So I just tested the render speed of Blender 2.5 Beta3, which is the new Official Blender Foundation release. I'd read some comments about it being slower than builds off GraphicAll.org, so I decided to test it out. I used Beta 3 (obviously) and 2.52svn30180. Both are 32bit, since I'm running 32bit Windows Vista.
I used the default scene, no modifications to the lighting or render size, etc., and used NRK's Cloud Generator on the default cube as my test model.
It gave out the exact same render, with almost identical render times:
Blender 2.52 svn30180 – 36.41s
Blender 2.53 (aka Beta 3) – 36.38s
pretty similar, though Beta 3 wins by 0.03s ;)
then, since the render times were so similar, i decided to re-test, but with a more complex scene. In this case I used my Frublaz Scene, which has 216,362 vertices when rendered.
Blender 2.52 svn30180 – 7m 58.60s
Blender 2.53 (aka Beta 3) – 6m 47.96s
so Beta 3 wins by a long shot...or a hookshot, one of the two ;) i mean, 1min faster is quite a lot
well, that's it...i'm off to test some more new features :D