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Vista Upgrades May Be Slowed By Graphics

The biggest barrier to users upgrading existing PCs to Windows Vista will be the new operating system's graphics requirements, analysts agree.

"It's very difficult to tell what kind of machine you need to experience the full Aero Glass interface," said Rob Helm, director of research at Kirkland, Wash.-based Directions on Microsoft. "You have to know the video card's memory bandwidth, how much memory is on the card based on the screen size resolution you want to run, and what kind of shader capability your [card's] chip has."

"This is stuff I just don't want to know," added Michael Cherry, another analyst at Directions. "It's very confusing, and seems to be getting more technical than less technical.

"The number one thing in the way of Vista upgrades is graphics. Video is the real issue," said Cherry.

The graphics brouhaha stems from Vista's new vector-based interface rendering technology, dubbed Aero, that at the top end will feature such snappy visual extras as translucent screens, animated program flipping, and icons showing thumbnails of opened files.

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