We saw this on Slashdot, but it originally appeared as a transcript on Australian computer mag APC's Web site. Reporting from the Microsoft Australian Tech.Ed 2005 conference, APC sends back word that the hardware requirements to get Microsoft's new Vista operating system running smoothly will be much higher than most people have in their current systems.
According to Microsoft strategist Nigel Page, running 64-bit Vista will require 2GB of system memory to run optimally. And 32-bit Vista users will need at least 512MB of RAM, but ideally 1GB. More shocking, however, is the amount of graphics memory required. Due to the forthcoming operating system's shift to more demanding vector graphics (as opposed to Windows' current bitmapped images), Vista will gobble up video memory. "If you've only got 64 [MB of graphics memory], don't worry," said Page. But apparently, Vista will really hum only with PCI Express graphics cards that have 256MB of memory or more.
The increased system memory requirement is manageable, as RAM by itself is not that expensive. But with such graphics throughput demands, integrated video chips that share system memory could become a thing of the past. It also makes us wonder whether we'll start seeing budget graphics cards with 256MB and 512MB of memory. Either way, it sounds like by the time Vista comes out, near the holiday season of 2006, you're going to need to upgrade or make a new desktop purchase if you want to get onboard with the new OS.