|The original Gnome Shell|
For instance, if you want to fully run the Gnome Shell (or Gnome3) then your graphic card must be able to run in hardware accelerated mode. Although I put it as "fully-run", but it doesn't mean that you can "partially" run Gnome3 with "little" effects but still experience some of those geeky features by any means. So to be straight, if you GPU does not support hardware acceleration then you'll not be able to RUN Gnome3!.
But, there is another mode called the "fall-back mode" which basically lets users with "old" graphics cards to run not Gnome Shell, but to run the desktop with a Gnome2+ looking GUI but you'll be missing those "fancy" graphics (personally, I don't mind missing those "effects" at all).
|The very much Gnome2+ looking "fallback mode". I like it!.|
Although I'm not quite sure about this, but if you've downloaded Gnome3 as soon as it was released, then that feature wasn't there on those live CD's. You can check for it, when you log-out and once on the log-in screen you should see an "option" to change "fall-back mode" manually but the "fallback" is embedded in the live CDs that are available through Gnome3 official link.
And according to some, in comparison with KDE 4, Gnome Shell does use a significant amount of RAM as well (sometimes as for as 800MB +). However, this could be due to a bug or something similar, again I'm not sure and also keep in mind that, KDE only ask for a RAM of 615MB at max! for all its gorgeous looking graphics while Gnome seems to "eat" as much as it can (at the moment :( ).
In Gnome3 FAQ, they stated out that a PC with a VGA card that is 5-4 years old should be able to run the Shell without any problems at all since the desktop still uses primitive hardware related rendering in comparison with other desktops.
Anyway, I like the idea of giving the users the ability to run their desktop in "fall-back mode" which feels so close to the Gnome 2+ version which is something that I don't necessarily love, but in comparison with Gnome3, I love Gnome2 fallback.
Although there aren't any hardware needs saying how much CPU, etc you need to run Gnome3 either, but I think when it comes to CPU, you should be able to run it pretty smooth even on a 1Ghz PC without a problem. Anyhow, I really don't like some of the things that Gnome3 gives you. The hassle that one has to go through to maximize a window is one example.
|Where is my "maximize" buttoN!?|
Although they have done some amazing change, but the rest assured, until they change some of their arrogant beliefs of how usability should be implemented... not sure about you, but I am a bit disapointed with the new Gnome shell. But again this is not something unexpected if you know how Gnome operates. Anyway, Gnome team, thank you for giving the "fall-back mode", What A relief!. Do you like new Gnome desktop??