The myth of the Vista upgrade

If you spend much time watching TV, you’ve probably seen one of the latest commercials in the factually-lacking series of the Mac vs PC commercials in which PC goes in for surgery.

First off, I’m not sure why people are expecting Vista to run on 5 year old computers. I don’t think anyone would try to install Windows XP on a 10 year old computer (we’re talking a 100mhz Pentium with 16-32 mb of RAM). Why do they expect Vista to run on a 5 year old computer? Because it’s fun to bitch at Microsoft.

Let’s look at some of the claims in the aforementioned commercial…

  • “Like a lot of PCs, I have to update my graphics card…”
    If you bought your computer in the last 3 years and didn’t get a graphics card that couldn’t handle Vista basic, you got ripped off. If you want the pretty 3D effects, you can buy a $50 video card. I ran Vista just fine on a three year old video card with all of the visual effects enabled.
  • “…my memory…”
    Yes, you may have to upgrade your memory.  Memory upgrades are, however, cheap and easy.  If you bought a computer in the last few years and didn’t get at least 512MB of RAM, then you should have spent the extra $20 to upgrade to it.  I’m pretty sure that Dell has been selling low-end computers with 512MB as the default for quite some time, though.  System memory is probably one of the cheapest things you can upgrade on your computer.
  • “If I want the premium package, a faster processor”
    To call this an exaggeration is being kind.  The minimum requirements for Vista premium is a 1Ghz processor.  Yes, you’ll probably want a faster processor than that, but they aren’t exactly hard to come by.  Seven years ago, Intel started their Pentium IV line with a 1.4Ghz processor.  If you find yourself with less than a 1Ghz processor, guess what? You need a new computer.

The good news is that, unlike with Apple computers, you are free to install, or have installed, any (Intel compatible) hardware you like.  Also, once you have this operating system, Microsoft won’t charge you $100 every time they put out a set of minor enhancements.

All that being said, try Linux.

That being said, I can’t switch to Linux.

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