By John G. Spooner  |  Posted 2006-05-17 Print this article Print

The bulk of PCs sold at retail and purchased by businesses use integrated graphics. But only the fairly recent integrated graphics chip sets for desktops and notebooks are capable of meeting all of the Premium Ready requirements—ATI Technologies Radeon Xpress 200, which is popular with consumer systems, and Intels 945, used widely among businesses both meet the minimums, their manufacturers say—meaning some systems may not be Premium Ready as they stand.
Some can be updated with discrete graphics cards, however. Just about any discrete graphics processor dating back over the past two or three years will meet the Premium Ready requirements, graphics chip makers ATI and Nvidia have said.
That also means that PCs purchased from the factory with a graphics card should also be able to leap the Premium Ready hurdles. But Microsoft is assuming that most consumers and even IT managers arent going to want to take the time to dig into their PCs hardware to determine its Vista readiness. Thats where the software makers Get Ready Web site will come in. The Get Ready site, a part of the Microsofts site for providing information about the OS and its various versions of Vista, will offer a beta version of an application called Upgrade Advisor, sources familiar with Microsofts plans said. The application can be run on a PC that an individual is considering upgrading with Vista, and it will render advice on what the machine might need to get ready, the sources said. For its part, Gartner has suggested that corporate buyers specify, at a minimum, that their desktops include the 945G chip set, a Pentium 4 processor and at least 1GB of RAM, while notebooks start with a Core Duo processor, the 945GM chip set and 1GB of RAM. Technology-minded buyers looking for greater performance, particularly in notebooks, should look at stepping up to 2GB of RAM and a discrete graphics chip, the firm said. A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment for this story. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

John G. Spooner John G. Spooner, a senior writer for eWeek, chronicles the PC industry, in addition to covering semiconductors and, on occasion, automotive technology. Prior to joining eWeek in 2005, Mr. Spooner spent more than four years as a staff writer for CNET, where he covered computer hardware. He has also worked as a staff writer for ZDNET News.

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