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Windows Vista Capable Machines Coming

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the stop-being-an-enabler dept.


An anonymous reader writes "PC World's Techlog has a short piece talking about the upcoming emergence of 'Windows Vista Capable' PCs." From the article: "The Vista Capable designation doesn't promise that a PC will provide a great Vista experience, or even that it'll support all Vista features or features...just that it'll be able to run Windows Vista Home Basic in some not-very-well-defined-but-apparently-adequate way. At the moment, there are still new PCs on store shelves that don't meet the Vista Capable guidelines--for instance, low-end systems still sport 256MB of RAM in some cases. Wonder if that means that that A) we'll see some cheap systems that still have XP even after Vista ships; or B) the specs on even the cheapest machines will be beefed up; or C) we'll see machines that have Vista preloaded but which don't qualify as Vista capable?"

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Reading too far in... (5, Insightful)

sjg (957424) | about 8 years ago | (#15045247)

I think everyone is reading too far into the whole "vista compatible hardware" racket. It will work on current hardware, it may not work well. So it's in exactly the same boat as every other major software product released in the past 10 years.

Re:Reading too far in... (5, Insightful)

Myen (734499) | about 8 years ago | (#15045253)

It's the same as the "Designed for Windows 98/Me/2000/XP" sticker.

It's a sticker. Probably shiny.

Re:Reading too far in... (1)

rikkards (98006) | about 8 years ago | (#15045409)

Surprisingly there is some relevance with the "Designed for" stickers. Any application that is developed that does not leverage the Registry properly i.e.utilize all user specific settings in HKEY_Current_User and Machine specific in HKEY_Local_Machine would not pass.

  Mind you it is a bit of a cash grab but I have found software that has the sticker has a tendency to run better in windows.

Re:Reading too far in... (4, Funny)

FreeMars (20478) | about 8 years ago | (#15045447)

Mind you it is a bit of a cash grab but I have found software that has the sticker has a tendency to run better in windows.

It's a wash. I've found software that has that sticker tends to work worse - or not at all - in Linux.

Re:Reading too far in... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045622)

Any application that is developed that does not leverage the Registry properly i.e.utilize all user specific settings in HKEY_Current_User and Machine specific in HKEY_Local_Machine would not pass.

And all of those apps that foolishly stuck to the Windows developer guidelines, even where it went against common sense, are finding their methodology to be deprecated [yafla.com]. The programmatic, non-system use of the registry was one of the worst mistakes of the Windows platform.

Reading too far in...Expectations. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045353)

"So it's in exactly the same boat as every other major software product released in the past 10 years."

Notice how games and Vista get treated different though. If the game doesn't run well, then people go "Oh well, my fault. I'll upgrade". If it's Vista, then "That Damn Microsoft couldn't write a good OS to save their lives. I should be able to run this on that old 486 I have".

Re:Reading too far in...Expectations. (1, Insightful)

arnorhs (650507) | about 8 years ago | (#15045591)

The difference is that your operating system should be as lightweight as possible so you can run more programs... If XP was like a huge game with my processor on 100% activity, how would I run photoshop? .. well I wouldn't

Re:Reading too far in... (2, Informative)

y86 (111726) | about 8 years ago | (#15045399)

Basically, it will work on any recent machine with a decent 3d accelerator.

Low end hardware w/integrated crap graphics will not work. Even high end hardware sold by certain OEMS (say dell) that uses this onboard intel/via/s3 crap graphic chips won't support it.

I think Joe sixpack is going to have a drunken fit when he finds out the 2000$ computer he bought, 6 months ago from dell, WILL NOT run vista or Nascar 2006.

I don't think the issue is that it will run terrible. It's that so many computer CANNOT, ever, run Vista even though they were expensive and have good cpus/ram, but the vendor cut corners on the graphics card, so now the customer is screwed.

Re:Reading to far in...BIOS still here (2, Insightful)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 8 years ago | (#15045429)

Vista being so long coming also means that BIOS is still in the Vista plan, which means the hardware will CHANGE AGAIN in about a year to eliminate the old BIOS that's been around for decades.

Don't think I'll upgrade until the dust settles.

Re:Reading to far in...BIOS still here (1)

Homology (639438) | about 8 years ago | (#15045537)

Vista being so long coming also means that BIOS is still in the Vista plan, which means the hardware will CHANGE AGAIN in about a year to eliminate the old BIOS that's been around for decades.

Of course this will not happen anytime soon. Microsoft is in the business of selling software, so a midrange PC bought today will run Vista just fine.

Bah Vista compatible. (2, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 8 years ago | (#15045250)

I want a Duke Nukem Forever compatible machine.

Re:Bah Vista compatible. (2, Funny)

linj (891019) | about 8 years ago | (#15045346)

Through my rather comprehensive sources, I have found that one of these laptops [slashdot.org] will be able to run Duke Nukem Forever quite nicely.

Additionally, the AtomChip laptops are one of Duke Nukem Forever's launch partners. I look forward to getting my hands on one of these puppies. ;)

Missing Option (2, Funny)

Khyber (864651) | about 8 years ago | (#15045259)

D.) We have a huge hardware and software confusion malfunction junction, Joe Sixpack refuses to buy a computer because it's gotten too confusing for him, and Microsoft blames the lack of sales on Open Source Operating Systems.

Re:Missing Option (2, Insightful)

kasperd (592156) | about 8 years ago | (#15045307)

Microsoft blames the lack of sales on Open Source Operating Systems.

Would be interesting, but I doubt that is going to happen. It could be interpreted as admitting open source software is better than Windows. Microsoft don't want to do that. I think they'd rather put the blame on unauthorized copies.

