January 2007


I am The Cyberwolfe and these are my ramblings. All original content is protected under a Creative Commons license - always ask first.
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Vista everywhere, but nothing to see

Okay boys and girls, this weekend marks the official release of Windows Vista into the common market. You’ve seen the ads on tv and in the paper, and you know there are several versions to choose from – but what should you get?

Well, nothing for now. SP1 is scheduled for a mid-2007 release, so you should just wait for that. But when the time comes, hopefully this little primer will help you decide which version to buy.

They have whittled it down from 7 versions to 4 for your average Joe or Joe Small Business, add a 5th if you’re Enterprise-class. (Ignore this if you have less than 100 pc’s to worry about.)

Oh, wait – if you live in a piss-poor 3rd World “emerging market”, they have Vista Starter Edition. Not available anywhere you can find two coins to rub together.

Common pricing available so far: (Rounded up to nearest dollar, not including sale pricing. Prices pulled from Amazon and NewEgg.)

Version Retail Full Upgrade OEM Full
Vista Home Basic $200 $100 $100
Vista Home Premium $240 $160 $120
Vista Business $300 $200 $150
Vista Ultimate $400 $260 $200

As you can see, the cheapest way to buy it is to go with an OEM copy. This version is supposed to be for System Builders (I.E., computer boutiques that build custom rigs.) According to the license, the store selling it has to sell you hardware too. Since many computers out today don’t have the oomph to turn on all of the pretty in Vista, buying additional RAM will certainly count as “hardware” and you’re covered.

So, now we know what it will cost, but which one do we choose? Here’s the breakdown of features from Redmond itself:

Vista Comparison

What that all means is that nobody will ever buy Vista Basic. It doesn’t do anything, Full stop. No backup, no media creation, no Jack. It doesn’t even have the new games, fer chrissakes. When you can get Home Premium for $20 more, spend the extra money. Premium has all the pretty and the functionality any slightly-more-savvy-than-Grandma user will want.

If you need to connect to a domain, you will have to go with Business at least. Home Premium does not have that function. The same goes for Remote Desktop. The Business Edition doesn’t have the Media Center stuff though, so if you find yourself needing any business-type functions in your home computer, skip Business and go straight to Ultimate.

So, when would the home user without business needs go Ultimate? Hi-Def movie making and built-in backup and restore. Those are the two functions Ultimate has over Home Premium. Honestly, I’m pretty sure that 3rd-party software houses will have solutions for those two points, so it boils down to what software you prefer.

For business users, only the Marketing or Graphic Design departments will need Ultimate’s media-creation features; the rest can live happily on Business. The BitLocker trick is a pretty salient point though, which means that most companies buying laptops will want them equipped with Ultimate for the extra security. Again, there will be software available to mimic that function, but sometimes it’s nice for us in the IT field to have it built-in.

There you have it kids – time to start stuffing the piggy banks.

One reply to “Vista everywhere, but nothing to see”

  1. graumagus Says:

    I’m not touching Vista until my craptastic computer gets upgraded and it’s on at LEAST Service Pack 1, preferably SP2….