Hardware requirements

by Volker Weber

I don't understand why everybody is crying about the requirements for running Windows Longhorn:

The average PC is expected to have a dual-core 4 to 6GHz processor, a minimum of 2GB of RAM, a 1 terabyte hard drive, 1 gigabit Ethernet, and a graphics card that’s three times as fast as the ones you can buy right now.

Of course it is going to eat up more cycles than current software. That's the whole point. You add up more layers of stuff because you have hardware that lets you do that.

If you look at your current PC and think that it is too slow, just revert to the software that was on the machine when you got it. Note that the machine is as blazingly fast as it was when you first ran it. Just don't try to run today's software on yesterday's hardware. There is a catch: Software is not supported forever.

If you have a 5 years old machine that was delivered with Windows 98, it would still run as fast as 5 years ago. But it would not meet today's security requirements. Which renders this solution useless. This is where Linux comes into play. You need a secure software platform with less complexity (read: which needs fewer cycle) that you can run on yesterday's hardware. Linux is one of them, BSD would be another.

There is also a recipe to let disaster happen today without waiting for Longhorn to run on today's hardware. You just add complexity today. Example: If you want to secure your notebooks in every possible way you add encrpyption to your harddisk. Then you save a bit on RAM so that the software stack does not fit in memory and you put your swap file on that encrypted disk (which is necessary, because there is real data in the swap that needs that protection as well). You have now successfully turned today's hardware into a slow machine that feels like it was acquired 5 years ago.

Comments

Mmh, if I look back at my last experiences with SuSE Linux and KDE, I don't think this is really an alternative for performance issues. Surely as server, but not as desktop system. I (and others) had the impression the GUI behaves slower than actual Windows versions.

For everything else, partially ack. Other, maybe more "practical" examples (since drive encryption still is "geek stuff" ;-): today's PCs have to cope with 6 Megapixel image manipulation, 3MBit Internet connections, latest 3D game technology, high quality DVD playback (not to mention ripping), surround sound, millions of concurrently running systray tools etc.

But one might get the impression it's sometimes just too comfortable for MS to rely on the increasing hardware performance instead of building faster apps.

Oliver Regelmann, 2004-05-06

>>You have now successfully turned today's hardware into a slow machine that feels like it was acquired 5 years ago

!!! You are exactly right !!! This is what they have done at my workplace.

I saved my laptop from their 'upgrade' by classifying it as a a LAN-tool that I needed to sniff with and that could not use windows, and that I needed a speedy disk to save dumps to.

Of course, now that I have my powerbook I hardly use my work portable at all !

Alex, 2004-05-06

Oliver, I agree with your observations re: SUSE Linux and KDE. Try Ximian Desktop on SUSE and it is a completely different situation.

Volker Weber, 2004-05-06

But one might get the impression it’s sometimes just too comfortable for MS to rely on the increasing hardware performance instead of building faster apps.A good point. As hardware blossoms, so should software, but clean efficient code is always a good thing to have.

As Volker knows, I run a very old machine, a rev. B iMac, circa 1998. Now, it came with Mac OS 8.5, but I must admit, I have Panther running on it now, and have had some form of OS X since August 2002 :o)

It doesn’t exactly speed along, but it is definitely usable as a home machine. The features and stability offered by OS X far outweigh the speed issue for me, but of course everyone has different priorities.

What I don’t have is any form of sympathy for people with old machines like mine who whinge that the latest and greatest OS for their machine doesn’t run as fast as the original version they had.

Ben Poole, 2004-05-06

The requirements are not the actual Longhorn system requirements, as I understand it - or do you have a Windows URL for that - but rather want Bill Gates expects a computer to have by 2006. I guess this maybe the suggested requirements for the better performance, but not the required as Microsoft always tries to make the products accessible for older computers.

Compare that to the system requirements for Windows XP Home: most current home user systems run at 256 MB or 512 MB, but the offical requirements are still a PC with 300 Mhz, 128 MB (with 64 support with limited performance) and 1.5 GB harddisk. So expect something similar for Windows Longhorn.

Adalbert, 2004-05-06

This is crazy 4-6ghz processors wat was bill thinking
people wont want to sacrifice thousands of dollars for a machine of this magnitude but why the requirements for windows ?

Dave mcmurray, 2005-03-06

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