Following Sam's lead, I went ahead and installed Vista build 5472 on my laptop this morning. Unfortunately, my experience wasn't as good as Sam's. I did install Vista Business instead of Ultimate, but hopefully that shouldn't be a significant difference.

The Good

  • Installation went pretty much without a hitch all the way. As Sam mentions, it has certainly improved a lot since the early betas and it just pretty much works as expected. It is also fairly quick.
  • The UI came up with no problem. Even though for some reason I got Aero Basic as the default, I was able to enable Glass with no problems.
  • Performance seems to have improved quite a bit. It certainly feels more responsive on my machine and the UI doesn't seem as clunky
The Bad
  • The drivers for my Dell's ATI X300 with 128MB card sucks. For some strange reason, it won't allow me to go above 1600x1200, and it doesn't allow me to enable any widescreen format resolution. This is a pretty big deal-breaker for me, as my laptop's screen has a native resolution of 1920x1200; anything less than that is just unacceptable. I did install the beta drivers available from ATI's site, but that didn't seem to make a difference :-(. This sucks, particularly since this worked without a hitch in earlier builds.
  • For some reason, the utility to find and download drivers didn't get installed. I mean, the option in the Welcome panel is there, but trying to run it complains that the .exe file is missing. Go figure. So, no drivers for me, as I didn't feel like wasting time getting the rest of the drivers up if I can't even configure video properly.
  • The machine won't complete the performance rating test. It complains about "getting some error from an underlying driver or device". My bet is on the video drivers, but no way to know since it doesn't tell you.
  • Trying to copy a file over the network proved to be a real challenge. I first tried to run an exe from a network share; no dice, explorer hung hard and had to kill it. Then, trying to copy a 47MB file over to the local desktop to run it from there, took about 6 minutes or more. Insane.
  • Deleting files from explorer isn't exactly working right. It took the machine almost 5 minutes to delete 20 files on a folder.
So far: Not impressed with this build. Also, I had installed build 5456 on my old Compaq laptop (with a 1.4 Pentium 4 Mobile processor and 512 MB of RAM), and was rather disappointed (though not surprised) to see it sucked big time. There are no video drivers for the Mobility Radeon 7500 chip it has (the machine is 4 years old), so you get the standard VGA adapter driver. Besides that, performance sucks, the machine spends a lot of cycles paging, so obviously 512MB of RAM isn't very good (and that's for doing nothing, I didn't even install applications on it).

Tomas Restrepo

Software developer located in Colombia. Sr. PFE at Microsoft.