Home > Windows > Are You Ready For Vista Graphics? Are You Ready For Vista Graphics? Eugenia Loli 2006-11-03 Windows 55 Comments Windows Vista will offer varying levels of functionality depending on what kind of video card you have. When you upgrade, will your PC be up to the challenge? About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 55 Comments 2006-11-03 7:58 am Archangel My desktop would be well up to the challenge of running Vista. My wallet won’t be though, and nor am I up to the challenge of Vista’s license. I’m not sure I care for their claims of it being “scalable” though. As far as I can see, there are three options: – Aero, which has everything on and huge requirements – Basic, which looks like any other modern operating system – Classic, which looks like Windows 95 I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the hardest bit about Aero is the blurry glass – it’s the only thing in Beryl that doesn’t work on my laptop. I wonder if a tier just below Aero with most of the effects but no blurriness might be much more accessible and look nearly as good… I imagine Microsoft thought of this and have decided not to though – I suspect they want motivation for people to stump up the prices they’re asking. And hey, fair enough, capitalism encourages them to charge as much as they think the market will bear… 2006-11-03 1:01 pm helf Its Aero Glass with that ‘huge’ requirements.. And I wouldnt really call using 50mb of extra RAM and a directX9 video card (50 bucks on newegg) huge requirements… 2006-11-03 1:03 pm dylansmrjones You do realize you can have an entire modern Desktop OS within 50 MB of RAM? 2006-11-03 1:11 pm helf true Xp on my tower uses 56mb of ram (According to taskamanger…) on bootup Havent looked to see how much openbsd uses…. 2006-11-03 4:55 pm tomcat Not one which does full desktop compositing with shaders, effects, etc. 2006-11-03 6:03 pm dylansmrjones Shaders, effects are however irrelevant for a Desktop OS. Check out the submission “why software sucks”. Any OS that hypes 3D compositing on the desktop can be certain to be an architectural disaster. It’s fancy alright, but it still can’t handle drag’n’drop on the printer correct yet (equally true for all three main stream OS’es)… but we have transparency. Talk about wrong priorities. 2006-11-03 6:56 pm helf its really amazing some of the, you’d think, simpler functionalities that have yet to be implemented into current OSes that older OSes mightve had… Gotta look good though! 2006-11-03 7:25 pm dylansmrjones Exactly. When I look at an old version of AmigaOS or OS/2 2.x (early 90’es) or BeOS and compare with OS X, Windows, Gnome/KDE it’s really amazing how bloated “modern” OS’es are and how little functionality they actually have. However, it _can_ be amended. I just begun reworking on my old maildaemon project for Windows. Who knows, we might have a BeOS-like solution for Windows within few months (no matter what I’ll be that much wiser in a few months). Remember, if everything is a file, and a file is an object, then a mail must be a file and an object. And a contact could be just that, a file and an object, leading to the address book being nothing but a folder. Deleting and creating mails and contacts could be done through the file manager – instead of having to load a bloated app (for the mails at least) or a dysfunctional address book (in Windows). 2006-11-03 7:55 pm helf that would be so nice. speaking of OSX, they removed the tear off menus thats NS/OS and rhapsody had! why? Early versions of OSX could be hacked to reenable them, but I think the newest versions cant be. I may be wrong… But why remove functionality that suseful like that? it boggles the mind. 2006-11-03 8:53 pm dylansmrjones I don’t know why. I like them (GNUstep is so nice – everytime I reach the point where I just hate Gnome I fall back on GNUstep – and it’s a pleasure everytime. It’s just not completely ready yet). I do have the mailfetchservice finished for Windows. But no configuration tools, and XMLReader keeps teasing me… I probably need some coffee or cappucino. Or another Christmas Brew (J-DAG today in Denmark (the day the Christmas Brew is released officially)). 