Windows Vista Memory Requirements
12 June 2006 in Microsoft, Windows | Comments enabled

I’ve been using Windows Vista Beta 2 at home for a few days now (bit of a laggard I know) and have been enjoying reading other peoples thoughts on it. One thing I’ve seen as a common theme is comments about memory consumption. For a bit of a laugh I thought I’d see just how bad Vista’s memory consumption was and here is what I found:

Windows 95, Recommended memory: 8MB

Memory in 1995 cost $500 for an 8MB SIMM

Windows XP, Recommended memory: 128MB

Memory in 2001 cost $60 for 128MB

Windows Vista memory requirements ~1GB

Memory at the moment is $121 for 1GB

Some things to note:

  1. 2001 was the year that had the massive memory glut and prices became stupidly cheap. Perhaps this was fortunate for the release of XP.
  2. The memory price in 2001 was a rough conversion of mine to the NZD plus our magically tech gear markup.
  3. There is still six months of memory price drops before Vista actually comes out.
  4. I’ve used the “Vista Premium Ready” Certification for this example. If comparing to the “Vista Capable” certification which requires 512MB it would be $61 for 512MB – only a buck more than XP prices.
  5. I read the recommended memory requirements for Windows 95 off the Windows 95 box that I still have in my closet that my Dad brought the day Windows 95 came out :)

Looking 6 months ahead, I’d be willing to predict that memory prices will be approximately in line with the costs of Windows XP which is pretty darn good considering the massive memory glut for the time. According to Yahoo the price of a computer capable of running windows Vista will be approximately 70% of the cost of a computer that was required to run XP.

So I don’t quiet get why exactly is Vista’s memory usage really an issue? It surely can’t be a price issue.

- JD


7 comments. Add your own comment.

Allan says 12 June 2006 @ 08:57

Windows XP on 128Mb? I guess it could work if you just wanted to run the OS, nothing else and then enjoy the beauty of the clouds on the wallaper :)

The main issue isn’t really RAM though, it’s GPU’s, particularily on notebooks. And DRM.

Johnny-Johnny says 12 June 2006 @ 09:34

Yeh… I’m sure WinXP wanted 256MB as recommended…

John-Daniel Trask says 12 June 2006 @ 10:11

Nope, XP recommended was 128 :) I didn’t open up the debate about if those figures are actually meaningful. Keep in mind XP has been around a very long time now.

I think one problem with operating system requirements is that people assume that by meeting those requirements they somehow include everything that runs ON the operating system.

You could happily get away running IE, notepad, paint, browsing your pc etc on XP with 128MB of memory. You couldn’t run Visual Studio 2005, SQL 2005, PhotoShop etc very well on it however.

Allan, you’re quite right that other components are the bigger issue these days however I only wrote this piece because many people are complaining on their blogs about the memory requirements.

– JD

Jonesie says 12 June 2006 @ 20:31

I just priced a 1 gig RAM upgrade for my Presario @ $350 inc gst. It barely runs XP ok now with 512. Certainly not very useful for VS2005 and Office 07.

I won’t even think about Vista on this and the machine its not even a year old.

On the flip side I just installed Beta 2 on a nice fast Dell desktop with a sata drive and 1gb ram and my first impression is that it’s pretty speedy and smooth.

I’d love to be able to use it but realistically, unless I win lotto, I won’t be installing it at home for a couple of years at least.

Juha says 13 June 2006 @ 06:24

Things may change when the release version of Vista ships, but for now it seems that you 2GB RAM to get the same experience as you do with 1GB in XP.

Upgrading to large memory configurations can be hit and miss (like finding a second pair of matched dual-channel DIMMs that work with the pair you have installed already).

It probably won’t be an issue for new machines when Vista ships sometime in 2007, but XP customers will probably think twice about moving over, if it means they have to double the memory as well.

traskjd says 13 June 2006 @ 06:59

Thanks for your comments Jonsie (first comment here I think? :) ). Is that Presario memory from HP? $350 seems like an extremely expensive 1Gb of memory! While working at Intergen you’ll get dealer pricing on memory so hopefully that will save you some money :)

Also first time comment from Juha, thanks :) I certainly think they’re going to struggle with all the home users who don’t know all that much about computers to start with. However perhaps, because it was so long ago, we’ve forgotten about the upgrade pains of new versions of the Operating System? I wonder how many people are like me that were going to get a new machine this year but are how holding off until as close to the Vista release as possible?

It’s nice to see though that this is the first version of Windows that actually does downgrade some of its own functionality to better support lower spec machines.

– JD

JD’s Weblog » Windows Vista Memory Usage says 26 February 2007 @ 08:42

[...] while back I made a post about Windows Vista memory requirements and saying I didn’t think it was the issue that some people thought it was. Now I’ve [...]

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