Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) released its next generation Windows Vista operating system to corporate customers this month, priced at nearly $200 for an upgrade. New research suggests that in addition to software costs, some consumers may see hardware costs soar by 20 percent in order to support the new platform.

The average price for a desktop computer using Microsoft's previous operating system, Windows XP, is $500, research firm iSuppli said on Friday. For an average PC running Vista, however, the firm believes the cost will jump to slightly more than $600. Higher performing processors and video hardware contribute to these costs.

When configuring the memory, think today—and think tomorrow—because application and user demands on memory change over time, said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms at iSuppli.

Although Microsoft has stated that memory requirements of 512Mbytes of DRAM will be sufficient to run Vista, iSuppli believes that least 1Gbyte will be required for optimal performance and to allow headroom for upgrades - Memory costs for the PC would double.

The estimates represent only the costs of components. With the PC maker’s profit margin included, users will be paying more to buy Vista-ready machines.

“There are some difficult choices to be made before migrating to Windows Vista,” Wilkins said.

Retail versions of Microsoft's new operating system are expected to hit store shelves on January 30.

Shares of Microsoft rose 4 cents, or 0.14 percent, to $28.89 in Friday afternoon trading on the Nasdaq exchange.