For the consumer with a high-end desktop PC in mind, that means looking for a system with the kind of features and performance that can handle the best that Vista has to offer.
Once Vista is released (in January 2007, according to Microsoft), there will be three versions available to U.S. consumers: Vista Home Basic, Vista Home Premium, and Vista Ultimate.
Vista Home Basic will be the default for budget PCs, just as Windows XP Home Edition is the standard bearer for home PCs these days.
Vista Premium, which will be the standard for mainstream and Media Center PCs, adds the much-vaunted Aero effects (including translucent windows, Flip 3D, and smooth moving windows), as well as HDTV and DVD authoring and mobile and tablet interfaces.
Vista Ultimate includes the features of Vista Home Premium, plus all the business-related features of Vista Business and Vista Enterprise.
It includes such high-end features as IIS, a built-in Web server, dual processor support, remote desktop capability, Virtual PC, game performance enhancements, and Podcast creation support, as well as special online services and tech support options.
For a system to qualify as simply "Vista-Capable," according to Microsoft, all it needs are an 800-Mhz processor, 512MB of system memory, and a DirectX 9-capable graphics processor—specs that are common even in "budget" (read: cheap) systems these days.