We are currently winding down the development phase of Inkscape 0.49. We have no estimates currently about when it will be released. However, this does mean that we will be putting out test builds and holding an About Screen contest in the near future. We will keep you posted.
In the meantime, if you're interested in some changes that have happened since 0.49, check out:
wiki.inkscape.org/wiki/index.p… (note: not all changes or new features have been documented yet)
On behalf of the Inkscape development team,
I have an i7-2600K processor and 8GB RAM. Currently I use Inkscape r12605 build. I've found the multi-core setting, set it to 8, restarted program... And it changed nothing at all. The files I open render sluggishly, even if I hide blurred shapes. More than that, if I open the very same file in Inkscape 0.48.4, it renders a bit faster than in the r12605 build. That's odd.
I use Windows 7, btw. Not sure if it matters though.