New PCs to Sport ‘Vista Capable’ Stickers

Concerned that computer buyers might put off new computer purchases until new systems are available with Microsoft’s forthcoming Vista operating system pre-installed, Microsoft has launched a hardware labeling program for computer makers. With a new “Vista Capable” sticker, the industry hopes to assure consumers that shiny new machine will be able to run Windows Vista when it finally ships in early 2007.

What does the “Vista Capable” logo actually mean? According to Microsoft’s guidelines, to sport the Vista Capable logo, a system must sport at least 512 MB of RAM, a grahpics processor capable of supporting Microsoft DirectX 9, and a “modern CPU” (by which Microsoft means recent offerings from Intel, AMD, and Via).

However, just because a machine sports a Vista Capable sticker, that doesn’t actually mean it’s going to run Windows Vista the way you might want. Microsoft’s initial guidelines apply only to the Home Edition of Windows Vista; Microsoft plans to release additional minimum hardware requirements for Windows Vista, presumably covering higher-powered editions with the Windows Aero interface. Microsoft has suggestions for a “better” graphics experience running Windows Vista:

  • DirectX 9 support, plus support for WDDM and Pixel Shader 2.0
  • A minimum of 32 bits per pixel
  • Either 64 MB (1024 by 768), 128 MB (1920 by 1200) or 256 MB of graphics memory
  • Graphics memory bandwidth of at least 1,800MB/s