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Thread: Windows Vista Hardware Tax

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    Senior Members' Member Matt1eD's Avatar
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    Windows Vista Hardware Tax

    Rory Blyth is one of the main MSDN Windows Mobile lecturers in the US. A great person aswell! This is from his blog, offering a different perspective to the hardware requirements for Vista from the constant complaining of some people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rory Blyth
    I’ve been quiet all week because there’s already plenty of blogging about the PDC going on, and I’ve been spending my time trying to experience it this time. I barely remember the last PDC. I was so busy trying to write up every minute of every session I was at that I had to read my own posts to know what happened. It’s like people who record every moment of their child’s development from birth until age three, only to wake up one day and realize that they’ve never seen their own kid outside the camcorder CCD.

    While working hard on this not blogging thing, I’ve been talking to a lot of people. Microsoft people, Sun people, Mono people, and customers. Plenty of interesting conversations (and arguments), but one thing that’s been getting to me is what I’m starting to think of as the “Vista Hardware Tax”.

    I’m hearing a lot of people complain, or at least express concern, about the somewhat steep hardware requirements of Vista. This needs to stop.

    Before becoming a paid geek, I worked “normal” jobs. Warehouses, restaurants, and stuff like that. One job in particular was as a valet at a Marriott.

    I spent my summer afternoons and evenings driving other people’s cars in and out of the Marriott garage. It wasn’t very intellectually stimulating, but this was offset by the perks of getting to breath exhaust for eight hours a day while wearing a pseudo-naval uniform complete with ceremonious epaulets. What the job lacked in pay, benefits, and prestige, it more than made up for in humiliation and exposure to carcinogens. I also learned that most Mercedes from the mid 70s smell like raisins on the inside. Don’t know why that is.

    Speaking of Mercedes, it was always an interesting experience driving all the cars I did. I got behind the wheel of everything from the lowest of the low, barely running, filled to the brim with trash luxury cars from the 70s, to the latest and greatest bits of high-end sleekness coming out of Germany.

    Often when driving a twenty-five year old Benz, I tried to imagine what it would have been like to have driven the car as new. These were the top of the line luxury cars for their time (aside from the uber luxury vehicles like Rolls Royces, Bentleys, etc.). It was hard to believe. In the late 90s, a car without a CD player, flashy lights, onboard computer, and electric windows was not what most people thought of when they thought of luxury.

    But it was. It was luxury for the Saturday Night Fever generation.

    You know what else? Those cars are good enough. They don’t have the creature comforts that a modern Benz does, but they’ll get you from point A to point B. Driving one is simply a matter of accepting that your car is going to smell like raisins. Aside from that, it’ll get you to work just as well as a brand new model.

    There’s something missing, though, for the people who are driving the raisin-smelling Mercedes. There’s no GPS. There’s no DVD player. There’s no super automatic climate control system for each passenger in the car. Advances in ergonomics are missing – we know more than ever now how to make people comfortable, and it shows in newer cars. Basically, there are tons of features in a new Benz that you aren’t going to find in an old one.

    See where I’m going with this?

    Vista is the new luxury car. That’s all. It has new features, it’s more reliable, it’s more stable, and it has a lot more going for it in terms of user experience than our current offerings.

    To be able to deliver these improvements requires a bit more in terms of hardware. Just as you can’t expect your 1973 POS Benz to direct you to the nearest hotel by GPS, you can’t expect your old POS computer to be able to handle all the advancements in Vista.

    You’re lucky you aren’t all Apple customers, by the way. This business of hardware obsolescence happens much faster Over There. I paid almost $3,000 for an apple a couple years ago, and within a year I was reading about all the UI features in the next OS that I’d be missing out on because my computer was more than three minutes old.

    This could have happened in the Windows world years ago, but it’s happening next year instead, and next year is the perfect time for it. High end video cards are becoming ubiquitous, and if you’re computing with less than 512 MB of RAM (on any modern platform), then you should be dragged kicking and screaming into the future.

    Sure, this is all going to cost money, and not everybody is making craploads of dough, but by the time Vista comes out, you ought to be able to get a Vista system for fairly cheap. If you want to buy a system now that can run Vista, then you’ll pay a premium. But, wait until the OS is actually out, and I think you’ll find it’s a very different story.

    But that’s progress, and it’s always been like this. For Vista to do what we want it to simply requires beefier hardware.

    I’m sure there’s still some poorly washed Berkeley dropout in his basement somewhere, flipping switches on the front of his Altair, complaining about all these advances in computing like “keyboards” and “storage devices”.

