Vista ranks us at 3.7. We blame it on our graphics card. You see, Vista gives you an "experience score" based on your components in your system, which is supposed to give you a good idea of how well Vista will run. In our upgraded XP to Vista system, Vista gave us a 3.7 because we only had a Radeon 9600 with 128MB of RAM.
So what do these scores mean?
A 1 means you should just seriously go back to XP. Microsoft wants your money, but not that badly. A score of 2 is the basic score you'll need to do anything on Vista worth while. A 3 (which is what we have, a high 3) is going to be the "value end", or super cheap, PCs being shipped into 2007. A 4 is a mid-range machine, and a 5 is a high-end monster that can do Aero-Glass on multiple monitors and hack into the Matrix.
The current maximum score is a 5.9. A 6 hasn't been defined yet, because Windows developers want to leave themselves room for a 4-dimensional Pipes screensaver or something. They plan to re-evaluate the scale every 12-18 months, or else in two years everyone will have machines that score a 4 or a 5.
In our experience, that 3.7 is pretty decent. Sure, the CPU could be faster, but we haven't noticed any slowdown thanks to Aero. We're not disappointed, since the performance is about on par with XP and this is a pretty low-end machine, after all.
And for you nerds? You can hit up shareyourscore.com and see what other nerds are getting with their machines. It's like an e-penis competition graded by Microsoft—the king of making e-penis competitions (Xbox Live Gamerscore points, for example).
What the scores mean [Vista Blog]