Vista Premium requirements to steepen by June '07

— 5:27 PM on June 14, 2006

Earlier today, we learned that Windows Vista Premium Ready notebooks will begin requiring hybrid hard drives after a change in the Premium Ready specification next June. Now, DailyTech reports that the specification for all Vista Premium Ready PCs will see a number of other extensions come June 1, 2007.

Must have H.264 hardware decoding. Must have HDCP. Must support multi-monitor support. Must have HD audio. Must have HD audio jack presence detection. Must have Serial ATA 2.5. Must have minimum of 50MB NV cache on hybrid HD's with at least 8MB/sec write 16MB/sec read (for mobile only). Must support booting from USB flash drives. Must have Windows Vista Green Button on all remotes. Must have Green Driver Quality Rating (DQR)—Green score of 7 to 9; Yellow score of 4 to 6; Red score of 1 to 3.
These specs will presumably be added to Microsoft's current and much tamer Vista Premium Ready requirements, which include a 1 GHz processor, 1 GB of system RAM, and a Shader Model 2.0 graphics processor. It's interesting to see Microsoft planning to push such new technologies as requirements for high-end systems next year—the first hybrid hard drives aren't expected until January 2007, for instance, and HDCP support is only just beginning to show up in NVIDIA's desktop graphics cards.

Also interesting is the "Green Driver Quality Rating" requirement. According to DailyTech, Vista users will be able to vote on the quality of hardware drivers and contribute to a global rating for each driver. A "Green" rating of 7 to 9 will be required to pass Vista Premium Ready certification, and hardware manufacturers whose drivers fall below that range will have to provide updates to users within 90 days. Like DailyTech points out, it's not clear how this policy will be enforced, but it certainly sounds like a good idea on paper.

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