2006-11-03 8:54 pm dylansmrjones EDIT: You’re right. It boggles the mind why they remove very useful functionality. Perhaps it has something to do with marketing? (Just a guess – could be related to how things worked in OS Classic, and they wanted to keep it that way?) 2006-11-03 7:58 pm tomcat Shaders, effects are however irrelevant for a Desktop OS. Huh? Uh, okay. You said it. I don’t buy it for a second — but you have a right to your opinion. It’s fancy alright, but it still can’t handle drag’n’drop on the printer correct yet (equally true for all three main stream OS’es)… but we have transparency. So what. That’s your anecdotal scenario. I simply have no use for your scenario. Talk about wrong priorities. Balanced against what alternative priorities? Vista contains tons of changes that are wholly additional to Aero: LUA, Search, Sidebar, IE7, DVD Maker, WMP11, Speech Recognition, Enhanced ClearType, Windows Mail/Calendar, Photo Gallery, etc. 2006-11-03 8:50 pm dylansmrjones Of course you have no use for my scenario. You don’t know how the desktop is supposed to work, but merely accepts the limitations in the flawed mainstream OS’es. You would however need it, if you knew how it worked from actually having tried the solution. The reason why you don’t drag files to the printer is because it doesn’t work right in Windows, OS X and Gnome/KDE. If it worked right, you’d use it. And couldn’t live without it. DVD Maker -> irrelevant. So many solutions already exists that is merely bloats the system. Photo Gallery -> the same. WMP11 -> the same. Windows Mail/Calendar -> the same. Speech Recognition -> now, that’s a good one – if it at least worked properly. If you want something real, buy a professional version. Enhanced ClearType -> now, that’s reasonable – no use if you cannot read the fonts (can be difficult on some LCD-monitors without ClearType). Sidebar -> irrelevant. All which is needed is a start bar allowing for applets. Not a sidebar AND a startbar… bloat. Search -> already there. Little improvement with Vista. The difference is good enough though, since it makes it easier to utilize indexing with Windows. But it was available already in NT4. (People just don’t know. And yes, Microsoft was way ahead of competition.) IE7 -> heh… already here… since it is released for XP and Win2K3 it isn’t a plus for Vista. No difference on the browser situation. Please explain what makes shaders and effects relevant for writing a document or opening notepad, or playing a video. I fail to see what it can bring. 2006-11-03 8:08 am postmodern Are you ready for the hype to stop? Well I am, release the OS already and stop talking it up. It’s not like this is entirely new information either, that we haven’t already read at least four times before. 2006-11-03 8:08 am agentj I have Athlon XP Mobile 2500+, 512MB RAM and SiS 740 (32 MB shared RAM), 40GB HDD. I tried Vista RC2 on it, and it works perfectly (well, except sound – sis7012 – even drivers from windows update don’t work, and DHCP client with WiFi didn’t work for me). Nothing crashes or slows down. Of couses it runs Basic interface, but IMO it’s good for the everyday OS use – 3D app switching is just resource eating toy. Transparent windows are IMO useless, too – I have never seen anyone use it. IMHO there’s no need to buy the latest hardware. 2006-11-03 8:54 am vlado No. 2006-11-03 8:58 am WorknMan I’ve got a video card that’s more the capable of running Aero. However, between Aero, Basic, and Classic, I plan to switch to whatever runs the fastest and leave it there. If it does anything to slow down my machine without increasing productivity at the same time, I’m just not interested. IMHO, people make way too much of a big deal about the eye candy. It’s like if the interface doesn’t make you cream in your shorts the first time you look at it, suddenly the entire machine just isn’t worth using. Some people spend more time screwing with and customizing the interface than they do actually using the computer. Insane. 2006-11-03 3:14 pm eosp I’ve used Aero, it’s actually quite fast. Sure, it was on a 3.8 GHz Athlon64 with 2GB RAM, but still. 2006-11-03 4:29 pm jo42 > I’ve used Aero, it’s actually quite fast. Sure, it was on a 3.8 GHz Athlon64 with 2GB RAM, but still. Try Vista on a 2.2GHz P4 with 512MB and an ATI Rage 128 Pro. Performance sucks. 2006-11-03 9:00 am evert It’s a pity that no directx 10 GPU’s are yet available. Vista prefers directx 10 but will fall back to directx 9 for all current graphic cards. 2006-11-03 12:07 pm n4cer NVIDIA will be releasing their first DX 10 GPU this month. The main difference from DX 9 GPUs in relation to Vista (Aero) is mainly efficiency improvements — preemption, memory management, full hardware acceleration of some elements that are only partially accelerated under DX 9 (Cleartype). 2006-11-03 1:59 pm evert Thanx. I’m planning to buy a new computer and I will wait for the new nvidia DX10 card. (Maybe ATI will soon have one too, but I need good Linux support.) 2006-11-03 9:05 am Darkelve Hell, I’m not even ready for Vista! 