Microsoft revamps Vista PC-rating tool

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Microsoft revamps Vista PC-rating tool

Out goes System Performance Rating, in comes Windows Experience Index.

Microsoft has reworked the tool that shows whether a computer is able to run Windows Vista. 

Computer manufacturers were unhappy with the assessment tool, which uses a rating system to assess how well a PC can handle Microsoft's upcoming operating system. The manufacturers accused Microsoft of unfairly deciding and presenting its ratings.

Redmond promised in May to make changes to the System Performance Rating tool, as it was then called. It has now unveiled a revamped version called Windows Experience Index.

The tool has received tweaks in the way it presents its assessment of a computer's processor, memory, hard drive, graphics card and gaming graphics.

But some manufacturers are still reported to be unhappy, believing that the scores are not a balanced reflection of a computer's abilities.

A source close to Intel complained that Windows Experience Index is "very heavily focused on graphics performance" and over-emphasises advanced media features while not accounting enough for laptop battery life and other characteristics, according to a report on CNET. 

Rumours surfaced earlier this year about Vista's apparently excessive hardware requirements, with minimum specs of a 4GHz dual-core processor, 2GB of Ram and a 1TB hard disk being mentioned. However, practically all new computers are capable of running Vista.

In a statement, Intel said: "We continue to work closely with Microsoft to shape and influence [the rating tool] but we have no further comment at this time."

Most of the changes made by Microsoft will not be publicly visible until Vista's first 'release candidate' is launched later this summer.

Windows Vista Beta 2 was released in May, marking the end of the testing phase for Vista and Office 12, and both products are scheduled for release in January 2007.
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