When Windows Vista ships at the end of 2006, it may not run on the cut-rate PCs sold by Dell, Gateway and other companies. Gene Steinberg, in his latest column at The Mac Night Owl, notes that Vistais current requirements call for a non-integrated graphics card with 64MB video RAM and support for DirectX 9, which rules out many of those cheap US$400 and $500 systems, as well as Windows laptops released before this year.
Macs, including the Mac mini, all sport separate graphics cards. Low-end PCs typically use integrated graphics that require video RAM to be shared with system RAM, thus hampering performance when the computer is used for hardware-intensive tasks such as playing certain games or editing digital video.
Mr. Steinberg notes that Windows Vista "will represent a huge leap in performance, stability and security," but the downside may be that Windows users will have to trade up to more expensive computers if they want to run it. Of course, his speculation is based on the talk surrounding the release of the first Beta, so those requirements could change by the end of 2006.
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen how Apple will compete with Vista when Steve Jobs unveils Mac OS X v10.5 "Leopard" next summer; the new OS should ship around the same time as its competition. Mr. Steinberg reminds his readers that "the first batch of MacIntels will be in the stores this time next year. If [the Windows users you know] are going to need a new PC anyway, shouldnit it come with an Apple logo on it?"