2006-11-03 9:11 am dean_fry well I have a Samsung X20 with ATI x600 in it…that means NO Aero for me! How stupid is this??? My notebook is just about a year and a half old…why do they force us to use pixel shader 3.0? I like eye-candies so I’m either going to try aiglx + beryl on linux or if I really decide to get a new notebook…it will be a macbook. Hasta la Vista…Vista :o) 2006-11-03 12:14 pm n4cer Shader Model 2.0, not 3.0, is the requirement. The x600 is listed on ATI’s site as supported under the WDDM driver model. 2006-11-03 10:11 am jokinin Vista is requiring a 128MB DX9 graphics card to do the same thing that can be done with an integrated DX6 graphics with Linux and XGL? Oh well… 2006-11-03 12:15 pm n4cer A DX9 GPU w/ 64MB is the minimum supported requirement for Glass, not 128MB. 2006-11-03 1:36 pm drahca Oh well.. guess what, XGL is a hack and you really should read up on the new features Vista has that actually require and make good use of a DX9 class card with 128MB of memory. (64MB is the actual requirement for Aero btw) Maybe you should check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Presentation_Foundation for what WPF actually offers compared to XGL. It will take X.org a long time to match features such as rendering text on the GPU using shaders (since XRender has no concept of what a shader is). Even OSX does not do this by default at the moment. I am no Windows fanboy and am writing this on a laptop running Ubuntu, but this site is for OS enthousiasts to discuss new and exciting OS features, and I am seeing to many Linux fanboys nowadays bashing Windows (or OSX for that matter) without actually reading up on what Vista has to offer compared to XP. 2006-11-03 2:10 pm Ford Prefect Well, at least XRender indeed provides rendering fonts with GL, as XRender under XGL is implemented using GL. But you’re right in that this doesn’t go as far as the model of Vista w/ DX 10 does, like it is described at Wikipedia. So, although Xorg finally catched up with XP, it isn’t yet to beat Vista graphics. But this is nothing unexpected. X development was very slow in the last decade. Seeing how fast its progress runs these days, I wouldn’t claim “It will take X.org a long time” anymore… 2006-11-03 10:12 am thavith_osn …the Alt-Tab windows flipping thing… Is that the dumbest thing? It’s really really funny when you see how it will be implemented in Vista Basic too, had a great laugh… MS flogs all the other good ideas from Apple, why not implement expose? Expose works. I’ve used both and just don’t get Vista’s implementation… You can’t see what is on the other screens that well becuase most of the window is hidden… In basic mode it’s just silly, slightly better than Ctrl-Tab… 2006-11-03 5:12 pm tomcat Is that the dumbest thing? It’s really really funny when you see how it will be implemented in Vista Basic too, had a great laugh… Why? When I looked at Basic, Vista showed the usual Alt-Tab pop-up window — except that it displayed a thumbnail of window contents rather than an icon. 2006-11-03 10:27 am dnstest I run XP-64 on my personal machine, 2000 Pro on my business machine, and 2003 Server on my file/web/mail server. For what I do, Aero is worthless, along with half the Vista features that I would end up disabling if I end up using it. Given the EULA issues, DRM capabilities, the retarded multiple editions, the Internet spyware-like integration and ridiculous annoying popup reminders/dialogs, I think Vista represents the end of the line for me. I will stick with legacy Windows for now, partly because some of my business and POS programs require me to. But I will most likely convert my personal system to either BSD or Linux. I need to force myself to learn *nix fluently anyway. MS is leaving the traditional Win16/32 API model, in favor of a semi-Java-like run-time managed code environment (.NET). At the same time they are leaving the last of the legacy Windows NT system by replacing the DOS-like Windows NT Command Interpeter with PowerShell (or whatever they are calling it now). AM64-compiled Windows NT (5 & 6) only runs Win32, Win64 and .NET (out of the box). Not a lot of people will miss the 16-bit support, but my point is this is the first time MS has begun breaking apart and replacing the DOS/Win16 legacy system that they built upon for two decades. The evolution of Windows is not a bad thing, in fact it is necessary. However, I feel that moving to totally new APIs and breaking the DOS system gives alternatives at least a chance of gaining some marketshare. I think of specialized POS system vendors as potential Windows defectors. Some have moved to .NET, some