Magazine article Technology & Learning

Microsoft Windows Vista: The Updated OS Looks Great-But It Will Cost You

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Microsoft Windows Vista: The Updated OS Looks Great-But It Will Cost You

Article excerpt

Five years in the making, Windows Vista promises (according to Microsoft) "productivity, mobility, and security benefits, while also achieving lower total cost of ownership."

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Company: Microsoft Corporation; www.microsoft.com

System Requirements: Minimum system requirements depend on the version installed. Vista Business requires a 1 GHz or faster processor; 1 GB of RAM (2 recommended); a 40 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space. Vista's Aero interface requires a graphics card that can handle DirectX 9 graphics APIs with Pixel Shader 2.0 3D texturing, a display driver model (WDDM) driver, at least 128 MB of graphics memory, and support of 32 bits per pixel.

Grade/Price: Per workstation installation (volume pricing for schools available): Vista Business: $285 (full), $192 (upgrade); Microsoft Open License (five unit product count to qualify) about $62.50 per seat, plus $27 disk kit DVD

Pros: Feature-rich new interface (3D transparent look), improved security, enhanced networking, improved text-to-speech

Cons: Substantial investment of money for hardware, training, and IT deployment

Many versions of Vista are available, but schools and districts can only purchase Vista Business (the OS replacement for WinXP Pro) through the company's Academic Open License and Volume License agreements.

To determine if your PC can operate in Vista Business, run Microsoft's Windows Vista upgrade advisor (www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsvista/ buyorupgrade/upgradeadvisor.mspx) to analyze installed hardware, applications, and driver compatibility. You'll soon discover that Vista makes hefty hardware demands, requiring a processor running at 1 GHz speed, 1 GB RAM (2 GB recommended), and a high-end graphics card that supports the Windows display driver modem (WDDM). Add to this the cost of professional development to ensure that district staff and students know how to use its new features and navigate its interface--and then there's the IT cost stemming from OS architectural changes and security enhancements. For example, a minimal OS image now consumes 2 GB compressed or 5 GB extracted and requires a DVD drive or bootable USB memory key (if supported by the computer's BIOS) and sufficient network capacity for image deployment.

Should districts upgrade? …

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