With the Vista Beta 2 now

open to the general public, lots of people are getting the change to kick

the tires around. A lot of people are going to be pleasantly surprised, while

others are in for a rude shock I’m sure. One of the areas that are going to

surprise people is the amount of hardware necessary to get Windows Vista

running without being annoying.

To help judge how Windows Vista performs on a given machine, Vista

includes a Performance Rating Tool that gives a general number you can use to

assess a machine’s Vista capabilities. Steven Warren discussed

his results
recently when trying out a test laptop with Vista.

When I installed the February CTP of Vista on the test

workstation in the TechRepublic Test Lab, I was extremely disappointed

in the results. With the release of Beta 2, there were some new video

drivers available that supported the nVidia Quadro card in the workstation, so

I thought I’d check to see how the machine checked out now. Here are the results:

The test machine went from scoring a 2 to scoring a whopping

3. What’s really interesting is to compare how Vista USED to judge the machine

versus how it does now. Remember: The only change in the machine is that there

is now a supported video driver.

February CTP Beta 2
Processor: 3.6 3.7
Memory: 5.5 5.0
Hard drive: 5.4 3.8
Graphics card: 2.0 5.9
Gaming graphics: 5.4 5.3
Overall: 2.0 3.0

Clearly Microsoft has fiddled with the algorithms or else

everything would score the same from one build to the next. It’s still

surprising that many elements of the workstation would score high, but overall

the machine only scores a 3. Talk about grading on a curve.

Seeing as how the Performance Rating Tool can give an overall

high score of 5, it’s still scary to think what kind of machine you’ve got to

be running to actually score a 5. We’ll have to see what future betas hold to

see if the ratings change again.