Like the rest of you, I was expecting Vista to be a pretty resource hungry OS. When I tried a Beta version, I loaded it into my powerhouse - a 3GHz, 2GB RAM Pentium 4 Monster, with Geforce 6800 256MB graphics. I did not even think to try running it on anything lesser. And when it came to getting a Vista running laptop on the go, I was pretty much considering buying a brand new Core Duo based system, with snazzy graphics to ensure that Vista's Aero Glass was running without any problems.
Imagine my surprise to discover that the minimum requirements a PC will need to run Vista according to Microsoft are fairly modest - it seems that a an 800MHz processor, 512MB of system memory, a DirectX 9 capable graphics card, a 40GB hard drive with at least 15GB of free space and a DVD drive will do the trick. Even a "Vista Premium Ready" PC is not the powerhouse we imagined it would be - Microsoft says that is a 1GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor, 1GB of RAM and a graphics card with 128MB of onboard memory capable of supporting Windows Aero2. Well, I never.
As far as graphics go, running Aero will require a DirectX 9-class graphics processor that supports WDDM, Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware, 32 bits per pixel, and 64MB of graphics memory. I'd imagined some 256MB state of the art card as being the only option.
This news is likely to annoy AMD and Intel, who were probably hoping that folks all over the place would be shelling out cash to buy new chips and whole machines to run the next generation OS on, but it appears that that old hardware still has some mileage left in it yet.