use Win32, and still others use Windows-based proprietary/DOS-era software. For those POS providers with traditonal Win32 and proprietary software (many having their own DOS-era window managers), the move to .NET might not be the best choice (moving to .NET requires what essentially amounts to a total re-write). Selling their proprietary software running on a free OS, an OS without the MS EULA and $$price, might begin to look like a real opportunity. Microsoft cannot hold their near-monopoly forever. They have so many enemies, not to mention market trends going against their traditional Windows model, that once alternatives become viable, it is only a matter of HOW MANY will jump ship. 2006-11-03 12:51 pm felipe_alfaro I run Ubuntu Edgy on my MacBook Pro, Mac OS X on my PowerBook G4 17″ and PowerBook G4 12″, Ubuntu Edgy+Beryl+AIGLX on my main workstation (with a Vista look n’feel), FreeBSD on my file server and OpenBSD on one of my firewalls. I can struggle all the performance out of my machines by not running Windows and I don’t have to pay a single penny for an overhyped, overmarketed, overspoken product. Linux (and to less extent, Mac OS X) do have really nice eye candy effects. In fact, Vista Aero effects look rather pathetic when compared to Beryl using gaussian blur, motion blur, cubic desktop, translucency and expose-like effects. This is how Ubuntu Edgy with AIGLX and Beryl can look like: http://felipe-alfaro.org/blog/2006/11/01/ubuntu-edgy-aiglx-y-beryl/ 2006-11-03 1:53 pm jbauer I’m a Linux user myself, but please spare us the Ubuntu/Beryl/Compiz propaganda, it’s really getting tiring. This is a Windows thread, you know. 2006-11-03 5:10 pm tomcat What EULA issues, exactly? MS agreed to suspend provisions which only allowed one machine-to-machine transfer. 2006-11-03 10:41 am axilmar For of all, translucency in GUIs are a problem for me. I want my GUIs uncluttered, and translucent surfaces add visual noise. Shadows of windows, on the other hand, is quite important, because it allows to see overlapped windows easier than when no shadows are present. But do we really need giga video cards to do such a simple fx? have Windows programmers become so lazy? It’s dead simple to do shadows for windows: all you need is to ‘virtually extend’ the window region to include the shadow, and draw a solid bitmap on it with alpha blending when the background changes. It is so simple, then even many allegro GUI libraries do it. 2006-11-03 5:02 pm tomcat For of all, translucency in GUIs are a problem for me. I want my GUIs uncluttered, and translucent surfaces add visual noise. So run Basic. You have a choice. Problem solved. 2006-11-03 10:45 am Mellin no not at all 2006-11-03 11:17 am camo r in hardware anyways. Don’t really care how *nix handles graphics on old hardware or if vista won’t look good on x year cards. Getting tired of hanging on to old stuff using the same tired excuses “it works with XY or Z so why change?” If Vista needs this much power to look good, imagine what linux can achieve with the same juice? 2006-11-03 11:57 am PunchCardGuy I agree with the last post. A lot of folks seem to like to talk about the fact that linux can run on older hardware better than the latest Win versions. Why is there so little discussion about running Linux on current mid-range hardware – hardware that should have no problems supporting Vista? I am thinking that Linux should scream on such hardware, particularly those distributions that are optimized for later CPU generations (like Arch is built for i686). One issue that I have personally had with Linux in the past is that on the desktop, applications didn’t feel as smooth and integrated as they have on Win. I haven’t played too much with Linux lately, lacking the time, but I am thinking that with the growing maturity of the various GUIs out there, along with compositing solutions like AIGLX/Beryl, that Linux should be able to hold its own much better now and be a serious alternative to Vista. I for one have problems with their EULA, and feel that I am now forced to seriously investigate alternaive OSs. 2006-11-03 12:42 pm felipe_alfaro http://felipe-alfaro.org/blog/2006/11/01/ubuntu-edgy-aiglx-y-beryl/ and it looks like Windows Vista 🙂 2006-11-03 2:14 pm hyper what a shitty ripoff :] you do not have any shame if you post this here… 2006-11-03 1:00 pm helf on a lark, I installed Vista beta 2 on my system.. its a p3 1ghz tualatin wtih 512mb of ram and a pci nvidia fx5500 … Vista with Aero Glass ran fine. Ran just as smooth as Ubuntu with xgl. Course it was using like 300mb of ram on bootup I really wish there was a ‘Classic’ theme that looked like windows 2k that was harwdare accellerated. That would have been SOOOO nice. When I had xgl on my tower, I had all the fancy crap turned off… it was so smooth… Edited 2006-11-03 13:06 2006-11-03 1:02 pm dylansmrjones My machine is ready for the Ultimate edition. But I won’t up/downgrade to Vista. I’m waiting for Win2K3 Server SP2. But the machine is ready, even though the requirements for Vista are horrendous and embarrasing. EDIT: Fixed a typo. Edited 2006-11-03 13:05 2006-11-03 1:32 pm Buck Heh. It seems my G4 mini isn’t ready for Vista graphics, but it’s more than ready for Leopard’s. Talk about long-term investment. 