Substantial hardware changes will be required for users to upgrade to the new Microsoft Windows Vista platform, experts say, paving way for greater sales in the hardware segment.

Semiconductor analyst Doug Freedman, of American Technological Research, contends that the most interesting changes will occur in core system components, such as memory and graphics needs. Disk space will be affected as well, he says.

Desktop computers will move from 80-120 gigabyte (GB) discs to 160-250 GB discs, and notebooks from 30-60 GB discs to 80-160 GB discs, generating gains for many hard-drive manufacturers he predicts.

We believe average HDD storage configurations will essentially double on both desktops and notebooks given the greater bandwidth requirements and enhanced multimedia capability, particularly video, he said to clients.

The research firm also finds that the new system will require substantially more random-access-memory than Windows XP based systems. Feedback from beta testers interviewed by the firm indicates that Vista runs much more smoothly with 2GB of DRAM.

This should have a positive effect on DRAM pricing as supply will not be able to increase in a step function. This would be a positive for MU, QI, Samsung, Hynix, Elpida, and Nanya.

Advanced features seen in the new operating system from Microsoft, such as the new 3D interface may require users to upgrade their video cards as well, fairing positively for ATI Technologies, and Nvidia Corporation - two of the largest graphics hardware firms.

The 3D Aero interface of Vista premium will need substantially greater graphic computing resources. The specifications call for a DirectX 9 capable graphics engine with 128MB of memory.

Windows Vista is scheduled for release in January of 2007, following several delays. Software analyst at Goldman Sachs, Richard Sherlund, said that while his previous financial models have anticipated a delay for Vista shipment, he now says that a second delay is looking less likely.