It is wholly and completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand
whether or not a certain change in the kernel only affects certain
customers, but not regular consumers. Even if a change only affected
Major Tom, the end result is still that your thread count metric
should notice it. Seeing that it doesn't notice the changes that I
highlighted, it seems pretty clear to me that your thread count
metric is flawed. That's just my opinion though - we'll see what our
respective readerships think.
This is unrelated to whether or not the changes that I mentioned
really are, as you say, only relevant to datacenters. The
improvements made to the kernel that allow it to scale up to 256
processors are bound to be accompanied by changes to SMP in and of
itself, which most certainly does affect basically every newly bought
computer today (apart from the mobile Intel Atom, are there even
single core machines being sold?). Changes in the memory manager
obviously affect customers too, since memory management is one of the
most basic and important functions of a kernel.
But the change that is most certainly going to affect *every* user of
Windows is MinWin (by lack of a better name). By eliminating upward
calls, and by untangling the web of dependencies in the very core of
Windows, Microsoft will be able to make changes to these core
elements in an easier fashion, without causing as many breakage in
parts higher up the stack. I don't know in what possible universe
that is not seen as an improvement. This could benefit every user -
maybe not right away, but it will, in the future.
Let's move on the next point you wish to discuss. I'll be clear: I
don't need to prove that Vista's performance has improved between
RTM, and now. Others have already done so for me, and I trust those
people a whole lot more than my own perceptions.
For instance, a major source of problems during Vista's early days
was the instability and immaturity of Vista's graphics drivers, which
needed to conform to a new driver model (compared to XP). Benchmarks
suggest that these problems have been ironed out, and that Vista's
graphics performance has increased (as of SP1) to the level of
Windows XP  - this was written in May 2008, and we've already seen
more updates and fixes since then.
Another, much more detailed and elaborate benchmark comes from
AnandTech, who professionally benchmarked Vista SP1 after its release
, and concluded that it improved boot/shutdown times, and fixed
the extremely aggravating and utterly braindead 'file copying bug', a
bug that contributed to a large degree to the overall feeling that
Vista was slow. They also note that Vista's performance had improved
steadily during the first year after its release, with bug fixes,
patches, and other updates.
There are countless other reviews and reports that clearly state that
Vista has improved over time, but I won't detail them all. These
articles are mostly published after the release of SP1, so they do
not take the patches and updates since then into account   .
These are just some random plucks off the net, there are many more.
Add to this my own personal experiences - I run Vista on my Aspire
One netbook these days, something which would've caused me nightmares
during the RTM days. In addition, even some of the most avid Vista
detractors on OSNews have admitted that Vista has indeed seen
performance improvements since its release.
I'm ready to move to the next point on your list.
 http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2302495,00.asp<br />
 http://www.anandtech.com/systems/showdoc.aspx?i=3233&p=1<br />
 http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2192546,00.asp<br />
 http://techreport.com/articles.x/14463<br />