I installed Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate edition onto my test box at work. The box consists of an Asus P5QL-Pro mobo, Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 at 3.00ghz, 8GB of Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 RAM, an EVGA 8600GT and a Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 7,200RPM hard drive.
With a full install of Windows from DVD...the process took 15:04 from power button to logon screen. At the first logon, my Windows 7 box was running 32 processes, and was consuming 10% of my physical memory. The total RAM was 8191, Cached was 845, Available was 7244 and Free was 6322. So, that comes out to less than 1GB of RAM being used.
My boot time breakdown is 25.6 seconds from power button press to "Starting Windows". From there, it's 19 seconds to the logon screen. So, my total time from power button press to logon is between 44.0 and 44.9 seconds over 5 tests. The time to power off said box is between 7.8 and 8.5 seconds.
The hard drive space used was 22,622,601,216 bytes. However, the hiberfil.sys file was 6,290,772KB and the pagefile.sys by default was 8,387,696KB. So, by eliminating the hiberfil.sys file (powercfg -h off), I dropped to 16,178,061,312. And if I turned off the pagefile (which I don't actually recommend), it dropped to 7,594,749,952.
Comparing this to Ubuntu 10.10 on the same hardware.
Install time to the same hardware from power button press to logon screen: 12:36
After first logon, memory being used was 312MB
The boot time from Grub to logon screen was 12.9 seconds
The total install size was 2.1GB on the hard drive.
The time from poweroff to the power going out: 3.8 seconds.
Out of the box, Ubuntu provides me with
--half a dozen games (Mahjong, Mines, Sudoku, Solitaire)
--scanning application and shotwell photo manager
--instant messenger, evolution mail, firefox, gwibber social client, torrent client, remote desktop client
--open office suite
--CD/DVD burning app, music player, video player
--almost no need for virus, spyware, malware, and registry cleaner tools
--free to download 640MB installer package for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
And the best part of Ubuntu is that it's all free. So, while I keep a Windows 7 box at home for other things.....Ubuntu is a great choice for my secondary systems and systems for my kids who just use it to surf the web. It's just not worth spending $200+ on a second copy of Windows.
Note: Both Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.10 worked out of the box with my video card, sound card, DVD drive, network card, etc. No additional 3rd party drivers were necessary.