you can publicly download and test the RC, it’s valid thru jun 2010 (starts nagging in march).
I installed the Ultimate 64 bit version (triple booting with XP-Ubuntu) and so far it looks, feels and works great, very fast, responsive and stable, pretty much like XP but it feels a bit more robust (I guess because it’s taking full advantage of the ram installed not as XP32bits that only recognizes/uses 3gb tops). It’s very much like Vista in terms of “looks”, but it doesn’t crash or hangs. Never been a Vista fan myself, but W7 is gonna be a good next step. I guess I’ll upgrade from XP to W7. Oh yes, the XP compatibility thing works great too, specially for games. Blender runs and compiles just fine. The only thing that is a bit annoying is not having the proper rights when installing everything to “Program Files” or “Program Files (x86)”, so better know which programs not to install there to have full access to them.
ps. Final note: all drivers were detected automatically. I just upgraded Nvidia’s to a specific W7 version to avoid a bug with leadwerks 3d engine.
ps2. For blender and yafaray to work properly in W7 you must install the regular 32bit Python packages, not the 64bit ones.