Windows Vista SP1 RC could go public in mid-December
Foley's sources tell her that Microsoft will be sending out the SP1 RC to beta testers next week with a public release available in mid-December. Of course, while a release candidate is a step above beta software, Microsoft hasn't deigned to call this a full release, which means early adopters are taking their computers into their own hands. There's no guarantee against data loss or other problems.
Of course, given the problems many users have reported when upgrading from XP to Vista, we totally understand if you want to get SP1 as soon as possible. The operating system update reportedly includes a number of reliability and compatibility improvements that should improve performance with whatever hardware you happen to be using. On the other hand, don't expect too much in the way of a speed boost from this service pack. Microsoft didn't promise one, and it doesn't look like they delivered one.