Microsoft's new operating system, Vista, which is due to go on widespread release in early 2007 will make huge demands of your computer's graphics capabilities.
The term 'Aero Glass' may not mean much to a lot of you at the moment but it is the name that defines the new (less violent) world of graphics.
It is the 3D front end for Windows Vista, Microsoft's new operating system, which is due next year.
This allows the windows to be transparent and you can move them around in a 3D environment.
However, the not so good news is that not everyone will have a PC that will be compatible.
A lot of people buy PCs that do not have a separate and discrete graphics card. They have something called integrated graphics, which is basically built into their motherboard and controlled by the main processor via a small chip.
Typically today you may buy an Intel PC that has graphics built in, or 'on board' as it's often called. That's where the questionable part may be - it may or may not work with Aero Glass, most likely not.
Windows Vista turns up the graphic environment a few notches and as a result, demands much more of your computer's resources.
A Windows Vista Capable PC to run only the basic version of Vista must include at least:
- A modern processor (at least 800MHz)
- 512 MB of system memory
- A graphics processor that is DirectX 9 capable
To be able to run Windows Vista Premium, your computer will need at least:
- 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
- 1 GB of system memory
- A graphics processor that runs Windows Aero
- 128 MB of graphics memory
- 40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space
- DVD-ROM Drive
- Audio output capability
- Internet access capability
Should you wish to watch TV you will need a minimum of 1Gb of system memory to run Windows Media Center, not to mention a compatible tuner card.
So what versions of Windows Vista will be available?
- Windows Vista Business - for small to medium (SME) business users
- Windows Vista Home Basic - the minimum Vista spec for basic users
- Windows Vista Home Premium - the more advanced and new featured Vista
- Windows Vista Ultimate - the best of business and home entertainment features
Does your computer currently have the basic requirements for Vista? Luckily, Microsoft has a useful little gizmo, called the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor (beta), that you can download to scan your system and tell you what version of Vista your system is capable of handling (if any).
One thing is for sure - the PC is about to get as much of a major overhaul as the Windows operating system.
J Fox is a webmaster running a number of sites including those outlining broadband providers in the uk.