Last week, Microsoft began rolling out an updated test version of Windows XP Service Pack 3, which is widely expected to be a bug-fix/patch consolidation release. But according to some tests from the Devil Mountain Software group, the latest Windows XP update has proven to give a significant boost in terms of performance.

The test machine was a Dell XPS M1710 with 2GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, 1GB of RAM and nVidia GeForce Go 7900GS video. According to reports, testing with OfficeBench showed about a 10% performance boost versus the same configuration running under Windows XP SP2. The same tests were run under Windows Vista, which according to Devil Mountain Software's chief technology officer Craig Barth, is now more than two times slower than the most current builds of its older sibling.

This certainly is great news for XP owners, but may be a problem for Microsoft as it could further postpone the migration to Vista for some users.