Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Why Vista is NOT your most urgent upgrade

All the recent noise about how bad is that Microsoft has pushed back Vista a few months is mostly missing a few important points:

- so far it seems that major and visible advantages will only be available for people running on rather recent configurations - I dare saying 512 MB RAM is required and 1GB is recommended, over 1-1.5 GHz Pentium M or Athlon64 or over 2 GHz P4, and for the new composition model and Aero interface most likely a video card with at least 128-256 MB video RAM and with certain features that I suspect will place the "entry level" quite high ... (but probably not higher than OSX does);

- some of the other "advantages" might be related to things like DRM content - which I suspect only few people are really missing - and new formats - like HD-DVD and Blu-ray - which just as I was predicting are not going to be so hot this year anyway...

- most people with an existing lower configuration will probably be much better with their current XP (or even 2000 in certain conditions); of course that the 95/98/ME should rather only be used for a machine that is never connected to the internet and that has such low resources that Windows2000 is not an option; Linux might also be an option but for a friendly GUI it might need more RAM than usually available on such old machines;

- the major drawback is if for some reason you want to buy a new computer during this year - obviously the first choice would be to wait until the next year and get a configuration with Vista preinstalled - but if you MUST get it before that you only have a few suboptimal solutions - like either getting a configuration with XP but with enough power for Vista and buy an upgrade at a later time OR ...

- just go with a low-cost configuration and use it like that for a number of years - XP is not going away anytime soon and with the correct configuration (including Firefox if you must browse unknown sites) you should be just fine for at least a few years - there is no major hurry to jump and pay another Microsoft tax just since the M$ commercials are telling you that!

- the fact that Apple is getting a new version of OSX every year only means that OSX was in a very pathetic state and that only around 10.3 became acceptable and with 10.4 is usable (but will still probably need another version to get to the same level of business usability as a correctly configured XP - which is just fine for the macfans since they just love throwing away money at Apple for the latest piece of eye-candy);

- so far there is one segment where the future of Vista is still in a very unclear state - and that is the thin-and-light notebooks - as far as I can say there is no ultra low voltage CoreDuo yet (and the low-voltage models are only very few and not so impressive) and what is worse - the Intel integrated video solutions used by 99% of those ultralight notebooks will NOT be able to use Aero ... so at least for that segment any delay is just welcome!

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