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Windows Vista has been available to consumers for nearly a month now. Many new and revamped PCs incorporating Microsoft’s latest operating system have been released, with lots more on the way.

So far, we’ve looked at a range of Vista desktops from gaming rigs to all-in-one PCs to low-end machines, and by and large, we’ve liked what we’ve seen.

Windows Vista Premium incorporates Windows Media Center, making it ideal for media-center and all-in-one desktops such as the HP TouchSmart IQ770 PC, which incorporates one of the neatest touch-screens we’ve yet come across. The IQ770 is bristling with connectors—for TV, audio, radio, camcorder and probably the kitchen sink to boot.

Part of Vista’s appeal is aesthetic, with all versions beyond Windows Vista Home Basic able to run Vista’s Aero interface with its cool 3-D and translucent effects, provided the PC has the necessary hardware. (Most of the new machines come with a couple of gigs of RAM and at least a dual-core processor.)

We’ve shown that even a low-end Vista Home Premium machine such as the eMachines T5224 can smoothly run Aero; it did so with just 1GB of RAM and shared graphics. A step up from the T5224 is the Dell Dimension E521 (Vista), a mainstream Vista Premium system for just over $1,000 (including a 20-inch monitor) with 2GB of RAM and a cool multimedia keyboard that should do well for budding power-users.

In our multimedia tests (Windows Media encoding and Photoshop CS2), Vista has fared rather well.

Read the full story on Windows Vista Desktops

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