Microsoft may recommend 1GB of memory for Windows Vista, but the CEO of Dell Computer is the first high-profile PC executive to say that's probably not enough.
Dell chief Kevin Rollins was speaking at Jiaotong University in Shanghai when the issue of Vista system requirements came up. "I think they tell you maybe one gig of memory is OK. No. Two gigs of memory would be great," he told the crowd. The story was first reported stateside in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Microsoft's hometown newspaper.
Granted, Rollins does have a vested interest in selling more hardware, as Gartner analyst Michael Silver points out. However, he also adds, "You'll never be sorry you bought more RAM."
Microsoft has understated memory requirements more than once. Microsoft's original recommendation for Windows XP was 256MB of memory. You can run XP in that amount of memory, but it wouldn't be a very enjoyable or productive experience.
Microsoft declined to comment, simply referring internetnews.com to its current "Premium Ready" specifications, which suggest 1GB of memory for Vista.
Dell spokesman Bob Kaufman reiterated his boss's statement. "We would recommend for optimal performance, two gigabytes or higher," he said. "We would also advice customers to get the proper amount of technology upgrades when migrating. What we're saying to our customers is invest properly in your tech and buy for the future."
Tiffany Smith, a spokesperson for HP, had a similar, but less specific recommendation.
"For general consumers and business users, we are recommending that systems have at least 1GB of memory, per Microsoft's guidelines. But power users, who know that their systems may already be pushing the limit at 1GB with other memory intensive applications, should take that into consideration as well before adding Windows Vista or any other large software package," she told internetnews.com.
While memory has come down in price quite a bit in recent years, it's begun to inch up, especially memory for newer Core2 or Xeon-based desktops. A 1GB upgrade for a Dell PC can cost anywhere from $200 and up. Over a number of machines, that can add up.
"The bottom line is that RAM is the biggest performance bang for the buck, but for some people, they would have to chose between buying 10 1GB PCs or 9 2GB PCs," said Silver.