Re:Missing Option (1)

Illbay (700081) | about 8 years ago | (#15045318)

...Microsoft blames the lack of sales on Open Source Operating Systems.

I realize you're probably being facetious here, but just in case: Can you point me to where this might be true? The notion that "hordes of Linux users" are threatening MS' domination of the desktop seems rather far-fetched to me.

Re:Missing Option (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 8 years ago | (#15045427)

Actually I was trying to be funny, shoulda put the ;) in there somewhere.

In al reality, I'd be more willing to keep my same option, but change Microsoft blaming OSOS to Microsoft blaming piracy OR (wishful thinking) blaming another company altogether. The backlash on that last bit would be an awesome thing to see, almost on the V for Vendetta scale.

Re:Missing Option (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 8 years ago | (#15045401)

E.) People switch to Apple, and never look back!

Re:Missing Option (1)

muuh-gnu (894733) | about 8 years ago | (#15045490)

> E.) People switch to Apple, and never look back!

"People" suggests that there are actually wide masses "switching", which are, aehm, not. A few of the pecunious ones maybe, but even not all of them, probabbly just the few snobs among them who care about their "digital lifestyle".

"Switching" is also misleading, because to the casual user it remains unmentionend that for this "switching" to occur, you have to buy _entirely new_ hardware (just to try out this other OS), that is most likely expensiver than anything they might already have and need.

So your E) is more than highly unprobbable.

Nearly a year to go (3, Insightful)

RonnyJ (651856) | about 8 years ago | (#15045261)

Wonder if that means that that A) we'll see some cheap systems that still have XP even after Vista ships; or B) the specs on even the cheapest machines will be beefed up; or C) we'll see machines that have Vista preloaded but which don't qualify as Vista capable?

There's nearly a year to go before Vista's release to consumers - so I'm pretty sure that pretty much all low-end machines with Vista will be 'Vista Capable' then (i.e. usually adding an extra 256mb RAM).

They will sell "what is hot" even if it crawls. (5, Insightful)

stm2 (141831) | about 8 years ago | (#15045265)

I bet for b) and c). I think sellers will want to promote "what is hot", so I don't see them selling XP even if it is better for a given hardware. MS licence allows to sell an older version (up to 2 back versions), but this will be used only for very specific needs. Since I predict there will be apps that won't get together well with Vista, maybe the sellers will sell both systems for a time.

Why not check Microsoft rather than two blogs? (5, Informative)

Bushcat (615449) | about 8 years ago | (#15045267)

You could save yourself a pointless tour through two blogs simply by checking the Microsoft site (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/newsroom/winxp /VistaBeta1FS.mspx [microsoft.com]) which says:

Minimum system requirements will not be known until summer 2006 at the earliest. However, these guidelines provide useful estimates:

" 512 megabytes (MB) or more of RAM

  A dedicated graphics card with DirectX® 9.0 support

  A modern, Intel Pentium- or AMD Athlon-based PC."

Re:Why not check Microsoft rather than two blogs? (2, Informative)

RonnyJ (651856) | about 8 years ago | (#15045413)

There's another article here [microsoft.com], 'Windows Vista Capable PC Hardware Guidelines', which goes into a bit more detail (and is probably more up-to-date, the other one looks like it was written when 'Beta 1' came out).

Re:Why not check Microsoft rather than two blogs? (5, Insightful)

Bushcat (615449) | about 8 years ago | (#15045457)

Yes, you're correct. Following through shows "suitable CPU" means

Intel: http://www.intel.com/business/bss/products/client/ vistasolutions/index.htm [intel.com]

AMD: http://www.amd.com/windowsvista [amd.com]

VIA: http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/vista/cpu.jsp [via.com.tw]

My problem is with the consistently mediocre reporting, when just a little bit more effort would get to primary sources, rather than this persistent blog banality culture.

Re:Why not check Microsoft rather than two blogs? (1)

ocbwilg (259828) | about 8 years ago | (#15045520)

A dedicated graphics card with DirectX® 9.0 support

Interesting that they say "a dedicated graphics card". Nvidia's new integrated chipsets support DX9c and should be able to run the Aero Glass interface.

ho please stop (4, Insightful)

GrAfFiT (802657) | about 8 years ago | (#15045277)

Everybody was whining because software companies underestimated the required specs of their software. Now that they provide more realistic specs at the risk of overestimating them, we're taking them litteraly ?
On another side, take also in account that Vista will probably have a lifespan comparable to XP, something like 5-6 years. Every computer will be easily capable of running all the GUI eye-candy in the years following the release. It's a good idea to leave some room for improvement IMHO.

Re:ho please stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045436)

How do you know they're not underestimating in this case ?

Re:ho please stop (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045527)

You see, your problem is that you have a reasonable, sensible point of view. Therefore, you are having a hard time on this site, as it is full of zealots quite willing to contradict themselves twice in the same sentence if it means spitting a little more bile at Microsoft. Your life would be immesurably improved by never visiting Slashdot again, and not using open-source software in any way. This way, you can avoid these idiots.

C, but You're probably too young to remember (5, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | about 8 years ago | (#15045278)

The first time this happened was with regular windows and windows 95... all the machines they put it on were too slow to run it and more than 1 application at a time. That's what they're gonna do for sure. They'll sell you a machine woefully underpowered for the OS, period. No one cares, no one will refund your money, thanks and have a nice day :)

MOD PARENT UP (5, Insightful)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | about 8 years ago | (#15045313)

That's spot on.

I know people who have 1.5Ghz processors and 256MB of RAM who complain that Windows XP runs slow on it - and these are "Windows XP ready" machines.

