With Windows Vista coming soon to a retail channel near you, one of the important questions to ask is, "How much memory does it really need?"  There are the official minimum requirements of 512 MB, but we all know that minimum requirements don't translate to a great experience.  What are the real memory levels that get good performance?  After having used it for several years during the development process, I figure I'm in a pretty good place to help answer that question.  Vista definitely requires more memory than XP did to achieve similar levels of performance.  That is to be expected with all of the new functionality invovled.  To run Vista at its best, I recommend you have at least 1.5 gigabytes of RAM.  In my experience, the following is a mapping from XP RAM to Vista RAM requirements for eqivlaent performance.

XP RAM      Vista RAM

128 MB       512 MB

256 MB       1 GB

512 MB       1.5 GB

1 GB           2 GB

In my experience, XP ran very well with 512 MB and only slightly better with 1 GB (unless you were putting it through a very serious work load).  To get this kind of performance out of Vista, you really want 1.5 GB.  1 GB will work but it will be sluggish at times.  Anything less than 1 GB will feel very slow.

If you have experience with Vista through the business release or a beta, what sort of memory performance levels do you see?  Do you concur with my recommendations?


Note:  This is not official guidance.  This is based merely upon my personal observations.  Your mileage may vary.