Feeds

ATI claims World+Dog wants Vista Premium not Basic

Shift spells trouble for Intel's graphics efforts?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

When we kicked off our investigation into Windows Vista's hardware requirements we glossed over the graphics part of the system requirements and simply said that you need DirectX 9 hardware. It turns out things are rather more complicated than that plain statement suggests, and that may mean trouble ahead for Intel.

A Windows Vista Capable PC does indeed require "a graphics processor that is DirectX 9 capable", while a Windows Vista Premium Ready PC has more stringent specifications. The difference between Vista Basic and Vista Premium is the Aero user interface, which adds glass-like effects to the appearance of the GUI.

A Vista Premium Ready PC requires a DirectX 9 GPU that supports a WDDM Driver, supports Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware and defines colours using at least 32-bits per pixel. These are the important features and, in addition, the GPU also requires adequate graphics memory which Microsoft defines as:

  • 64MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor less than 1,310,720 pixels (resolution below 1,280 x 1,024)
  • 128MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at resolutions from 1,310,720 to 2,304,000 pixels (between 1,280 x 1,024 and 1,920 x 1,280)
  • 256MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at resolutions higher than 2,304,000 pixels (greater than 1,920 x 1,200)

That looks straightforward enough. After all, DirectX 9 Shader Model 2.0 chips are ten-a-penny and every graphics card on the market has at least 128MB of graphics memory these days

It turns out, however, that the situation isn't quite that simple.

There’s another unstated part to the hardware requirement that is based on WinSAT (Windows System Assessment Tool), which is part of Windows Vista. It’s not a benchmark as such but instead is a tool that assesses how well a PC or notebook supports Windows Vista by running a series of tests. There are five of these checks - Graphics, Direct3D, Storage, Processor and Video Decode - of which we are interested in the first two as they directly relate to GPU requirements.

The Graphics assessment checks the memory bandwidth of the graphics sub-system to determine whether the PC can run Aero, while the Direct3D test checks out the gaming ability of the graphics. You’ll get a test result with any DirectX 9 hardware but integrated graphics currently get a red light from Microsoft as they don’t have the grunt to drive Aero and the same is true of the earliest DirectX 9 graphics cards.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.