As expected, Microsoft has this week spelt out what system requirements are needed to take full advantage of the new features in its forthcoming Vista operating system.
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The company has launched two Vista marketing programmes aimed at PC manufacturers and retailers, which include the system requirements needed by end users to fully benefit from Vista.
The "Vista-capable" programme lists the minimum features to be able to run Vista, and the "Premium Ready" programme is being used to identify PCs that can take full advantage of Vista's high-end features.
High-end features include Microsoft’s powerful Aero graphics system for Windows, which displays icons in 3D.
Vista-capable machines need at least an 800MHz processor, 512MB of memory and a graphics card that can run DirectX 9 graphics.
Premium Ready machines need at least a 1GHz processor, 1GB of main memory, and a graphics card that supports Vista's new graphics-driver model.
A Premium Ready machine must also have 128MB of graphics memory and 15GB of free space on the hard drive.
Microsoft has made available a downloadable tool to enable users to test whether their existing machine can run the operating system, and which features they will be able to use.