I installed Xubuntu on my Dell Vostro 1000 approximately 3 months ago, primarily for the performance gains. The laptop came with Vista, I don't need to explain any more and XP wasn't much better.
I know this laptop isn't the best thing in the world but even now, on Xubuntu, I'm just not seeing the performance I would expect. The laptop is now at 9.04.
Below is a copy/paste of the free command after a fresh reboot:
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 433268 402044 31224 0 12560 144944
-/+ buffers/cache: 244540 188728
Swap: 1293192 0 1293192