to open it up and put 2gig in it, second thing I did was turn it on and install Ubuntu, never even saw the Vista startup, there`s no recovery disk so it`s not going to ever see it either

all my other machines run Linux too, the only issue I have is paying MS for something I have never used nor ever wanted too, if money was an issue for Mr and Mrs Einstein then maybe they should have just installed Ubuntu and saved themselves the cost of the ram, 8.10 runs fine on my Aspire one

will run, BUT... (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 5 years ago | (#27373565)

Vista can run with 512MB RAM, yes... But running Vista and using one more program at the same time like Visual studio, Word, PSP7 is... Painfull... Vista as SO and Eclipse IDE for example? You 512MB PC will commit suicide before this

"Vista-Capable"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27373769)

The longer I use Vista the more "Vista-Capable" seems like it's related to the term "Handi-capable".

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