After working on this last school assignment a serious performance flaw in my current PC was discovered: my box is S L O W
The problem orginated when trying to open and manipulate a very large SolidWorks file we recieved as reference material for a design project. This WAS an exceptional case: the assembly file was 1,500+ components and 24 MB. Our work to date has not been anywhere close to that size and complexity… but who knows what I will encounter in the future.
Secondly, when attempting to use Photoshop with very large and high-resolution layouts, well, it was very slow to do anything.
Current specs are: P3 1000 (256 cache, 133 mhz FSB), 700MB RAM (PC333 DDR  and PC400 DDR ), 40GB drive, and on-board graphics (couldn’t get my old 32mb card to work), four PCI slots.
To solve both problems I transfered the software and an extra 512 MB of ram to my mom’s computer: P4 2.66, 256(+512), onboard graphics, don’t have the rest of the specs with me. This machine could easily open and manipulate the large assembly file without breaking a silicon sweat. Photoshop performance was acceptable given the file size… but I wished it was faster. The project was finished and looked good, it just took an extra three hours swaping files and programs and crap
SO: what I am looking into now is upgrading my PC with a new mobo and processor. I’ll swap over the RAM, HD, CD, etc etc etc, and upgrade those items, if required, later on.
Also, video card. There’s so much out there I’m not sure where to look. This might be a future purchase depending on prices and where the market is going. Apparently AGP is dead and PCI-E rules? lol
Budget: yes, money will be tight. I don’t want to sacrifice performance or “upgradability” for the sake of saving $50, but I’m not looking for the latest and greatest. Plus no matter how little I spend on this my parents will bitch and complain.
What I’m doing with it: currently I’m using SolidWorks, Illustrator and Photoshop, plus other stuff that doesn’t strain the system. I’m not sure what other software I will encounter before school is done. The plan is to build something that will last me another 2 years (until grad) and still be able to keep pace, until I can spend some First Job money on another retrofit program.
Any help is appreciated! I’m not affraid of the technical jargon, I’d rather expand on what I know and learn how to tweak things to get the most performance. I’m willing to try overclocking, etc. I’ll most likely be doing this over the summer, which, for me, starts in two months
Oh, I’ll eventually design and make my own case. Don’t hold your breath.