Vista compabaility with budget laptops....?



Hi - I have a simplish question I was hoping someone could help me with. Basically I'm about to buy a budget laptop (say £500 / $1000) for simple home use (writing, DivX film watching etc)... just the usual stuff. My problem is that I'm encountering contrasting advice about the compability of Vista for such a machine, i.e. whether or not I'd be able to upgrade from XP to Vista at a later date.

On the one hand 'What Laptop' says that a 128Mb *dedicated* graphics card is an ABSOLUTE minimum requirement for premium Vista functionality; while on the other hand PC World's website is telling me that almost all of its budget laptops will have the capability to upgrade to 'Vista Home Premium', even though they only have *shared* 128mb graphics cards (& generally low specs besides that). Some examples...

ACER 5633WLMI Laptop and cheap ACER Laptops.. Buy the ACER 5633WLMI laptop at PC World.

PACKARD BELL MV45-008 Laptop and cheap PACKARD BELL Laptops.. Buy the PACKARD BELL MV45-008 laptop at PC World.

(Conversley, Dell's website is taking the opposite approach & telling me I need to spend at least £1000 / $2000 to get a premium Vista-compatible machine).

If someone could possibly clarify the likelihood of me being able to upgrade to Vista on my budget machine that'd be really helpful! I'm not even sure I'll ever need to upgrade - I'm only expecting to have the laptop for 2/3 years, and I certainly won't need to display HD video on it or anything like that - but I want to make sure I don't buy a machine with the expectation of being able to upgrade, only to be disappointed further down the road.

I hope my question is clear - I'm a total novice to this so apologies if I'm not making any sense!



PS If anyone knows of some suitable online literature relating to my question please point me in its direction!

Jim Haynes

Lifetime Premium Supporter
Premium Supporter
Hello, I have not looked at the links you posted nor have I really been keeping track of all the "talk" about the specifications that is needed to run Vista but this is my simple advice.

My current laptop has an AMD64 3700 CPU, 2gb of RAM, 128 MB dedicated video card and a 100GB hard drive. It has a 17" wide screen, with a resolution of 1680x1050 and an external 17" inch monitor with a rez of 1280x1024.

I say all of that to say this. Yes, I can run the Aereo interface but I still wish that Windows and programs would respond faster. At any one time I run IE (with about 6 tabs open), Outlook, a download program, 2 instant messenger programs, antivirus, firewall, virtual cd program, drive encryption software and Windows Defender. These all run fine with the current specs on my machine.

However, I get a problem where I want to run video on my external monitor, the 128MB card is not enough and the video and audio would not be in sync all the time.

So to try and answer your question, I honestly do not see how a "budget", i.e. a computer with less than 128MB dedicated video and maybe even less than 1.5GB of RAM is going to run Vista properly, assuming you are going to "push a lot of software" at it.

I am looking to buy a second laptop, for portability, and I do not plan on buying anything which does not have at least 256MB of dedicated video memory and at minimum the 1.5GB of RAM. If I can afford more RAM, I definitely will buy more. With respect to processor, you could even get a dual core processor if you can afford it but mine is a simple AMD64 3700 and it runs fine as I have stated already. However for a new laptop I would go dual core also.

So yes you can upgrade Vista but will you experience the full effects (visuals) of Vista on a budget machine, I do not think so but I would have to research the topic more to back up my statement and I doubt I will do that anytime soon.

Just joined the forum and hopefully can find the help I need to solve a couple of problems with outlook and internet explorer closing.


Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft MVP
Hi Roybean, try a system clean, anti-spyware, anti-virus and also do a disk clean to clean out temporary files.

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