I recently had to swap out my aging IBM R51 with a brand new Lenovo R61 at work. It's been a great PC so far, but one of the features of this laptop worked so well that I had to post about it.
The R61's we go this year have Intel Turbo Memory installed. Otherwise known as Robson, this is the Intel Flash cache that supposedly speeds up your PC and saves battery life by turning an ordinary Hard drive into a Hybrid drive. Since I needed to learn Vista more since I work on a lot of alternate language laptops, I decided to take the Vista plunge and run Vista Ultimate on it.
I noticed immediately that the PC was more responsive with TM on than when it was turned off, Especially on Boot up. Boot up times were cut by 1/2 and in some case 1/3rd. Programs that were frequently used seem to load up faster. Turning the TM off, (which I had to do, since Symantec Ghosts' Boot wizard would not run with TM enabled.) noticeably dropped the performance.
Battery life wise, I didn't notice much of a difference, but it does seem to help out, since I could easily run the laptop for 3-4 hours with TM enabled. The laptop seems to last longer than the same laptops running XP (which doesn't use the TM Module) and considering the process hog that Vista is, The Laptop running Vista's battery should last a lot less than the XP systems.
I've read reviews that state TM works better when there is less RAM present. The Vista System I'm using has 4GB of ram (only 3GB is accessible since Lenovo only offers Vista Business in 64bit) on top of a Intel T9500 processor. I've also set the hard drive performance to Enhanced write performance, which caches everything it can to RAM for faster read/write speed. Even with this amount of RAM and performance specs it is very noticeable when TM is disabled VS Enabled.
Right now, TM is only supported by Vista. I would like to see it supported on another platform, such as OSX or Linux, to see if any similar performance gains could be achieved. I doubt it will ever be supported in XP, even though it looks like it was supported at one time. Maybe the netbook Trend will bring TM to XP in the future.
As for Vista itself. This is the first time I've actually used Vista for one of my personal PC's. So far it hasn't given me any major problems. (other than the Ghost boot wizard, which so far is the only program that crashed as was worked around.) It is definitely slower than XP. I would say that its responsiveness is similar to our last year R61's running XP (which have 2GB of ram and a slower 1.7GHz Core 2 processor.) It would definitely be slower if the TM Module were not installed in these PC's. It also eats three times the RAM at 1.4GB. So far however, It's been OK running on this Laptop since the specs are high. I'll know more a few months from now if it can redeem itself or prove all the naysayers right, but so far it's been a smooth ride.