Will Your PC Be Ready for Longhorn?

Microsoft isn't offering up many concrete specs for Longhorn PCs. But company officials are making some strong "suggestions" as to what PC makers should be providing.

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SEATTLE—Although Longhorn isnt slated to be available until "holiday 2006," some PC users are already wondering what kinds of PCs will be able to run the next version of Windows.

Microsoft Corp. officials at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, or WinHEC, here this week attempted to provide some answers, though they were vague.

In the past, Microsoft used WinHEC to deliver a very detailed set of hardware reference specs to the OEMs who attend the event so that they could build new PCs that would be able to run whichever version of Windows was on tap.

At last years WinHEC, developer sources said that Microsoft was going to recommend the "average" Longhorn PC feature a dual-core CPU running at 4 to 6GHz; a minimum of 2GB of RAM; up to a terabyte of storage; a 1GB built-in, Ethernet-wired port and an 802.11g wireless link; and a graphics processor that runs three times faster than those on the market.

Microsoft declined to comment on the rumored specs and never went public with any recommended Longhorn specs at last years show.

This year at WinHEC, Microsoft offered up only the most basic of guidelines as to what PC makers should do to make their PCs "Longhorn-ready." During a session at this weeks show, Mark Croft, a group product manager in the Windows product management group, told PC makers that most existing mainstream 32- and 64-bit CPUs from mainstream manufacturers should run Longhorn.

While dual-core CPUs will run Longhorn better, "Longhorn does run on mainstream processors," Croft said.

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