The machine will run fast enough to get the OS working at a barely reasonable pace, but over time the user will get frustrated with the speed of the system enough to want to upgrade.

Re:MOD PARENT UP (2, Insightful)

Henry V .009 (518000) | about 8 years ago | (#15045371)

The first computer that I ran XP on was a 200MHz Pentium Pro with 128 megabytes of RAM. (The Pentium Pro was actually better than some of the early Pentium IIs for XP because the MMX instructions.) XP ran as well as anything did on that computer. And XP was a huge improvement over Windows 98.

Having been raised on Apple IIe's, C64s, 8086s, 286s, 386s, and 486s, I have trouble thinking of anything super-1GHz as 'slow.' Of course, that's not to say I didn't just spend $200 for 1 Gigabyte of memory for my Turion laptop which was "running like a dog" with just 256 Megabytes. (Firefox, I'm holding you responsible.)


192939495969798999 (58312) | about 8 years ago | (#15045392)

It's not that it's "slow" to "run" (i.e. boot + sit there idling), but it doesn't do what it looks like it would do, i.e. run as many apps as you feel like (within reason). Nothing on the computer tells you that you've opened one too many things (perhaps just 2, perhaps 10, maybe more depending on your hardware), except that it will slow down and/or crash. That's no user experience if you asked me. My windows XP machine can handle a bunch of stuff running at once, but it's not any 200 mhz pentium pro... try to open as much as I have open on that computer and you'll be waiting a while, if not rebooting and swearing.

Re:C, but You're probably too young to remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045456)

Exactly. Schemes like this have two effects. One: it's publicity for Vista. Two: it's a technique for selling a new computer to somebody who isn't sure whether they need to upgrade or not.

M$ sucks! (5, Funny)

gspawn (703815) | about 8 years ago | (#15045283)

Screw M$. We should all stick with a company that doesn't try to move everything to new hardware constantly- like Apple. *comedic failure music*

Re:M$ sucks! (1)

DRM_is_Stupid (954094) | about 8 years ago | (#15045349)

Speaking of Apple, I bet that's one company MS will deny the Vista ready sticker. Apple probably knows this and wouldn't try hard to get it.

To be fair, though (3, Insightful)

nowhere.elysium (924845) | about 8 years ago | (#15045294)

is it like this is going to directly bother any of us (other than in a support role)? i'm pretty sure that most of us tend to build our own machines, and aren't all that interested in getting vista anyway, much less as soon as it's released. as far as i'm concerned, they can continue selling underpowered machines for all i care. it keeps work coming my way, when people phone up saying 'my computer's too slow!'. yeah, it's boring work, but so what? money is money.

Hardware Sales (2, Insightful)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | about 8 years ago | (#15045295)

Microsoft has to bump up the specs every year because they get most of their new OS sales from new PC hardware. Plain and simple. If Vista didn't require beefed up specs they couldn't spur hardware sales. Everyone knows this, or at least it should be blatantly obvious to everyone.

Having said that though, compared to the launch of Windows XP, there is better hardware at reasonable prices this time around. It would be silly not to recommend having better hardware when it is reasonably priced.

Even still, I know for a fact that a desktop Linux distro runs better on 256MB of RAM than Windows XP does. If Vista is going to bump up requirements to over 512MB simply to get things running out of the box - then Linux has a better performance advantage as a basic desktop PC over Vista IMHO.

Re:Hardware Sales (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045326)

The myth of Linux --- seems that every time I see a complaint about Microsoft's memory usage - I find a post about Linux needing only half. But strangely both seem to creep up. Shouldn't Linix still run "fine" on 32MB? What happened to cause it to bloat?

Re:Hardware Sales (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045503)

The FUD of Windows --- Anything with 128 megs of Ram will run linux as fast as XP on 256 megs any day. This is not true for out-of-the-box "beginner distros" though, thus the "Linux Myth" you talk about...

Re:Hardware Sales (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045609)

It doesn't matter what distro you have -- OpenOffice has a bigger memory footprint than MSOffice, and Firefox has a bigger footprint than IE. In fact both these programs have a significantly larger footprint on Linux than they do on Windows in a perverse form of double-opensource-bloat. Can someone explain that?

Re:Hardware Sales (1)

wed128 (722152) | about 8 years ago | (#15045525)

Linux itself will run fine on 32MB. It all depends on what you're running on top of it
X is a major culprit, specifically DEs like GNOME and KDE.

But i'm fairly confident you could get a reasonably responsive bash shell on the thing.

Re:Hardware Sales (-1, Flamebait)

BinLadenMyHero (688544) | about 8 years ago | (#15045567)

Shouldn't Linix still run "fine" on 32MB? What happened to cause it to bloat?

KDE / Gnome, basically.

Fortunatly, while they are "the default" Linux interface now, you still have choice of many other lightweight environments.

Re:Hardware Sales (1)

jesseck (942036) | about 8 years ago | (#15045330)

It makes sense that the hardware specs are getting beefed up. A number of computers running XP come with 256 MB RAM. That is hardly enough for what users envision their computer doing, and they complain. It is about time more "realistic" estimates are given by the software manufacturers. I'm tired of seeing that Windows Server 2003 requires a minimum of 256 MB RAM, when we know it will hardly work. As far as Linux, great to put on an old Windows 98 machine. Or any other, for that matter.

Bah, whatever (4, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | about 8 years ago | (#15045316)

I have several instances of Windows XP runing in VMWare with only 128 MB of RAM, despite the "minimum" amount of 256 to be compatable.

These numbers are just to give the ideal out of box experience, so people will be happy with their purchase.

With some of the effects turned down I am positive Vista would run fine on these 256 MB machines.