2006-11-03 1:58 pm ronaldst YES! GeForce 6600GT with 128megs. 2006-11-03 2:37 pm pupdawg I started doing small up-grades to my system months ago and they were fairly cheap to do… the video card was $99 CAN this is a $400 system with some upgrades made by me. My Vista experiance rating is 4.1 and everything is smooth as silk using build 5744 and RTM should be even smoother. AMD 3200+ SSE3 1GB DDR2 Ram 300GB HD 7200 16MB Buffer 120GB HD 7200 8MB Buffer ATI x1600 Pro 512MB GDDR2 2006-11-03 3:03 pm raver31 If Microsoft cannot make a system that runs sweet on that set-up, you had better look elsewhere for an OS, otherwise you will have wasted your money for a slow machine. 2006-11-03 4:07 pm roger64 yes, I pray God every morning, I hope I will be up to this wonderful challenge… 2006-11-03 5:07 pm tomcat According to NewEgg.com … 1GB of memory is less than $100 now. A good DX9/10 video card can be had for $50. By the time that most people upgrade to Vista, these prices will be even lower. Hardware requirements are always advancing. They don’t retreat. And, given the meager costs involved here, what’s the point of complaining? 2006-11-03 7:33 pm dylansmrjones The point is: The more resources I get the more the OS swallows without giving me ANY functionality at all for that cost. An OS using fewer resources gives me more resources for the other apps, leading to faster video editing, image editing and other such things I need to do. The OS it self shouldn’t require more resources than what OS/2 4.x can run in (e.g. easily runnable in 64 MB of RAM – if the OS needs more than that to basic stuff, the OS sucks). Let’s face it. The basic OS-tasks have been unchanged for the last 15 years, and apart from more colors in the icons and need for more video ram due to higher resolutions there’s nothing that can make the extreme increase in Resource Usage look reasonable. The fancy graphics is merely a minor part, but none the less evidence that the system isn’t good. If it was written properly it would be capable of doing the same _without_ utilizing the GPU. Utilizing the GPU isn’t innovative but merely a work-around for sloppy coding. 2006-11-04 12:37 am flywheel It is still outragous requirements, that in return actually gives you nothing. 2006-11-03 9:37 pm nexex The article states: DirectX was designed to make life easier for software developers by providing a standard platform developers could use to easily make multimedia software and game programming for the Windows Platform. That may be true now, but I believe it was originally created to kill SGI. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_graphics_API This is of course has nothing to do with Vista, but I don’t think that history should be forgotten. 2006-11-03 11:27 pm n4cer When the Fahrenheit project started, OpenGL had only recently become an API usable for PC games, and was mainly used with expensive GPUs for business applications (and this is why it was in NT, MS’ business OS, in the first place). DirectX had been used in games along with proprietary APIs from various GPU vendors. GLQuake came out the same year that work on the Fahrenheit project began and was basically a proof of concept because John Carmack wasn’t satisfied with writing to multiple GPU vendor APIs. The 3dfx Voodoo Graphics was basically the only PC GPU that could run it well, and long after GLQuake’s release, GPU vendors were trying to get miniGL drivers working. SGI didn’t need any direct help from MS to lose marketshare. The constant performance improvements to PCs virtually killed SGI along with a lot of their talent starting or joining PC GPU companies. As with proprietary Unix in general, people that used to require expensive, high-end systems started looking at the PC as a cheaper alternative. 2006-11-04 7:23 am the__dude Considering that graphics cards can get rather pricy, I welcome the idea of putting it to good use when I’m not running games. Might as well get as much use out of it as possible!