The improvements SP1 brings are now being realised:
Â» Vista SP1 - The promised performance gains are there | Hardware 2.0 | ZDNet.com
Also another 'snippet' concerning about a Feb 18th release of SP1 and XP SP3:
Release Schedule Changed Again: Vista SP1 on Feb. 18, XP SP3 on Mar. 23 - VR-Zone IT & Lifestyle Forum!
Just to be totally off topic.... I noticed how many views this thread has... Over 8,000! Thats a lot for any forum..Brilliant!