Re:Bah, whatever (5, Funny)

SushiFugu (593444) | about 8 years ago | (#15045358)

With some of the effects turned down I am positive Vista would run fine on these 256 MB machines.

Vista sounds like a new game. Just turn down the draw distance and Vista will run fine! People might have trouble getting used to the fog on inactive windows though.

Re:Bah, whatever (1)

the linux geek (799780) | about 8 years ago | (#15045516)

Unless performance improves Significantly before the release, people will NOT be happy with their machines. Performance even slows to a crawl (using builds 5270 and 5308) on my P4-2.7ghz with 768MB RAM.

Definition (4, Insightful)

zaguar (881743) | about 8 years ago | (#15045321)

What is Vista-Compatible? Is it the same as the "XP-Compatible" 300 MHz Pentium 2 Processor with 128 MB ram? It will install, but not do much else?

I assume that Vista has a Win2K mode, that cuts away all the Aero Glass crap and lets me work. Is that was this "Vista-Compatible" certification is? ie. It runs the low quality mode, but not the Toys-R-Us look? In that case, pretty much every machine with 256MB ram and a Pentium 4/ AMD Socket A proc will work

Au contraire (1)

CdBee (742846) | about 8 years ago | (#15045403)

On a Pentium-class 300mhz chip, XP is perfectly happy and usable, provided the time-waster services (Themes, Messenger (off by default in SP2 anyway), Error Reporting Service etc are disabled) - although its much happier with 256mb than 128mb.

Obviously you'd never pay duke nukem forever on a rig like that but for most users needs it's not a problem. As a Mac convert from Windows with a 366mhz iBook I can honestly say that XP scales down to older hardware better than the competition.

Re:Au contraire (2, Insightful)

zaguar (881743) | about 8 years ago | (#15045411)

Obviously you'd never pay duke nukem forever on a rig like that

Well, with respect, I don't think that anything will ever play Duke Nukem Forever.

What a load off shit (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 8 years ago | (#15045324)

Lets face it. Vista ain't out yet. Won't be for consumers for another year. That is if no further delays happen.

So by then we will have seen the fading out of of 256mb machines and gone to 512mb. (Even the cheapest Dell now has that already) Wich is happily the recommended minimum. In fact many Dells already come with 1 gig as do a lot of "cheapo" white brand PC's.

As for CPU. Well thanks to the move to Dual core's in 1 year I think single core machines will be rare. Why go single when a dual costs only 10 bucks extra?

The only real problem may be with the 3D card needed for the new gui. Except that I have been led to believe that it is optional and you can still use the old gui wich does not require a 3D card.

So basically, any halfway decent machine will do but as always you need lots of ram.

So what else is new? This has been true for opensource as well. You are not going to run KDE with all the options on a 486 with 16mb memory.

What I want is a sticker that says wether the hardware is DRM ready. That is the thing I am intrested in for Windows Vista.

Not in the way MS/Intel/etc wants. Just so I know wich products to avoid like the plague.

A nice shiny sticker "Big Brother Ready" so we can let them rot on the shops shelves.

Re:What a load off shit (1)

Plunky (929104) | about 8 years ago | (#15045472)

What I want is a sticker that says wether the hardware is DRM ready. That is the thing I am intrested in for Windows Vista.

Not in the way MS/Intel/etc wants. Just so I know wich products to avoid like the plague.

A nice shiny sticker "Big Brother Ready" so we can let them rot on the shops shelves.

It wont be labelled that. It will be labelled 'Multimedia Ready' or 'Featuring X-Prot for Extra Security' or something like that, so that the bozos who buy it will think they are getting something extra but wont notice that the extra thing snugly plugs their A-Hole.

you dont need vista (0)

Dylan Knight Rogers (931327) | about 8 years ago | (#15045328)

1. vista is basically xp with a pretty face
2. linux performs better, more secure
3. xgl/compiz looks nicer.

Security ? Nix ? Consumer ? No . (0, Flamebait)

Shohat (959481) | about 8 years ago | (#15045369)

If the average Windows user had 50% the technical knowledge of the average Linux user , you would have 95% less security problems . The problem with security is that the user is not supposed to know what a port or an IP is , but be protected by the OS from the people that do know .
With all due respect , securing a Windows box enough to get it online is 10x times easier that securing a *nix box .

Re:Security ? Nix ? Consumer ? No . (4, Insightful)

caffeination (947825) | about 8 years ago | (#15045444)

What? What? Don't know what *nix you're running, but Linux and BSD distros all come secure. The hard part is setting up your network hardware, but after that, you're safe. This is exactly the sort of thing you're talking about, so you've basically proved yourself wrong.

Re:Security ? Nix ? Consumer ? No . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045560)

Red Hat, before it became Fedora. We'd set up a box in the evening, shut down absolutely everything that we didn't know what it was, and by the time we got up in the morning it would have had its root password changed remotely. Secure as an investment in General Motors.

We replaced it with a Windows box with the built-in firewall. Not a single problem, ever.

Re:you dont need vista (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045383)

1. vista is basically xp with a pretty face

Have you been paying attention? Much of the code that has been with Win32 since NT4 is being rewritten; things like the networking modules and much of the driver framework will run in user mode (rather than kernel mode), which, for Windows, is quite a leap and a bound. I (like most) am not a huge fan of MS' software designs (particularly Windows), but what you said is wildly inaccurate.

Re:you dont need vista (1)

Wilbur_Mercer (965268) | about 8 years ago | (#15045408)

1. Vista is what XP should have been, 5 years too late with 5 times the memory overhead.
2. Linux is a kernel, you can't compare a kernel to an entire OS.
3. Pointless without open source drivers for the graphics cards.

