Alright, I've messed around with this since yesterday, and here are some of my observations:
Windows Vista System Performance Rating: 3
Processor Rating - Pentium M 2.0GHz: 3.5
Memory(RAM) - 512MB: 3.5
Primary Hard Disk - 24.44GB: 3.5
Graphics - GeForce Go 6800: 3.6
Gaming Graphics - 256MB Graphics Memory: 4.7
Does not show Dell as the system manufacturer (shows unknown)
System Model also shows unknown.
Adobe Reader 7.0 - Installs fine.
Aim Triton - Does NOT work. Period. A popup shows saying there's a known compatibility problem with AIM.
Audio Drivers - Install works if run in XP SP2 Compatibility Mode.
Dell Quickset - Install works if run in XP SP2 Compatibility Mode, volume display doesn't change, brightness works correctly.
DivX 6.2 - Installs fine.
I8kfangui - Works fine, but the hard drive temperature does not show up.
I9kfangui - Kind of works, I can't get the program to run correctly though.
Intervideo WinDVD 7 Platinum - Installs and works fine.
Office 2007 Beta 2 - Install takes forever, but does work, couple of graphical glitches initially.
Perfect Disk 7 - Does not install at all (error shows up saying it only works with 2000, XP and Server 2003).
Windows Live Messenger Beta - Installs but does not work, program locks up when trying to log in.
WinRAR v3.3 - Installs and works fine, also adds itself to the shell correctly too.
Yahoo Messenger - Works fine, but has a few graphical glitches
So far, my initial impressions are mixed. It runs pretty good so far, even with 512MB of RAM, but I think that might be my main problem as far as performance goes. There are several processes that appear to hang up when installing or running (CPU stays at 100%), but eventually will finish if you give it enough time (except AIM and Live Messenger Beta). Office 2007 seems like it took about 10mins to install overall. It looked like it hung up halfway through the installation process but finished after a while. The 3D performance and effects run pretty smoothly, but some of the lagging may be due to a lack of RAM. Overall compatibility is definately mixed, so I'm not sure what to say about it. I plan on providing beta testing feedback to Microsoft as soon as i can figure out where to do it lol.
My initial impression with the OS is mixed as well though. The user interface is definately very nice, and the graphical effects are nice as well. However, stability (it is pretty stable) and compatibility will prevent this from being my main OS for a while. Until some of those compatibility issues are resolved I'll just keep beta testing it and switching back and forth between Vista and XP.
I also don't really understand the performance ratings either. My GPU had the lowest rating out of the 5 categories, but I didn't think it was actually "slow". I refreshed the rating and it went from a 3.0 to a 3.6. I'm not very sure about what changed though. However, for my system, in the Performance Rating and Tools section, I have 4 Performance Issues: Drivers are interfering with Windows entering sleep mode, Drivers are causing Windows to start slowly, Startup programs are causing Windows to start slowly, Programs are causing Windows to shut down slowly.
I'll take a look at the performance issues and see what it recommends for a solution, and I'll update everyone. For those who are wondering, I'm using the nVidia ForceWare 88.61 Vista drivers, with the modified INF file from laptopvideo2go.com. Has anyone had better performance with another driver or used different drivers?