Windows Vista's eye-candy will cost you at least $160

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Chicago (IL) - Amazon.com's pre-order pages are revealing prices for Microsoft's upcoming operating system Windows Vista. The new features and especially Microsoft's Aeroglass user interface won't be cheap: Plan on spending at least $100 for the least expensive upgrade and $400 if you are aiming for the full feature set.

It isn't quite a secret anymore that Windows Vista could be a pricey experience for computer users. When the operating system arrives, there will be new basic performance requirements for graphics, system and memory horsepower - think of it as the extreme version of the 8 MB memory upgrade that was recommended for Windows 95 a little over a decade ago.

But also Windows itself will be slightly more expensive than today's Windows XP. The Windows Vista will cost at least $100 in the shape of an upgrade DVD that allows users access to the "Home Basic" version of the software (today's XP home retails for about $90). That version however does not include the "Aeroglass" graphical user interface that may be one of the key reasons for Windows XP users to upgrade to the new operating system. Aeroglass support will cost at least $160 for the Premium Upgrade DVD and $240 for the full version.

Vista Business, which is comparable to today's Windows XP Professional, lacks multimedia features of Premium, but integrates features such as the IIS web server, a remote desktop, P2P capability and support for up to 128 GB of memory. This version apparently will carry a suggested retail price of $200 for the upgrade and $300 for the full version. XP Pro currently sells for $160 as upgrade and $250 for the full version.

The flagship of the Vista series, "Ultimate", offers all features of the Premium, Business and Enterprise editions and adds for example podcast tools, a game performance tuning utility and DVD ripping support. According to Amazon.com, Ultimate will cost $260 as upgrade DVD and $400 as full version.