Just a quick reminder to folks looking to pick up bargains after Christmas...or to get some last minute equipment on the books before the end of the fiscal year:
Make sure you know what you are getting!
If you`re buying a new computer now, it will most likely be part of an Express upgrade program, which means you will be eligible for a free (or very low cost) upgrade to Windows Vista after it releases to the general public in January 2007.
However, depending on the model of machine you purchase, you may not be eligible for the edition of Vista you really need. Lower-end editions of Windows Vista may not include key networking, media or encryption features
You should also be sure the hardware you are buying can handle Vista adequately. PCs being sold now should have a sticker that says either "Vista Capable" or "Vista Premium Ready." "Vista Capable" means it meets the minimum requirements for running Windows Vista, but may not be able to run some of the more advanced features. "Vista Premium Ready" means it meets the recommended requirements, including the more advanced features.
In our experience, one of the biggest shifts in Vista is the newfound emphasis on the graphics hardware. The new Aero interface really needs a dedicated 3-D video card to stay responsive. Desktops can always have a new or better video card added if need be, but notebooks typically cannot. So check the type of included video card very carefully when buying a laptop.
You can see more about our experience with Windows Vista over at the funlab.
Good luck & happy holidays!
Christopher Rue MCSE, MCSAM / Black Warrior Technology, LLC / Solutions That Build Your Business