Vista SP2 update sent to testers, but is it really an RC?

What really, really looks like a release candidate for Windows Vista Service Pack 2 -- which first entered beta in December -- is officially being called an "update" this afternoon, after Microsoft declined to give it a more formal title.

A Microsoft spokesperson kinda, sorta confirmed to Betanews this afternoon the release of "an update to Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 SP2 testers, in an effort to gain additional feedback." The company appears to be officially declining to call it a release candidate, although Ars Technica's Emil Protalinski unearthed evidence yesterday that this is exactly what it is.

Whatever it is, SP2 for both the client and server operating systems should include "rollups" of security hotfixes issued since last March.

While the Microsoft spokesperson told us that the company is continuously engaging with its partners and developers, there's a distinct lack of chatter about Build 6002 -- widely believed to be the first RC build -- on the TechNet Forums where testers using Microsoft Connect generally gather. A few exceptions were recent posts from testers having trouble uninstalling their existing SP2 builds, which is what they would want to do first before installing the latest builds. Most likely, a select group of testers is officially receiving this build now, and the broader-based Connect group will be made aware later.

In early tests a few weeks ago, Cameron Wilmot and the folks at TweakTown got an early peek at Build 6002, and their performance results were actually not very impressive at all. Though load times did improve for some tests, and frame rates for rendering a few games like Crysis improved dramatically -- sometimes more than double -- overall performance scores like PCMark Vantage were actually marginally slower for Build 6002 over Vista SP1 -- by less than one percent.

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