Microsoft unveils Vista requirements

Microsoft reveals more information on its upcoming operating system--including what kind of computer you'll need to run it.

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Microsoft has updated its official Windows Vista "Get Ready" page with new information on its upcoming PC operating system. The updated page includes the system requirements for the OS's native 3D interface, "Windows Aero." According to the page, Aero will require:

A DirectX 9-class graphics processor that:
-Supports a WDDM Driver
-Supports Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware
-Supports 32 bits per pixel

Adequate graphics memory:
-64MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor less than 1,310,720 pixels
-128MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at resolutions from 1,310,720 to 2,304,000 pixels
-256MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at resolutions higher than 2,304,000 pixels
-Meets graphics memory bandwidth requirements, as assessed by Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor running on Windows XP.

The "Get Ready" page also suggests that by the time the new operating system launches, Microsoft will have at least two designations for Vista-compatible computers: the "Windows Vista Capable PC" and the "Windows Vista Premium Ready PC."

Windows Vista Capable PCs will include, at minimum, a "modern processor (at least 800MHz)," 512MB system memory, and a DirectX 9-compatible graphics processor.

Windows Vista Premium Ready PCs will include, at minimum, a 1GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor, 1GB of system memory, a graphics processor that runs Windows Aero2, 128MB of graphics memory, 40GB of hard drive capacity with 15GB free space, a DVD-ROM Drive3, audio output capability, and Internet access capability.

The Vista site also states that the operating system will be available in five versions: Business, Enterprise, Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate (the latter version will apparently include all the functionality from the other four versions in one package). The site also suggests that curious users try the beta version of the Windows Upgrade Advisor to see whether their computers will be able to run the OS.

Windows Vista will be the next operating system from software giant Microsoft, and it's intended to replace Windows XP. The upcoming operating system was recently delayed until 2007. For more information on Vista and what it will mean for playing games, visit GameSpot tech's recent feature story on Vista and its functionality.

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