Finally someone asks the correct question about Microsoft's new Vista OS. It's not "How well does it work?" It should be: "How well will it work on the musty old rig I'm going to try to run it on?" Arstechnica does us all a favor and tests Vista on three different computers, including "Momma's five year old workhorse."
The Vista train is running full steam to its release date on November 30 to businesses and January 30, 2007 to store shelves. Is Vista really ready? That depends on what it will be ready for. We expect that the biggest headache for users will be so-called in-place upgrades. While Vista was reasonable on all the machines where we performed a clean install, it was an absolute mess on the machine upgraded from XP, and this problem has been noted by others. Of course, by the time Vista upgrades are in the retail channel, Microsoft hopes to have more third-party support for drivers. OEMs picking up Vista later this month will have the benefit of hand-selecting their hardware.
So what type of hardware should be good for Vista? At this point with a clean install, we can recommend any of the tested systems for basic usage. All of the them can run the basic Aero interface and any of the packaged programs at a decent clip. For a great experience, we would pack all of the systems with at least 1GB of RAM. We make the same recommendation for XP today.