"Windows Vista provides the best possible user experience allowed by the graphics capabilities of each computer," a Microsoft spokeswoman said in an e-mail to Ziff Davis Internet. "As graphics support is still being finalized, customers who plan to purchase new PCs should consider specifying graphics cards with AGP or PCI Express interfaces, which are most easily upgraded. For Aero effects video graphics cards should support: DirectX 9 with an LDDM [Longhorn Display Driver Model] driver, 32 bpp [bits per pixel] color depth, and 64MB of graphics RAM."Of course, there's no word on how sluggish the GUI's effects will be with a graphics card that barely meets those requirements. Users should at least be able to run Vista without all the Aero eye candy if their video card doesn't measure up.
For enthusiasts who generally eschew integrated graphics solutions, a DirectX 9-class graphics card with 64MB of memory shouldn't be too much of a stretch, at least not by the time Vista hits retail. Laptop users with limited graphics upgrade options might want to keep those requirements in mind, though.