Microsoft announced today the release of Windows XP SP3 RC1 (Is that enough acronyms for you?)
If you are a Technet, or MSDN subscriber you can download it now
I have started testing it with a fresh XP install. No big changes over SP2. No speed increase or decrease either. It includes all of the latest hotfixes and patches so once this thing is released it will reduce your setup time for new XP machines considerably.
I will continue to test, and let you know if I find anything noteworthy about this release.