Windows Vista Systems Spec

August 10, 2008

Let’s start at the bottom line. What’s the minimum-spec PC that will run Windows Vista (what Microsoft calls a “Windows Vista Capable PC”)?

Microsoft’s Vista-Capable PC

  • A processor with a minimum speed of 800MHz
  • 512MB of RAM
  • A graphics system capable of supporting DirectX 9 (SVGA 800×600)
  • 20GB hard drive (with 15GB free – don’t worry though, Vista doesn’t take up 15GB, it just needs that much room to install!)
  • DVD-ROM drive

As I said, the requirements I’ve listed above are for what Microsoft calls a “Windows Vista Capable PC.” This is a PC that can run Windows Vista but cannot make use of additional features (what Microsoft calls “premium experiences”).

These “premium experiences” include the Windows Aero interface and BitLocker Drive Encryption. A PC that supports these “premium experiences” is categorized as a “Windows Vista Premium Ready” PC. These PCs have higher system requirements.

Microsoft’s Vista Premium-Ready PC

  • A processor with a minimum speed of 1GHz (x86 or x64)
  • 1GB of RAM
  • A GPU that supports DirectX 9 and the following:
  • WDDM (Windows Vista Display Driver Model) Driver
  • 128MB of video RAM
  • Hardware support for Pixel Shader 2.0
  • 32 bits per pixel
  • 40GB hard drive (with 15GB free – again, don’t worry though, Vista doesn’t take up 15GB, it just needs that much room to install!)
  • A DVD-ROM drive
  • Note that BitLocker Drive Encryption also requires a TPM 1.2 chip or a USB 2.0 flash drive

Adrian’s Vista Premium-Ready PC

I think that the Microsoft requirements are on the low side, and I’ve come up with my own “minimum-spec Windows Vista Premium Ready” PC requirements:

  • A processor with a minimum speed of 2.0GHz (dual-core recommended)
  • 2GB of RAM for x86 (32-bit) systems, 4GB for x64 (64-bit) rigs
  • A GPU that supports DirectX 9 and the following:
  • WDDM (Windows Vista Display Driver Model) Driver
  • 256MB of video RAM
  • Hardware support for Pixel Shader 2.0
  • 32 bits per pixel
  • 100GB SATA hard drive with 50GB free
  • CD/DVD burner

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