i have the 9300 with x300 128mb 2gb M1.6 and vista works real nice with it. HOWEVER, I don't game, and there are some compatibility issues with a few software I'm using (have to wait for vista software upgrades).
curious to know, how much was the repair bill for the first job? And how much do they want for the second job? The 9550 is pretty old, i have the 9300 (hooked up to stereo now). You could probably just buy a low end laptop for the amount...
the research is already done. Go to Tom's Hardware website, the article is there. Basically, when you get to 2GB, the additional gain is teeny. It's a huge gain if you only have 512MB ram, and good at 1Gb ram.
I have ultimate on my 9300.. the SD card slot driver was installed upon initial install automatically. The only driver that didn't install automatically was the conexant modem, which I fixed by using the XP driver.