The linked article is about the meaning of the term "Windows Vista Capable", not the inferiority of Microsoft software. Seriously, grow up.

A sales opportunity (1, Insightful)

Kilz (741999) | about 8 years ago | (#15045329)

C) we'll see machines that have Vista preloaded but which don't qualify as Vista capable?"
IMHO we will see a lot of them in stors like Buest Buy. It will be a good scam to sell and/or install the needed parts to make it work right. If this is done I see a jump the shark moment for Windows.

but what everyone wants to know is... (2, Interesting)

hyperstation (185147) | about 8 years ago | (#15045334)

will they run OS X?

Re:but what everyone wants to know is... (1)

muuh-gnu (894733) | about 8 years ago | (#15045538)

> but what everyone wants to know is...

This actually isn't what really everyone wants to know. You maybe and a few others, but "everyone" is a way exaggregated.

Good news, everyone! (5, Interesting)

Godji (957148) | about 8 years ago | (#15045352)

I see three things resulting from this, and all three are good:

1. Old machines that won't run Vista well will be phased out with dramatically lowered prices. So if you're looking for a cheap average computer that runs any OS beside Vista, you'll have a lot of cheap options.

2. Because of the whole Aero interface noise (the toughest part of Vista in terms of system requirements), we're finally going to see mainstream laptop manufacturers putting reasonable videocards in laptops. As it currently stands, it's extremely difficult to find a reasonable laptop with a reasonable (= can play Half-life 2 just fine or better) video card in a sane price range. Right now if you want a good (not even the best) video card, you have to buy a high-end laptop which will cost you a lot, at least in Europe.

3. Behind the ubercool Aero, Vista sounds like XP with a few bugs fixed. Many people with less than high-end computers will be disappointed because they won't be able to run Aero, and will see little reason to upgrade to Vista. Now I finally have a "n00b-obvious" good argument to convinve them to swtich to Linux :). With a little luck Xgl or something similar will be a fact within an year or so, when Vista is out. And that thing will allow an ubercool desktop experience on significantly less spectacular video hardware.

This last sentence requires a clarification: Whether Linux's desktop will be able to look better than Vista's will remain to be seen. Probably not at first. I've seen Vista screenshots, and it does look amazingly beautiful, for the most part. The lower requirements, however, are there: Xgl runs beautifully on a 32mb laptop videocard (GF4), while Aero won't, judging from what I've read around the Internet.

Re:Good news, everyone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045407)

3. Behind the ubercool Aero, Vista sounds like XP with a few bugs fixed.

Again, no. Much of Win32 has been redesigned in Vista. It's not just XP with a pretty face; much of the driver framework and networking framework are being re-engineered to run in user-mode. This adds to security but also a LOT more stability; when software runs in kernel mode (like the XP networking and driver interfaces) then when they crash, everything crashes. Another benefit: when you install a new piece of hardware, it's very likely you won't have to reboot after installing the driver.

This is not just a bug, it's HUGE. I run Gentoo and XP; I'll be the first to admit that XP is a LOT more stable than 2K or NT4 were. Vista will be that much better, when it smoothes out and gets a service pack.

Re:Good news, everyone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045481)

Xorg-air runs great on my i830M (64-megs of shared memory) graphics card, so even the shittiest computers can get the compiz-Aiglx effects. Cpu consumption for Xorg-air is about 1% or less, on 800 megahurtz, except for few effects that take as much as 10-20%, but only for a short time.

Re:Good news, everyone! (2, Insightful)

jbengt (874751) | about 8 years ago | (#15045546)

The reason laptops don't typically come with high end graphics cards is that that would severely limit battery life. As a frequent commuter and infrequent gamer, I appreciate my 4-5 hours of battery life. I do need a modestly good graphics card to do CAD on my laptop, but I would regret being forced to get the latest and greatest graphics card just to see eye-candy, and I wonder how that would compete with resources I actually need.

Re:Good news, everyone! (1)

jandrese (485) | about 8 years ago | (#15045599)

Eh, it's not hard to get Dells with a Radeon X300 or the like in it. It's not going to win any contests, but you can certainly play Half-Life on it. These are sub $1000 laptops too.

Great news (1)

canuck57 (662392) | about 8 years ago | (#15045354)

This is great news that new PCs will be "Vista" rated. It means the old ones will go on sale so I can get a loaded AMD X2 cheap to run Linux.

Requirements no doubt include . . . (1)

user no. 590291 (590291) | about 8 years ago | (#15045381)

. . . a Treacherous ("Trusted") Computing Fritz chip for Digital Restrictions ("Rights") Management capability. The Vista sticker will be a handy warning label.

Why all those Vista stories ? (3, Funny)

YGingras (605709) | about 8 years ago | (#15045387)

I don't plan to run Vista and I really don't see why a slashdoter
would want to run it. We don't see stories about new latest
AmigaOS, why all this hype about Vista. Is it that /. is now
filled with windrones ? Are those stories just trollish click

That kinds of piss me off, is there a news site for real nerds
out there or is /. my only option? Now go ahead you windrones,
mod me down into oblivion. You are still windrones.

Re:Why all those Vista stories ? (1)

Xymor (943922) | about 8 years ago | (#15045412)

Ms said Halo 2 will be vista exclusive, maybe this will win the hardcore FPS /.er, but unless FFXII is vista only, they won't see my money.

No worries (2, Insightful)

FishandChips (695645) | about 8 years ago | (#15045393)

There's no point worrying about this. After Vista is released, users will form a consensus about what you need to run it and that will form the basis of 1001 tech articles around the net.

