Vista ready

Does your computer have what it takes to handle Microsoft® Windows® Vista™ OS?

  Windows Vista Home Basic Windows Vista Home Premium
Processor 800MHz 1GHz
System Memory 512MB 1GB
GPU DirectX 9 capable DirectX 9 capable GPU with Hardware Pixel Shader v2.0 and WDDM Driver support
Graphics Memory 32MB 128MB
HDD 20GB 40GB
HDD Free Space 15GB 15GB
Optical Drive CDROM DVDROM

Let's face it — things just keep getting more and more digital. Whether it's communicating with friends and family, entertaining, or working, we're more reliant on digital technology than ever before.

Microsoft addresses the growing demands of the digital lifestyle with the launch of its latest operating system, Microsoft® Windows® Vista™. This redesigned OS promises to be more intuitive than ever, striving to redefine the way we look at the files and applications we use every day. It's no surprise that an operating system with so much more digital capability needs more a lot more horsepower than its predecessors.

That means if you're planning to use Vista, it's important to determine if your computer has enough memory to support the new software.

The bottom line? You'll need a computer with a considerable amount of processing power and memory to enable Vista's full feature set, which includes desktop search, online security functions, speech recognition, and more. Microsoft will be releasing a full-blown version, called Vista Home Premium, as well as a stripped-down version called Vista Home Basic.(There are also several business-oriented versions.) The key difference between the two home options will be seen in graphics performance and user experience. Vista Home Premium will enable Microsoft's new Windows Aero interface technology, which adds visual elements akin to Macintosh systems, such as semitransparent windows.

This new OS will change the way look at flash memory, too. Vista's new SuperFetch feature is a technology that can manage your most frequently used applications by preloading them into memory and speeding up their start-up times. It reads dates, too, adjusting to the programs you use on weekdays as opposed to weekends. Plus, you can boost memory and performance (without opening the box) by way of ReadyBoost technology, which utilizes USB flash drives and other types of portable memory.

Vista is compatible with USB 2.0 drives, Secure Digital cards and Compact Flash cards. Traditionally, flash memory options are slower than RAM, but ReadyBoost makes them a faster option because (unlike the hard drive) they are not multitasking. And if you use a USB drive with encryption software, you also prevent any unauthorized access to your data. And you can still remove memory device at any time, without data loss or damage to the flash drive.

To install Vista on your PC, here's what you need to know about specs. For Vista Home Basic, Microsoft recommends these hardware requirements: a CPU of 800MHz or faster; 512MB of system memory; a DirectX 9-capable graphics processor; and a 20GB hard drive with 15GB free space. For Vista Home Premium, which includes the Aero capability, Microsoft recommends this minimum system configuration: a 1GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) CPU; 1GB of system memory; a dedicated graphics card with at least 128MB of graphics memory; a 40GB hard drive with 15GB free space; and a DVD-ROM drive.

However, for optimal OS performance, The Memory Experts(SM) in the Crucial Performance Lab recommend more. They've spent time working with beta versions as well as all the release candidates, and from that, they predict that 1GB will come up short and that 2GB is a better option. It's not a surprise; when Microsoft Windows XP was launched, our benchmark tests showed the Microsoft recommendation for minimum memory just wasn't enough.

Stay tuned. When Microsoft officially launches Windows Vista, our experts will be running benchmark tests and publishing results as they come available — so plan on checking out our site updates on a regular basis. In just one click, the Crucial Vista System Scanner will tell you what hardware your PC already has installed versus what it will need to comfortably run Vista. It scans your system and recommends any upgrades needed.

It's the affordable way to get your PC up to speed for Windows Vista before it's released.