I've just installed Windows Server 2008 on my Dell D830. It is just awesome!
For a start, the installation was as simple as it could get. This is the first time I've installed Windows Server 2008 on a non virtualized environment, so the 10 minutes and 2 dialogs installation was greatly appreciated.
It got most of the hardware running (except for Bluetooth). It did recognize the networking devices, wired and wireless, so I could get to the tuned drivers with great ease. Dell D830 doesn't support W2K8 yet, so I've installed Vista 64bit drivers. The Bluetooth drivers didn't work all the way, so I tried the Toshiba drivers (http://aps2.toshiba-tro.de/bluetooth/index.php?page=download) with success.
Windows Server 2008 experience as desktop is great. Most of the tweaking to Vistalize the user experience is pretty intuitive (Windows Server 2008 tends to be predictable and intuitive - Initial Configuration and Server Manager greatly simplify the process). Then all you have to do is follow http://www.win2008workstation.com/ to end up the tuning.
Three negative notes:
- it still sucks too much memory - from 450 to 750MB (depending on loaded devices and available memory?);
- Hyper-V's doesn't seem as desktopable as Windows 2008 Server;
- Hyper-V disables standby and hibernation, greatly lowering the laptop experience! :(
I'll try the 32 bit version on the next weekend. For the time being it seems easy to choose Windows Server 2008 64-bits for hardware with at least 4GB - the extra 512MB are recovered my mapping the hole 4GB. But some developers will rather have the extra 512MB XP gives them on a 2GB configuration.