In the meantime, the "official" sources all have vested interests and aren't to be trusted. There is, after all, a big difference between the specs on which Vista will work in theory and those on which it will work without giving the user an ulcer, quite aside from being able to turn on every feature.

I'm more interested in knowing how much the Vista versions are going to cost.

What a non-issue... (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 8 years ago | (#15045402)

...looking at current prices, the difference between 256mb and 512mb ram is about 14$ retail. By the time Vista is released, this'll be in the 10$ range. Hint: The low-low-end machines are always underpowered. Always have been, always will be. And with that said, I don't know how it compares to Vista yet but Windows 2000 does everything I want it to. I'm considering moving to XP SP3 when it's out (sometime after Vista) just for staying reasonably current, I'd rather go with the stable OS than the latest. The rest of you may be betatesters for Vista, I don't care. I already got all the hardware to run Vista and presumably the Windows version after that (except for the lack of DRM) but I choose not to.

What I want from Vista... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045423)

Is a mode where I can select "Geek, Expert etc"
Then all the
  - eye candy disappaars ( use Windows Classic etc)
  - Popups and nag boxes go away
  - does not try to tell me to do ....
  - lets me be in control
  - Does not phone home under any circumstances or even ask you if it can

Opps. Didn't I just describe Linux? Oh well...
Anyway. If I can't do the above the I won't be upgrading to Vista.

How about D... (5, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | about 8 years ago | (#15045426)

...we'll see machines that are billed as "Vista-capable" but don't give a very good experience?

We don't need benchmarks for speed. We need published, reliable benchmarks to serve as good, real-world guidelines about how much RAM the average user really needs to buy.

System requirements are depressingly unreliable, because it's one place where a company can sweep its underperformance under the rug. It's a soft requirement. Everyone will know whether Vista ships late. Everyone will know whether Vista has the feature they said it would have. But nobody will know whether some round of testing or tightening didn't get done, or whether engineering warned management that the goal for the system requirements can't be met and the requirements need to be bumped up. With the PC vendors pushing for a way to hit low price points for the entry systems...

For me, the timeline has been depressingly similar, over about two decades, in both the PC and the Mac world, whenever a new OS is introduced:

--The stated system RAM requirement is X, the entry-level systems are equipped with X, the midline systems are equipped with 2X. I buy 2X, but all my "I'm-not-a-computer-genius" friends who buy a machine at Best Buy and come to me for advice bought X.

--If you only have X, the system will, in fact, boot and very basic functions like displaying directories in the shell or running trivial programs like Wordpad seem OK. Typical purchased software (Office, Photoshop Elements, etc). seem to run sorta OK, but as soon as you see what they are like on a system with 2X you realize that X was actually underpowered from the word go.

--You can't tell your friends, "no big deal, buy another X RAM chip, it's only $49.95" unless you plan to go with them to buy it and plan to go to their house and install it for them.

--Even if the system works adequately, about eight months after it is released an automatic patch that is billed as "recommended for ALL systems" will, without clear notification, increase the RAM footprint by about 15% of X, which is just enough to push the systems that used to work sorta-kinda-OK into dogs, and the systems with 2X, which really did work OK, into systems that work noticeably slowly. Nothing that you can't fix if you're willing to spend a week or so tuning...

--All the advice articles saying admiringly that the system "loves RAM" and that it will work like a charm if you have 4X in.

--About a year after release, all the add-on software that runs under the OS starts to get point updates, which, unannounced, suddenly require more RAM. If you bought your system with 4X, or have upgraded to 4X, you don't even notice. If you bought even a midline system, you suddenly notice the upgrade has made an application that used to work fine dog-slow.

--About two years into release is your last good opportunity to throw RAM at the problem. If you miss the opportunity, by the time you are in the three to four year period you will find that RAM technology has moved forward, nobody quite remembers what kind of RAM your system needed, or how much you can add ,or whether a slot billed as requiring Y MHz will work properly with a new stick marked 1.5Y MHz. After you put it in your machine will start to crash twice a day, and it will take several days of swapping RAM to figure out whether the new RAM was bad, or you needed to buy RAM that was an identical match for the old RAM, or you needed to remove and throw out the old RAM, or whether the empty RAM slot you put the new RAM into is unreliable or has gotten dirty from being left unfilled... and have to start dodging pointed questions from the RAM vendor who keeps asking whether you opened the package while wearing a wrist strap in a clean room, and when your lab last tested your wrist strap.

Entirely unnecessary (1, Troll)

petrus4 (213815) | about 8 years ago | (#15045428)

The worst thing about all of this is that not only does it inconvenience a huge number of people, it does so for absolutely no good reason.

Microsoft have done a lot of stupid things in their time, but Aero really takes the cake as far as I'm concerned. A 3D interface (at least in terms of how they're implementing it from the screenshots) is purely cosmetic...it doesn't offer anything in the area of usability whatsoever. For what therefore is a purely visual touch-up, a lot of people are going to have to shell out large amounts of money if they want to be able to upgrade. Great for the hardware manufacturers; a distaster for the rest of us.

Thanks a bundle, Microsoft.

Not Entirely unnecessary (3, Insightful)

Craig Ringer (302899) | about 8 years ago | (#15045504)

Actually, I disagree. The interface is not entirely useless, in that they've used it as an opportunity to fix many of the things wrong with the old Windows UI. The outstanding key issue is resolution dependence - with Vista, a 12pt font should finally be a 12pt font, not "whatever 12pt is at 72dpi, in pixels, no matter what your real display res is". And don't suggest setting "large fonts" or worse setting the font res option to your actual display res - as the rest of the UI is all statically laid out, it chokes rather badly.

