Even though I don’t recommend installation of Vista within the first 4 – 6 months for most firms from solo to mid-size, you still have to be aware of its requirements, so you can purchase new hardware which is Vista-ready, rather than face an imminent upgrade. Tech Republic just published a wonderful article on the various “flavors” of Vista, and exactly what will be required to utilize them. I was surprised, for example, to find that computers will fall into one of three categories:
1) not capable of running Vista; or
2) Vista Capable; or
3) Vista Premium Ready
I also didn’t realize that there will be 5 different versions of Vista. Before doing anything else, you should download and run the Windows Upgrade Advisor utility. This software will examine your computer and provide you with a summary of what versions of Windows Vista the computer is capable of running. This is particularly critical for laptops, because upgrading the video card, for example, is just about impossible.
I was aware that the graphics requirement for Vista is steep. Everything I read previously indicated that 64 Mb of video RAM would be required to take advantage of the improved graphics of Vista. I am now surprised to read that to be considered Premium Ready, the graphics adapter must have a minimum of 128 MB of video RAM. Vista Capable cards require only 64 MB of video RAM. Of course, unless you plan on using the Aero Glass graphics, there is no reason to upgrade your existing video adapter if it’s Vista Capable. But by all accounts, the Aero Glass graphics is fairly incredible.
There is a free download of the article available here. It’s a quick read, and really explains everything very well, even if you’re not a techie.