I know there have been crash problems with Render, but I've pretty much eliminated that based on Fred's suggestion on the mailing list.
Given all that, how does everybody here feel about Render in its current state? I did some tests last night on the character that I tested AutoRig on (Tim Wilson's old "Strongman" humanoid), and was very pleasantly surprised by the speedup and quality of the render. I was rendering single frames at D1, one Panel light (quality 3, I think) with raytraced/volumetric shadows on, GI on both Monte Carlo and Hybrid, and was getting renders of 45 seconds or so on a ~1.75GHz AthlonXP with 1gb of ram.
I know Lightwave's renderer is top-notch, but it seems to require an awful lot of work to get the noise out of GI renders *and* get reasonable render times. I really like the GI look, and really liked how easy it was to set up in earlier Advance releases - but it was SLOW. Rev9 really seems to have fixed that, so I'm really starting to lean towards rendering in messiah now, as well. The look I'm going for is a combination of comic style (not cel-shaded) and clay, and the GI out of messiah looks like it might really do the trick.
While I have a free upgrade to LW8 coming, I honestly don't know how much I'll end up using it (I did like getting DFX+ for $499, though!). My workflow is VERY non-traditional - I'm modeling in ZBrush (and SketchUp for mechanical/architectural in the very near future), exporting OBJs, then loading into Modeler to assign surfaces and such, scale properly, etc., then animating in messiah. It's starting to look like the animation data might not be making a return trip to LW after all..................