A 3D UI also makes doing interesting things with window management easier, or in fact practical.

IMO this is an opportunity for MS to do a lot right, and certainly isn't useless.

Re:Not Entirely unnecessary (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 8 years ago | (#15045597)

I agree with you that a 3D interface offers the opportunity for some group of developers to do some really cool, useful things.

I'm reasonably certain, however, based on previous experience, that Microsoft won't be the ones to do it.

Re:Entirely unnecessary (1)

muuh-gnu (894733) | about 8 years ago | (#15045620)

> Great for the hardware manufacturers; a distaster for the rest of us.

Why should that be a "disaster" for you, let alone the rest of us? Either you _need_ the new shiny interface, you loathe as cosmetic, and then youl will be happy they developed it and be glad to pay for it, so its no disaster, or you dont (as nobody else will need), and you can stay with XP and your current hardware for the years to come.

So how exactly will it be a "disaster" not willing to pay for an _absolutely immediate_ upgrade, when it comes out?

What we'll see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045432)

What we'll see will be a continuation of what we're already seeing: that PC's running a user-friendly distro like Kubuntu can do everything their Windows counterparts can, at a much lower cost, and more securely. It only takes on brave grandma in the neighborhood to change the whole neighborhood around.

The only people still seriously promoting MS are OEMs like Dell, who want you to need new hardware, tired IT managers who are failing to keep up with industry trends (remember COBOL?), and don't-know-any-better end users.

Re:What we'll see (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045581)

The only problem with running Linux as a HOME user is that most HOME USERS don't want Linux. Most HOME USERS want to be able to go to Wal*Mart and buy software for their computer. Most HOME USERS want real programs supported by REAL COMPANIES.

Sadly, my own Linux experience has been completely miserable each time I have decided to give it a shot as my own OS. On top of missing features such as support for audio and video properly configured out of the box, there is the disgustingly arrogant community that seems to have "Go do a Google Search" as their standard reply to a majority of questions. Don't get me started on Applications either. GIMP != Photoshop; OpenOffice != Microsoft Office (not even close). The commercial products kick the living shit out of the F/OSS products.

Biggest problem with Linux as I see it? Too many goddamned distributions, because there are too many goddamned people that think they know "the best way" to do something. Sorry Linux folks, and I know, "blah blah blah, it's all about choice...", You wonder why Linux on the Desktop is not working out so good for home users? The very people you are trying to market your OS to, in this case home users, don't want 8,000 choices in how their OS is configured. They want a clearly defined OS that has support from a major vendor. They want to go to the store and buy programs from major companies, they don't want to have to search through 500,000 newsgroup posts/websites to find the answer to why their EDIR1024GFXTreme is only displaying 256 colors at 640x480 resolution. They want shit that just works.

Until Linux has support from major software houses like Adobe, Microsoft, EA, Intuit, etc. etc. it will NEVER EVER be a force on teh desktop of 99.5356% of the worlds population...Fuck Linux and the Penguin it rode in on

Begin the next cycle of the upgrade treadmill (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 8 years ago | (#15045449)

At least home users can 'just say no', corporate buyers that fall for the MOLP agreement scam, are screwed.

A little warning... (1)

advocate_one (662832) | about 8 years ago | (#15045454)

Vista Home basic will NOT have the aeroglass desktop OR the HDCP media playback... so any current "budget"machine on the market is compatible... It's a marketing "scam"... Any truly Vista capable machine will have to have a much higher spec than currently on offer in the home end of the market.

Eh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045467)

I have XP Pro running on a Pentium II (MMX), 266Mhz computer with 128MB PC100 RAM, 3.2GB hard drive, and 4MB PCI Matrox graphics card. With all the visual asthetics tuned down and superfluous features uninstalled, I can safely say it runs well, despite the disclaimers and "minimum requirements" that Microsoft established for XP. So like previously mentioned, it is likely that in comparison, Vista will run fine on current low-end machines, as long as one can tune down features such as 3-D windowing and extraneous add-ons.

Re:Eh... (1)

jrmcferren (935335) | about 8 years ago | (#15045614)

I've seen WinXP run on 64 MB or RAM. It was an old Pentium II 266 MHz notebook, running WinXP. Suprisingly it was not much worse than Win2K in the same situation. I've run (in a troubleshooting excersise only) WinME on 16 MB of RAM (one of the simms was replaced with a BAD one).

Headline is backwards... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045486)

Shouldn't it read:

Machine capable Windows Vista is coming?

Average Joe Consumer won't know better (1)

thunderpaws (199100) | about 8 years ago | (#15045491)

and likely won't much care. I see a great many people who buy a computer based on price alone. AMD Sempron, 256 MB RAM, 100 GB HD, integrated graphics, running XP Home, Norotn or McAfee, and some form of manufacturer help/care/support software in the background, AOL or PeoplePC on a dial-up internet over copper that is giving them a whopping 24k connection. Anyone with a modicum of knowledge understands that this system will run horribly, but those who buy these systems believe they are experiencing the wonders of technology. How many Wal-Mart ECS laptops with 128 MB RAM w/ integrated graphics were sold running XP Home? There will always be a market for cheap, regardless of the "minimum" or "recommended" hardware requirements.

Intel Graphics (1)

thpdg (519053) | about 8 years ago | (#15045493)

Embedded Intel graphics are not going to cut it anymore. However, almost every PC sold at big box stores contains this most simple form of graphics processor. Will these machines go away? Or will they ship with XP? Or will Vista be preset into a mode that will be able to handle these low capabilities?
These same machines can have large hard drives, decent processors and good RAM, but still not have any useful kind of graphics card.

