It looks like Vista SP1 may not provide much of a performance increases: http://exo-blog.blogspot.com/2007/11/vista-sp1-performance-dud.html
If this is true, then it really is a shame, because my experience with Vista has definitely left me wanting for more performance. With light use of the OS (i.e. web browsing and email) I don’t feel Vista has that much lower performance than XP. But, with more system-intensive application such as Developer tools (Visual Studio) or even basic Shell usage (copying, renaming and deleting files in Windows Explorer), Vista seems really slow. Actually, painfully slow.
My personal opinion: Microsoft tried to push too many unproven technologies into Vista too quickly (ironic considering how late the OS was). And performance was never properly baked in. This unmanaged complexity resulted in an OS that’s overly slow, unreliable, and immature (going to take a while for Vista to mature to mainstream Microsoft OS). This really isn’t any different from XP, where I’d argue SP2 delivered maturation to XP. One big difference in my mind: XP was never a bloated, wallowing, performance lackey.
Microsoft openly considers security critical (as they should), but when it comes to performance I fear they couldn’t care less. I don’t really like that, because for me, Performance Is A Significant Part Of Usability. And, it’s not just the Vista team that’s delivering a product with poor performance. I find performance of Microsoft Office 2007 and Visual Studio 2005 also lacking. Especially Visual Studio 2005, which I consider designed by-and-for executives (not the actual end user).
It’s generally accepted that new versions of software get bigger and slower, but I observe major Microsoft products getting slower faster than hardware is getting faster. To restate more clearly: Major Microsoft products get more sluggish than hardware gets faster.
So, I’m probably staying with XP a while longer until Microsoft addresses Vista performance. Maybe I’ll transition my main computer to Vista if I get an insanely powerful workstation…. Or maybe I’ll just wait for Microsoft to fix Vista.