Windows Vista is an operating system that is far from being shy at hugging system recourses. And while in this aspect it falls in line with previous releases from Microsoft, the hardware upgrade that Windows Vista involves covers processor, video card and RAM. Beating the old drum of the hardware upgrades correlated with the swap to Windows Vista, David Short, an IBM consultant with Global Services Division, revealed that the optimum quantity of RAM for Windows Vista is 4 GB.
According to Microsoft, Windows Vista works with a minimum of 512 MB of RAM, but the operating system will function at full capacity only with 4 GB of RAM under the hood. The fact of the matter is that, powered by only 512 RAM, the operating system will deliver a limited user experience and will be outperformed by Windows XP.
However, in comparison with Windows XP, Windows Vista introduces a superior resource management. In this context, adding horsepower to the configuration will result in improved performances. However, The Redmond Company has indicated that optimum Vista performances can also be obtained with only 2 GB of RAM. But even 2 GB of RAM are a quite far from the 512 RAM that would qualify a machine as being Windows Vista Capable.
An while 4 GB RAM may represent an ideal configuration, as far as memory goes the truth of the matter is that 2 GB of RAM will serve a complete Vista experience, while also representing an equilibrium between upgrade costs and functionality.
Microsoft, Windows Vista