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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [09.07.04]
Manufactured by: Microsoft

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After looking at the results, one thing is certain: You have more to gain than you to to lose by installing SP2.

Performance is for the most part identical to SP1, except in a few cases. In those cases, SP2 was actually faster! There were only one or two instances where SP1 was faster, and that was by the slimmest of margins.

What surprized me was how much gaming performance was increased by upgrading to SP2 and DirectX 9c! I was NOT expecting this, especially on the midrange x600 XT card we used for testing. Nonetheless, most games do benefit from the upgrade.

So with all the new security patches and features, and mostly increased performance, you have no reason NOT to install SP2.

Thankfully, Microsoft offers several means of obtaining and installing SP2. If you have automatic updates enabled, you probably already have it downloaded by now. If not, you can visit Windows Update to manually install it. The download size ranges from 70 to about 260 MB.

If you want to keep a local copy of SP2 on a CD or elsewhere, you can download the full SP2 package here. It will be around 260 MB, but Microsoft's servers are fast :)

Finally, if you are on a crap internet connection, and have no friends who are willing to burn a copy for you, you can order a CD directly from Microsoft. This is free of charge, although they say to expect it to take a few weeks to arrive.

I hope this convinces everyone to upgrade to SP2; this will surely help keep viruses and trojans at bay! It might not eliminate them, but every little bit helps.