It might interest you to know that Blender2.45 renders 3X faster than Blender 2.49, (in my tests.)
I haven’t made renders with blender in a long time since I started playing with the game engine, and I felt that blender was taking an extra long time to render a simple scene.
So I made some test and these are my results.
Its all been pretty good up until this point, then something happens
Here’s the file http://www.pasteall.org/blend/687
It was made in 2.49.
It would be cool to see your own test file and render times.
If you are rendering a huge scene and it take a long time, try it in blender 2.45 and see how much faster it is and post the results.