Australian Microsoft strategist raises eyebrows with Vista hardware requirements

Queensland (Australia) - A Microsoft strategist told attendees of the TechEd 2005 conference on the Gold Coast last week that Windows Vista's new display driver model may compel users to upgrade to a PC with 2 GByte of DDR3 SDRAM and a graphics card with at least 256 MByte memory, according to Australian PC enthusiast publication APC Magazine .

In a transcript reportedly taken from TechEd, Nigel Page, a strategist with Microsoft Australia, told a small crowd gathered at his presentation that Vista's new Longhorn Display Driver Model (LDDM) will replace the existing GDI display model with a mostly 3D vector-graphics system. Such a system is known to be in the works. This system, reads the transcript, will require more work from the graphics processing unit (GPU) and, as a result, a faster bi-directional bus with the CPU.

To accomplish this, the transcript quotes Page as stating, "The GPU will need a plenty of room to operate in Vista. The more memory you put on a video card, the better, really. We want the least dumping back to main memory because that's slower than graphics. If you have 128 MByte, that's good; if you have 256 MByte, that's better; but I expect that video card memory will go up a lot when Longhorn is released."

As for system RAM, Page reportedly said, 512 MByte is "heaps" for a 32-bit system. For a 64-bit system, however, "you're going to want 2 gigs of DDR3 RAM." The transcript states that Page explained 64-bit users will need to double their memory because units of memory are naturally double the size. "If you try to make do with what you've got," the transcript adds, "you'll see less performance. But RAM is now so cheap, it's hardly an issue."

What might become an issue - though Page apparently didn't mention it - is that low-voltage DDR3 technology is at least 8 to 10 months away from sampling and at least 16 months away from commercial availability,