    I’m excited about the hardware requirements. I’m ready for all the fancypants crap that Vista’s going to be able to do. I’m ready for applications that take advantage of the expensive hardware I’ve been buying for the past five years.

    I’m happy to pay the Vista Hardware Tax, and I encourage naysayers to invest in the competition.

  2. #2
    Senior Amoeba iranu's Avatar
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    Well balls to that Mr Blyth. I don't want fancy graphics and a resource hogging piece of bloatware. I want a clean, simple, intuative, stable, secure and bloody fast OS that doesn't limit me or force me to upgrade my perfectly good monitor with crap like DRM.

    XP runs on a K750 athlon with 512mb of ram so whats the problem. This guy is making it sound like you'll need to invest in a £2000 machine before MS will allow you to load Vista.

    The corporate market may need to upgrade to 512mb of ram but hey they run win2k mainly anyway with some switching to xp now. What business needs the "fancy pants crap" that vista will provide?

    I'm seriously considering switching to Linux for a main OS and using xp on a dual boot for games.

    Rant over
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    Ah, Mrs. Peel! mike_w's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iranu
    Well balls to that Mr Blyth. I don't want fancy graphics and a resource hogging piece of bloatware. I want a clean, simple, intuative, stable, secure and bloody fast OS that doesn't limit me or force me to upgrade my perfectly good monitor with crap like DRM.
    Couldn't have put it better myself!

    Quote Originally Posted by iranu
    I'm seriously considering switching to Linux for a main OS and using xp on a dual boot for games.
    That's pretty much what I already do - and I'm more than happy with the arrangement

    I think that Microsoft seem to be missing the point with Vista right now... they are trying to make it fancier and shinier, thereby missing other critical parts e.g. the ability to run on slower computers!

    Of course, this is still speculation; as always, judgement is reserved for the final product.
    "Well, there was your Uncle Tiberius who died wrapped in cabbage leaves but we assumed that was a freak accident."

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    Bigger than Jesus Norky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iranu
    I'm seriously considering switching to Linux for a main OS and using xp on a dual boot for games.
    Heh! I got a new widescreen TFT the other day. I dragged an old Mesh box up to use as a VNC client for the second monitor as I don't have a dual output gfx card. As it stands now I'm using Ubuntu on the crappy old box more than my main Windows XP box (currently used only for games now). It's twice as fast, slicker and about 10x easier to perform normal tasks on (IM, email etc)!

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    I will run VISTA, as the industry will force us, the consumers to do this.

    The games, the apps will run under Vista may not run under XP

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    Moderator DavidM's Avatar
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    Many games run under Linux in one way or the other... I'm certainly getting more penguin friendly these days....

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    Seething Cauldron of Hatred TheAnimus's Avatar
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    Linux system running faster than the XP one?

    I find that shockingly hard to belive. The problem i find is that most of the MS bashers are actually clueless technically, i had one person here tell me that XP was bad for commiting the stuff in VM to page.... he thought that constantly keeping the abality to ditch data in RAM was bad. I can't comprehend the confusion that leads to those deductions.

    Xorg haven't produced anything tangible yet. X Windows is the major let down on a POSIX system replacing my windows box. I like windows. I can read RISC assembly by hex, or binary alone, this is posted from the host l3.3t.me.uk (as an ironic joke). I don't need the kudos to say linux is teh r0x0r.

    NT4 kicks the ass of any window manager i've ever seen, all the light, high speed ones. Simple reason, its designed to run on a standalone desktop, events aren't sent by socket.

    The suprise to me is that after spending ages trying to get linux to let me log in an use my main box from my lappy over wireless lan (so i could use the number crunching power of the desktop) it was SLOWER than using remote desktop.

    until X is better, its no desktop OS for me.

    As for vista, omfg, its going to need a DX9 gfx card. Wow, yes to speed up the shell they've decided to demand dx9 capability, if you can't buy a fully featured DX9 card for £25 when vista comes out, i'll change my tune.

    CPU speeds are going to plattow, people are realising that 64bit, dosen't actually help you surf the web faster. Dosen't help the spell checker run faster. Intel have shown that they are going for is a "whacks for whatts" thing. a P-M 2.0ghz, is far to fast as it is for most desktop work, a P-M 1.3 with 2meg cache makes windows (vista beta 1) fly. Thats with a 128meg M11 graphics card. 64bit is going to allow this massive memory mapped space of HD space, and user space. But nothing amazing?

