Microsoft has released Windows Vista in six editions, they include: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate. Each SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) has specific features targeting a melting pot of users, from emerging markets, enterprise customers to life style computer users. Some of the features include, improved Search, wireless/networking and authentication, collaboration, improved security, enhanced multimedia, improved group policy editor, file management, 64-bit computing and support for some of the latest hardware on the market. Actually, if you were to separate platform and SKU’s then add them up; Vista would total to a whopping thirteen flavors’, seventeen if you count in the “N” Editions available only in the European Union.
The system requirements for Windows Vista are in some ways welcome and difficult to comprehend especially for someone who might be coming from a P3 1GHz with 64 MBs of video memory. Performance will ultimately depend on your system specifications, the two main hardware components that matter the most to Windows Vista are RAM and Graphics memory. Microsoft has recommended that a Vista capable system should have the following: an 800 MHz processor (or better), 512 MBs of RAM (minimum recommended) or more (Vista handles up to 128 GBs of RAM maximum depending on the edition’s and platform) and 15 GB’s of free hard disk space. As for Graphics memory, your satisfaction will depend on your desire, whether you want the new Windows Aero theme or settle for one of the less graphically intense options such as the familiar Windows Classic or stripped down Windows Aero Basic. Windows Aero, which is the ultimate experience, requires a minimum of 64 MBs of video RAM, a Direct X 9 compatible card or 1 GB of dual channel RAM required if you are using onboard graphics. Of course, if you want the best performance and experience, a dedicated graphics card is recommended, 128 MBs or “higher”. My nVidia Geforce FX 5200 (128 MB AGP) card although old by today’s standard run’s the Aero visuals, but I don’t get the full experience in some areas. When I ran Slide Show from the Pictures folder or Photo Gallery my photos were shown in Basic mode instead of using the new Slide Show Theme’s.
I did a search in Vista’s Help and Support to find out why my system is not getting the slide effects, turns out it was my Windows Experience Index score which got a lousy 2.0. The other Windows themes (Classic and Aero Basic) are in the same category with Windows XP and will run just fine with onboard graphics or slower cards.
“In order to see your slide show with high-quality visuals (including themes and transitions), you need to have a subscore of 3.0 for the Graphics category in the Windows Experience Index. Some themes also require your computer’s graphics card to have a feature called Vertex Shader 2.0. To take advantage of all slide show capabilities, you might need to upgrade to a more powerful graphics card."
Windows Vista Help and Support
To learn more about system requirements for Windows Vista click here
It will be interesting to see how this affects consumer-buying decisions when the time to purchase a new PC arrives. Of course, not all Windows Vista Editions utilize Windows Aero; these include Starter Edition and Home Basic, which are considered to be introductory versions of the OS targeting emerging markets, first time PC buyers and one PC homes with basic needs.
Pricing & Versions
Starter Edition - Only available on new computers in emerging markets such as Asia, Mexico, Africa and others. Starter edition supports computers running low end requirements such as a minimum 256 MBs of RAM, 1024 by 768 resolution, AMD Sempron and Intel Celeron based processors, and uses the Windows Aero Basic theme as the default UI. Windows AERO Glass is not available in this edition.
Learn more here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/versions/default.mspx
Windows Vista is available in a number of different flavors, here is the full line up: