Tried installing XP, but kept getting blue screen of death from both disks, so reinstalled Vista just so I could have net access, and have installed Ubuntu so I can duel boot. I'm not setting up anything much on Vista, because I know once I can get the wireless issue figured out, Vista will be going bye-byes because I hate it so very much.
That said, I have installed Lightwave so I could do an experiment. I have a set picture that I have rendered on each PC I've owned/used over the years. I have the file set aside, so it always renders with the same settings. On first PC it took just a smidgen over three hours. Next one was about an hour forty, one after that around fifty minutes. The one I got from Barnes knocked it down to about six or seven minutes. My previous comp rendered it in around three minutes, when it was working properly.
The new PC, under Vista, renders it in 58 seconds!
Looking forward to trying it out on Ubuntu at some point to see if there's any difference.
The thing that is boggling my mind is, the second PC mentioned above is the one I did the Aussiecon 3 Opening Ceremony animation on. After a catastrophic accident with my hard drive I lost the entire opening and had to re-render a heavily reduced version, partially because I'd lost a bunch of models, partially because of render times. It took two and a half days, rendering madly on two PCs (the second being the much slower one) and I just barely got it finished with all the sound and such in place by the first day of the con.
If I'd had this PC, and all the models, I would have been able to recreate the entire original animation, probably overnight. Freaky.