Due to some testing requirements for potential customers, I broke down and installed Vista RC1 on my laptop. Specs:
Pentium 4M 1.8GHz
1GB memory - 64MB shared video memory
overall, the performance of RC1 is far better on my laptop (obviously, again, i switched off all the pretties), and the networking issues i experienced with Beta 2 seems to have been resolved. i managed to work the entire day without a single glitch - and i tend to work my machines hard, so having survived a full days work with me scored some brownie points.
however, in the evenings, i like to watch movies or tv shows before i finally pass out, and here, things have not performed all that well. Media player 11 seems to not be terribly happy this time round, and continually freezes up my machine, regardless of whether i am playing music or another type of media file. and when i say freezes up, i mean i have to use the powerbutton to regain control of my machine. this has been terribly annoying. i would have suspected my graphics driver, which i purposely did not upgrade this time round (mainly because the catalyst has more than doubled in size between XP and Vista, but also because the native driver seems to work fine), had it not been for the fact that it did this during music playback as well. i also attempted another media player (VLC), and the same thing happens, so i am not entirely sure right now what could be the cause.
it makes it rather hard to be happy with Vista though, because i require my laptop to be both for work and play. of course, i am not a big fan of desktop operating systems as it is, and if RC1 is giving me this many hassles with media playback, i am not convinced that i would even try RC2 (which, i believe, is due for release in the next week or so)
EDIT: it could very well be an incompatibility with my ATI card (following a quick net search)