5 Takes on Windows Vista SP1

Vista's SP1 was officially released on Tuesday. That means people have had enough time to tinker around with it, test it out, and share their opinions. The reviews are in, and here's what the usual suspects (plus our own most eloquent commenters) had to say.

PC World: "Pre-SP1, the [1.9GB] file copy averaged 384 seconds; post-SP1, the copy process showed a noticeable improvement, averaging just 348 seconds to complete the same task. That's a 9 percent improvement, a difference you're likely to notice... It's not life-altering when you're talking about just 2GB of data, but if the performance improvement holds across larger data sets, that will be a big boon to anyone copying data in the Vista environment."

PC Mag: "From the beginning, Vista had some significant issues with excessive hard drive use. The drive light would routinely stay fully or mostly lit for many minutes at a time, even when most programs had been closed. The downloaded SP1 improved this quite a bit, resulting in crisper performance... even with Office 2007 Professional, Adobe Creative Suite CS3, and Norton System Works 2008 on the machine and various components of each running (Outlook, Word, InDesign, Acrobat, and Norton AV, for instance), the drive light stayed remarkably unlit on the SP1 clean install. This issue bears watching: If the difference turns out to be as significant as it seems, then it alone is reason to upgrade."

Anandtech: "Compared to where we were a year ago, our general recommendation for Vista is unchanged. We are however impressed with the progress of the x64 versions of Vista over the past year, after feeling like it was lagging behind Vista x86 from beta up through the release version of Vista. Vista x64 is now clearly on par with Vista x86 and we have no concerns about its compatibility or performance."

CNet: "Do you need Windows Vista SP1? Yes and no. It's always good to install the latest (read: patched) code for any operating system. But downloading and installing the update will take some users a few hours without any visible or tangible improvements to their systems."

Giz Commenters:

We received a huge response to our poll question the other day, "How's Windows Vista SP1 working out?" Most of you didn't notice much of a difference after the install, but a good portion of you thought it was either the best or worst decision you've ever made. Here are some of the most informative things your fellow commenters had to say about the upgrade:

Topcat: Installed without incident in ~20 minutes for me. RAM use is down 7-10% on average from the OS (Ultimate-32), and it fixed some of the problems I'd had frequently

shiftyeyedgoat: I can definitely notice a difference in network transfer speeds. I mean, it's multitudes faster.

Claystil: My startup time seems to be shorter and windows connects to the network MUCH faster.

JoeStalin: No difference. Large file transfers still suck ass.

Darrone: ...it boned my computer harder than Eliot Spitzer at Scores.

The majors seem to echo what everyone else has been saying; while updating is usually the right thing to do, SP1 doesn't have enough noticeable changes to make you jump out of your seat. The commenters were more outspoken in their distaste for the update, some even reporting several crashes, but overall they seemed to like it as well. Putting all of the feedback together, we're going to give Vista SP1 an "upgrade" verdict, but don't expect too much from it.