The progression of software and gaming technology:
As times goes on, technology inevitably advances. Back in the 1980s, words like megabyte were considered to represent a large amount of space on a hard drive or in total system ram. In the mid 1990s, we began to see megabytes in mass numbers when it came to RAM. At present, we are in the midst of the first decade in the 21st century: Hard drives are just now begining to be meassured in terabytes and ram is being meassured in multiple gigs.
With the increase in horsepower and ranchspace that fuels PCs as they advance, software becomes hungrier and hungrier of these resources. If you try to run Windows XP on a PC built for Windows 95, you will note that the entire system may come to a hault. Likewise, if you attempt to run Windows Vista and DirectX10 games on a machine built for Windows XP, you will encounter similar results!
What does this mean?
This means that with each new installment of Windows that there is a new set of standards for system requirements to run the operating system. Windows Vista is more hungry than Windows XP when it comes to your system's resources. Everything you run will run slower on Vista due to the simple fact that Vista uses more of your system, so, do not post your frame rates and ask us, "why are they lower!?".
Windows XP was designed to run with a reccomended 512mb of ram and an optimal 2gb of ram for gaming. If you disagree with me, try running Battlefield 2142 in Titan Game Mode on a 64 person server with maximum detail if you think windows XP doesn't want 2gb of ram for optimal performance. When converting to windows vista it is important to note, Vista uses more of your base system, so, your system should be proportionately stronger in order to strong the performance dip!
To even run vista reasonably, you will want a minimum of two gigs of ram. If you intend to game on Vista, begin looking at the prices of directx10 videocards (that is, the Geforce 8800 series and the AMD/ATI r600 series) and invest in 6gb of ram.
A 64bit processor is going to become the industry standard within this new generation of Windows and as such, Windows Vista ships with both a 32x and 64x install disc. Take advantage of the 64bit version of Vista and invest in either an Intel Core Duo or an AMD 64 Athlon X2 or FX. Combine this with six gigabytes of ram and a DirectX10 enabled videocard and you have yourself a machine capable of gaming under vista.
Converting your PC that struggled with gaming under Windows XP to vista is going to get you no where! Upgrade your system to play games in vista! End of story!
What does Vista have in store for gaming that XP doesn't?: The Future
Unfortunately for Macintosh, the open source community, and Sony, Microsoft controls the gaming industry's standard technology of DirectX. DirectX is software that works as an interface between game developers through the medium of the operating system to gain direct control of the hardware's capabilities (such as that of Nvidia or AMD/ATI). DirectX is used and updated to match the ever so new special effects in videogames by giving them direct access to the hardware that creates these effects.
Suppose you stay on Windows XP and stick with DirectX 9.0c -- you will only play games and have hardware that operates the visual effects of that era (the era that just ended in January of 2007). Windows Vista on the other hand operates in a DirectX10 environment carrying with it the technology necessary to interface with the graphics cards and video games of tomorrow -- a technology that Microsoft owns and thus has the right to deny users of Windows XP access to, indirectly forcing any true desktop gamers to convert to Windows Vista or stay in the days of old school gaming.
You can fight and scream to defend your DirectX9 hardware and operating system, but, eventually you will have to make the switch if you intend to play the games of tomorrow.