Now that Vista is officially available for atleast two weeks, as we expected, the net is now full of articles and advices on whether you should upgrade or wait for some more time. Most of the advice come from people who have never used Vista for more than a few hours. It is all based on their past observations, which need not be correct all the time.
Here is my take on upgrading to Vista, which is based on my experience of trying it out in trial mode on various PCs for the last 2 months. Now, it is largely dependent on what sort of hardware you have. If you are using a laptop, you may want to wait. I observed that the power management functionality, even though claimed to have been improved by Microsoft, is very poor. The laptops I tested always ran hot and the whirring of the fan could be heard 90% of the times. When the machine is idle and there are no applications open, the fan was inactive. The moment you launch an application, no matter how small it is, the fan just kicks in, even if you have set the power management to “Save Battery”. All in all, I was pretty scared to run the laptops for long hours as it may cause damage due to the raising temperatures.
If you have an NVIDIA graphics card on your PC or laptop, just do not upgrade now. NVIDIA drivers are still in their early stages with even the latest beta versions exhibiting several issues. I am not a great gamer, but the MCE performance with the default drivers shipped with Vista leave a lot to be desired. I finally traced the stutter issues that I faced on Vista MCE to the NVIDIA 6200 graphics card that I used in my media center desktop. Updating to the latest beta drivers improved the performance a little, but the stutter has not vanished completely.
On the other hand, if you have a hardware that is atleast one year old, the drivers shipped with Vista are pretty stable. Some of the older desktops (upgraded to 1 GB RAM) exhibited good stability and performed well. Almost all hardware was detected and proper drivers were available.
In short, you can take the Vista plunge if you have a older hardware upgraded with enough RAM (read: atleast 1 GB). Just make sure that you are not using NVIDIA graphics card for now. Laptop users can wait for a little longer time so that some fixes are available for the power management issues. You don’t want to burn your lap, right? If you assembled a PC with the latest hardware, you may want to play the waiting game till your manufacturer(s) provide you with polished drivers for all your hardware bits.
Also note that this article is purely based on the hardware point of view. Vista definitely has more features and applications than XP worthy enough for an upgrade – but just make sure your hardware is ready for enjoying all the new features of Vista.