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Monday, April 03, 2006
Windows Vista Capable PC Hardware Guidelines

Microsoft released its Vista Capable logo program which identifies computers capable of running Microsoft's next-generation operating system and allows users to switch when it arrives in January 2007.

Qualifying systems need to pass the current certification requirements for the 'Designed for Windows XP' logo.

They are required to offer 512MB of internal memory, a graphics card that supports Windows Vista Display Driver model drivers (WDDM) and Direct x 9 and one of several qualifying processors listed on the websites of Intel, AMD and VIA.

The software giant is preparing several versions of Vista, and the logo currently indicates that a system can run Windows Vista Home Basic.

However, Microsoft said that Windows Vista will scale with PC hardware capabilities. One of the features that scales with hardware is the desktop graphics experience. The company describes this experience as "good", for a PC system that meet the above requirements of a modern CPU, 512MB RAM and DirectX 9 class GPU.

For a "better" experience, PCs should use a GPU with WDDM support to provide multi-application performance and monitor hot-plugging, when running any version of Windows Vista.

The "Best" experience when running Vista would come with PCs with appropriately configured graphics hardware that support Windows Aero user experience that offers additional benefits of enhanced visual quality (glitch-free window redrawing), improved productivity (which includes real-time thumbnail previews, new 3-D task switching, interface scaling, etc.) and visual style (which includes translucent window frames and taskbar, enhanced transitional effects, etc.) when running premium versions of Windows Vista.

To enable Windows Aero, PC systems must meet the following criteria for graphics hardware, with either discrete or UMA solutions:

- DirectX 9 class graphics hardware that supports WDDM and Pixel Shader 2.0

- A minimum of 32 bits per pixel

- 256MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at resolutions higher than 2,304,000 pixels

- Graphics memory bandwidth, as assessed by Windows Vista?s built in system assessment tool WinSAT.EXE, of at least 1,800MB/s at following resolution:

1.Desktop PC: at a monitor resolution of 1,310,720 pixels (equivalent to 1280 x 1024)
2.Mobile PC: at the native resolution of built-in display

Microsoft plans to release the hardware requirements for more advanced versions such as Premium at a later stage.

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