Windows with vertex shaders? (4, Insightful)

gameforge (965493) | about 8 years ago | (#15045511)

Honestly, I didn't start using XP until after SP2 came out. I probably won't buy Vista until I get a 64-bit chip. Just because it doesn't run on every existing system the day it hits the shelves doesn't mean a whole lot; certainly two years after it's released people will have had time to upgrade.

I can't imagine what kind of 3D GUI they're going to have that won't work with a less-than-$100 Radeon. I find it difficult to believe they're going to be using vertex shaders and curved surfaces a whole lot; app screens don't take hundreds of megs of video memory (remember when video memory was a luxury?) either. I remember before Win95 came out (they were calling it Windows 4.0) and I had a 386SX/16 w/ 4MB RAM. I had to buy a new computer to upgrade.

Another point: I'm seeing a lot of people who seem to think that Vista is XP with a 3D GUI; that's not so!

Vista moves a lot of OS software out of kernel space (where it will crash the whole machine if it dies) and into user space. For instance, the networking and driver interfaces. This is good for security, but helps a lot with stability too. In theory, you won't have to reboot if you install a driver, as I understand it.

I use Gentoo and XP. XP is a LOT more stable than Win2k and NT4 were; Vista will be that much better.

I'm not crazy about the way MS designs software (Windows in particular), but they're rewriting a lot of code that has been with Win32 since NT4 (and even Win95 and older). That doesn't mean it will work; but it's a far cry from being XP with a new GUI. Also, Windows XP isn't 64-bit (unless you get the 64-bit version with less-than-Linux driver support - basically XP recompiled to support 64-bit), whereas Vista will probably do some things that 32-bit windows couldn't do, if you have a 64-bit chip.

Home Basic will Finish Microsoft (1)

nottoogeeky (869124) | about 8 years ago | (#15045557)

I'm pretty sure, home basic (without the aero) is the version most likely version to be preinstaled on new machines. Very very stupid idea by Microsoft i reckon. Apple are just going to move in right in this spot with the fancy interfaces that microsoft customers WON'T be seeing. I guess it gives linux a chance too if anyone can come up with something more useable.

Having a D'oh morning, slashies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045564)

A) we'll see some cheap systems that still have XP even after Vista ships; or B) the specs on even the cheapest machines will be beefed up; or C) we'll see machines that have Vista preloaded but which don't qualify as Vista capable

As anyone with three brains cells (that's more than the average heat & smoke producing slashie seems to have this morning) could tell you, we will see all three of these. The only possibly interesting question is what proportions they'll be, but even that's only really interesting if you're Dell or etc.

OMG! Did the pink hurt your brains that much, huh?

My prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15045566)

With respect to the purchase of a new PC; got a few basic predictions.

1) Fully equipped PC's will ship eventually driving the price down on hardware.

2) These fully equipped PC's (may) will cause a shortage on hardware driving up the prices.


3) The OEM's will ship the new PC's that barely meet the requirements. The only way that these machines will function is by turning off the majority of features that will make Vista, Vista.

Looks like option 3 will be the ticket. No vendor wants to be the first to charge more for a PC. Simply put; the avg consumer is an idiot and they solely shop on price. No vendor wants to be the first and totally equip the machines to fully handle Vista. If they do; their sales will suffer against their competitors.

Ok, to further refine my 900 number skills:

The article doesn't specifically state that the OEM's will ship bare bones PC's. However, the loose guidelines that are being set for will cause option 3 to happen.

You will see:
a) Option 3 will happen
b) Option 2 will follow within the next few years.

I know what you're thinking; option 2 is a simple fact of life; newer, better faster hardware always comes out. My point is that a truly Vista capable machine won't be available for a year to two years after the initial release; which is sad.

As for Option 1; it won't happen or it will have minimal impact. Vendors will slowly incorporate sligthly beefier hardware over time; which may eventually bring down prices. Anyways, feel free to flame me.

Anonymous Coward.

Joe Average Won't Be Buying Vista (5, Interesting)

pandrijeczko (588093) | about 8 years ago | (#15045576)

I really do believe that the release of Vista will mark a big turning point for Microsoft - that point in time will be marked as the point where Microsoft either fully secured their place in the OS market or began their decline.

Personally, I think this marks the beginning of the end for Microsoft - at least from the point of view of regular OS releases. I've been a Windows user right since 3.x days (fortunately Linux is now my prime OS) but each time I've upgraded to a new MS OS, I have seen less and less reason to do that upgrade in the first place - I've only used XP for the past year now (used Windows 2000 before) and only really used XP because it came on a new PC I bought and I discovered I could ditch the terrible Windows XP UI for the classic Windows 2000 one. But I can't say i've noticed much difference with using it - I found Windows 2000 pretty stable for general desktop use and XP is no different.

From the perspective of Joe Average, I don't see he has any reason to upgrade to Vista. The PC games market is quite clearly slowing down as games producers focus more on consoles and it's not going to be for around 2 years after Vista is released that we'll see "Vista only" games. You only need to look at the rise in Internet gaming to see that the future of PC games is a subscription model where gamers will be paying once for a game that will be something they will play possibly for several years - as opposed to buying a new game every few weeks or so. And if there's only a small Vista user base, games and apps producers will continue to support XP.

I'm sure that businesses will upgrade slowly (because of the licensing lock-in MS has with them) but those of us in IT have all seen the adoption of new OSes by businesses slow down also. Because Vista will end up breaking a lot of existing apps, the business migration is bound to be very slow.

I'm sure MS know all of this - which is why the marketing around Vista seems to be a lot more now than for any other OS they've released. But I really do think that this time, they're going to have real trouble getting this on the same number of desktops as they did with XP.

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