I don’t know how you define a Vista ready motherboard but ExtremeTech (ET) did a quick review of a pair of Asus boards with that label. Although ET votes thumbs down on both, it seems clear that others will follow.
The innovation that I like, even if it still needs a bit of work, is the inclusion of an on-board flash drive configured to work
with the Vista ReadyBoost (RB) feature. RB acts as a high-speed cache for disk reads. So, in many cases, rather than having to read a bunch of small files from the hard drive (i.e., relatively slow mechanical device) the files may be read from the RB drive (i.e., relatively fast solid state device).
Now, as ET notes, modern hard drives also have high speed caches and for larger files, the read from this cache may be faster than from RB. But according to ET, RB is configured to allows such reads from the hard drive rather than from itself. I’m not sure how that works, but if it does, it seems like a slick way to do things.
That said, Asus apparently doesn’t include a flash drive with enough capacity to provide for maximum performance. ET has a rule of thumb saying the RB should have a similar capacity as main memory (note: I have no idea how ET came to this rule). For example. if you have 2GB of RAM, which appears to be the economic and performance sweet spot for Vista, you should have a 2GB RB. The problems with the Asus implementation are that the RB is only 512MB and cannot be user upgraded.
So, although the idea to include the RB directly on the motherboard is a good one, making things more convenient, the implementation leaves something to be desired. Still, I’m sure other motherboards will include this feature and perhaps they will allow users to decide RB capacity.