In fact, researchers from the EXO Performance Network put it crystal clear: Vista SP1 is a “performance dud”:

"If you’ve been disappointed with the performance of Windows Vista to date, get used to it. SP1 is simply not the panacea that many predicted. In the end, it’s Vista’s architecture – not a lack of tuning or bug fixes – that makes it perform so poorly on systems that were "barn-burners" under Windows XP," the company noted on its blog.

"After extensive testing of both RTM and SP1-patched versions of Windows Vista, it seems clear that the hoped-for performance fixes that Microsoft has been hinting at never materialized."

The tests conducted by the EXO team showed that a Vista OS featuring the Service Pack fails to run  faster than a Release To Manufacture version, with the differences between the two competitors being around 1% or 2%.

The team measured the OSs performance in Microsoft Office 2007, multitasking and streaming media. The machines used for the tests was a dual-core Dell notebook with 1GB of RAM.

And Microsoft is still wondering how come people look the other way and keep installing Windows XP…