@ 'Windows O/S are so slow because they forever thrash the HDD to death with the swap file...'
That just looks like you don't have enough RAM for the OS or what your doing on the system. Windows should only need to use the swap file if there isn't enough system RAM available.
Granted Windows isn't very good at managing swap memory when it needs to use it, but as long as you've got enough memory in your system, it shouldn't need to use swap memory.
The swap space is only there as a backup for exceptional circumstances, to stop your system from falling over because you've run too many apps at the same time or some app has decided it needs more memory than you actually have installed.
If your system is using swap all the time, then you need to get the system sorted out first.
I'm at work now using an XP Laptop, Got Word, Excel, Lotus Notes, IE, Firefox, half a dozen explorer windows, UltaEdit and two other bespoke apps all running at the same time (I rarely close an app once I've opened it) and the swap file hasn't been touched since I booted up this morning. 840MB of 2GB still fee.
@Ken Hagan: Fully agree about your comments around memory being more important than processor speed. It amazes me how many people buy PC's that are essentially crippled from new because the supplier wanted to shave 10 quid of the selling price (or increase their margins) and only supply the system with 512MB rather than 1GB of memory.
The amount of people who've brought Laptops to me to look at, because they are running really slow, to find out they've only got 20MB of memory or less free after just booting up, either because the system didn't have enough to start with, or they've got too much crap loading on boot, or both. £20 spent 2GB of memory and a bit of a clean up of the system and they think they've got a brand new machine, because it's finally running as the speed it should have been running at in the first place!
For me, if you using XP, 1GB should be your minimum for light work, 2GB min for heavier work. Vista or newer 2GB min, and when you consider that 2GB of memory is typically less that £20, even for Laptop memory, there really is no excuse for crippling your own machine by skimping on it. Even if your a gamer, 2GB of decent branded SLI memory is still only around £40-£50.
Even Linux appreciates the extra memory (I dual boot my PC's) :-)