Microsoft unveiled the minimum video specs for computers to run its new operating system Windows Vista, due out early next year. Vista will support a wide range of computers with varying levels of performance. Current XP setups will likely run it; but only the best equipment will be able to run Vista's fancy, translucent interface called Aero. We won't know until all the details are locked down.
However, we now know the video specifications required to run the full version of Vista. Incoming tech talk:
A DirectX 9-class graphics processor that:
• Supports a WDDM driver
• Supports Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware
• Supports 32 bits per pixel
Adequate graphics memory:
• 64MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor running at less than 1280 X 1024 resolution (up to a 19" monitor)
• 128MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor running at less than 1920 X 1200 resolution (up to 23" widescreen monitor)
• 256MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at resolutions higher than 1920 X 1200 resolution (up to a 30" monitor)
• Meets graphics memory bandwidth requirements, as assessed by Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor running on Windows XP
If your eyes glazed over just there, just know that if your video card was bought without the last two years, you're probably okay - but it's just one piece of a larger puzzle. No word yet on what else gamers might expect to have onboard for a high-end experience or how much that equipment will cost.
Also, this video card info is focused on DirectX 9 technology, which is the current standard, with no mention of the latest-greatest DirectX 10 video cards that will be Vista-only. DirectX is the language that games use to speak to your PC, and DirectX 10 is supposed to be an enormous upgrade that will come along with Windows Vista.
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