    MS are trying to get a new slick user interface, mostly apple fan boys have been moaning about this, i for one turn alpha blending on menu's off. I prefer speed rather than animations.

    Iranu, have you actually read what the DRM restrictions are? What they apply too? thats right when you try to play something that DRM'd. How can you object to that?
    Think of standing in the electronics store, and the clerk saying this DVD player players all DVDs even DRM ones, this one dosen't play DRM ones. Which would you buy?

    I'm sorry to rant people, but it seams like this guy's said something with a buisness/poor hobbiest slant on it. Most buisness won't upgrade to vista until their feed does, what i mean by that, my parents, are still on office XP, we've a license (eopen) to use the latest 2003, but the 6th form college that provides most of the staff are still on XP, so we stay on XP. That is the main factor in most buisness's plans. The vast majority will cough up the money as soon as they need to upgrade to run the latest office programs.
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  9. #9
    smtkr
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    Forget about dual booting windows for games. You only need a Linux distro and a gaming console.

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    we'll see about that... alterion's Avatar
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    unless you want to play bf2. or hl2 today or a popular mmorpg.. or any other one of the great windows only pc games
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    MMORPG you mean like WOW that i'm playing on Suse 9.3 atm???

    Well yesterday I was playing HL2 with full details at 1600 x 1200 on my old p4 2.4C1 with 512Mb ram 2-3-3-6 and a geforce4 ti on Suse 9.3 and the frame rate was very playable. As I'm writing this in firefox 1.5 I'm also playing World Of Warcraft on the same box. Theres never a need for windows.... except when you have a difficult and confused manager.

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    Lovely chap dangel's Avatar
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    All MS are trying to do is get people running the really low spec stuff (and believe me, in large corporations there's a lot of OLD machinery) to move up in preparation. My 3.2gig P4 machine at work with an X600 card runs the _BETA_ of vista fine - worried I am not! Sure, corps won't all upgrade to it overnight (heck, five years on and still people are running win2k in vast numbers and that's gone past extended support) - so what?

    People often complain about new UI features - it's always a case of 'why do i need that?' - but ask yourself this, how many people use 'windows classic' (i.e. turn off themeing on WinXP) now? When XP came out people were all 'oohh it's wasting all my resources by looking pretty' and now people can't live with their old 'corporate grey' windows look anymore. I face exactly the same resistance to new UI ideas i implement in my product - and as long as they're not silly, they always come round to the idea and get used to it. The same is true of the new Office (12) - there's already people screaming about the fact it's got a new UI but it's brilliant IMHO.

    So you're going to need a reasonable amount of RAM (a meg sensibly speaking), a reasonable processor and a graphic card with some 3d capability and onboard ram of > 64meg (finding something with less now it's getting hard!). Big fat deal and i really don't care seeing as my work pc already exceeds that spec.

    What REALLY makes me sick (as has been mentioned) is people talking about this with complete ignorance, and as thought the product was shipping today. Why don't people reserve judgement until they've got some experience with at least a release candidate or even the final RTM product?

    From what i've seen, first hand, i'm looking forward to it - both from the POV of a developer and an end user. Even at this early stage it's actually _stable_ and packed with sensible improvements to the grass roots stuff like explorer which is going to make more of a difference to everyday use than pretty much anything else. Much of the new UI stuff (such as it is, it's completely unfinished) actually makes information much clearer to the user - that's a good thing!
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    mutantbass head Lee H's Avatar
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    You might not even have to upgrade your graphics as according to nvidia the following NVIDIA desktop GPUs are "Windows Vista Ready:"

    GeForce 7800 GTX GPUs
    GeForce 7800 GT GPUs
    GeForce 6800 GPUs
    GeForce 6600 GPUs
    GeForce 6200 GPUs
    GeForce FX 5900 GPUs
    GeForce FX 5700 GPUs
    GeForce FX 5600 GPUs
    GeForce FX 5200 GPUs
    GeForce PCX GPUs

    So... it might not be a "push" to upgrade after all

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    Moderator DavidM's Avatar
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    And at least 5200 PCI's are still available...

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    If your 5555... Swafe's Avatar
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    FX5200? There poo, thus, anyones card at the moment should be able to handle it
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    mutantbass head Lee H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swafe
    FX5200? There poo, thus, anyones card at the moment should be able to handle it
    Yeap... so it seems people are panicing over nothing at the moment.

    Hell - who knows what new gfx cards are out by that time next year anyway, no doubt everyone will have at least upgraded to something thats compliant.

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