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Microsoft's New Video Game: Windows Vista

I happened to come across an article discussing what the system requirements are going to be for the next version of Windows, Windows Vista. I have to say, it is such a joke. Usually it has always been that you only really need a system with lots of memory, a high-end graphics card, and a fast processor if you play lots of games on your computer. Not anymore, according to the article basically, to run the 64-bit version, you'll need a 256MB graphics card, 2GB of DDR3 memory, a SATA2 hard drive, and a dual core processor. I'd bet if you actually want to do something with the system beyond basic stuff, you'll need a lot more than that. Though they do say the 32-bit version requirements are lower but regardless.

Realistically, Windows XP for example will run fine on a 500MHz processor with 256MB of memory and any graphics card if all you really use it for is internet, email, word processing, IM, etc. Sure you can run it on a 3.4GHz processor with a gig of memory but you don't have to.

One thing that will be interesting to see is how this affects like those $299 computers companies like Dell sell. Obviously they aren't high end but they usually run Windows and basic stuff fine. Once Vista is released, at least for the immediate future, I don't know how they could sell a computer for that kind of price that would get anywhere near those kinds of spec requirements.

"If you move from 32 to 64 bit, you basically need to at least double your memory. 2 gigs in 64 bit is the equivalent of a gig of RAM on a 32bit machine. That's because you're dealing with chunks that are twice the size... if you try to make do with what you've got you'll see less performance. But RAM is now so cheap, it's hardly an issue.

RAM is cheap? I suppose cheap is a relative term and if you are buying a high-end graphics card and dual core CPU, a little over 200 bucks for 2GB of DDR2 (much less DDR3) is 'cheap'. I mean I can see this being the death to dirt cheap computers unless they keep loading XP on them or switch over to Linux. Obviously prices will go down over time; they always do but that always takes time and that time isn't going to be a year from now.

Additionally it is curious that Microsoft thinks that 256MB graphics cards will be mainstream in a year. I mean I bet ATI and NVIDIA are jumping for joy over this one but still.

It wouldn't be so bad if there was really a reason to need all that horsepower. I've seen Windows Vista it really isn't that great, all that extra eye candy to me gets in the way of actually using the computer. Instead of prettying up the XP UI for Vista, they could have spent that time on doing things like making the OS more compact, more secure, or god forbid make IE standards compliant.

An additional point to raise is where is the proof that you'd need these high-end peices of hardware? Are they just making it up or is it really going to need it? That does have to be considered in this whole issue.

Oh! And let's not forget the whole HDCP issue. How many people do they think are really going to replace their monitors just so they can watch HD content? And if they don't supply players for all platforms, think earlier versions of Windows, Linux, Mac OS, their encryption will get cracked overnight. That's what caused DVD encryption to get broken; someone wanted to watch DVDs in Linux. For everyone programmer they have working to secure it, there will be ten working to get around it.

Although it is still a year out and my mind could change, I can't see myself really using Windows Vista. Microsoft has just gotten so out of control, they are dictating hardware trends now and that just isn't going to happen. They should target the OS to run on systems commonly available now. I could see if they said you needed a 2.4 GHz system with a gig of memory and a 32MB graphics card, that'd be reasonable given the hardware in the market now. It is like Microsoft is thinking they are designing a video game and not an OS. They could have saved time and just licensed the Half-Life 2 engine, lol.

Posted on: Sep 6, 2005 at 11:16 pm - (1) comments.

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