Three things will give that PC a boost.
1.) Up the RAM to the max it will support. You will definately see an improvement.
2.) Get a new, faster, 7,200 RPM HD as the boot drive. If you add a slave make sure it is 7,200 RPM also. See my discussion here http://forums.cnet.com/5208-6142_102-0.html?forumID=44&threadID=276879&messageID=2660652#2660652
3.) You already have this one, the new video card.
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I've read a lot on various forums here, and I think I know how I want to move ahead, but just want to get some feedback from others.
My computer system is a little old.
HP Pavillion 734n; Model number: DA192A
Windows XP Home (service pack 2)
AMD Athlon 2400+
Motherboard: FIC AM37
Hard drive: 80GB Ultra DMA 5400 rpm
Memory: 512 PC2100 DDR SDRAM
Video: nVIDIA GeForce4 MX 420
I've had no problems using it. Well, that's not really true. I've had lots of little problems. But never had to completely reconfigure or anything. It has served us fine for what we use it for (surfing the web, some word processing, some game play [mostly older games], watching the occasional movie, pretty basic stuff).
We bought a new digital camcorder recently. We bought one that uses miniDV tapes (based on advice in the CNET camcorder forum, and some other reviews). We plan on keeping the DV tapes as the storage back-up. But we also want to be able to do some editing and recording to DVDs via the computer. The computer has a firewire connection, so we can use that to connect to the camcorder.
I don't plan on doing a lot of editing, but adjusting/fixing a good number of 1-hour home videos is likely. They will not be stored on the computer, just edited there.
Right now (after doing a bunch of clean-up on the hard drive), I have about 20GB of open space (30%). I know, though, that one DV tape converts to about 13GB of space. So, even though not storing, I am concerned that, when I start doing this, my computer will struggle because it will have less than 10% of the HDD available. And, over time, I probably will continue to take up more space on my HDD.
So, I am thinking of adding a second internal HDD. I have space for it, and an 80 wire connector to add another IDE drive.
I'm really looking to do only what I need to to keep things running fairly smoothly with the new planned operations on the computer. So I know that people recommend going to SATA, but it seems to me that, since I am not looking for a huge boost in performance, another IDE drive would be fine (as far as I can tell after looking at the motherboard and it's manual, I do NOT have a SATA connection, or I would go with SATA ... I am planning on sticking with IDE to save the $30+ for the adapter). My current HDD is a Seagate, so I was thinking of adding another 80GB Seagate drive. This semes like, for the near future, it will be plenty of space for us. And, although I don't plan on doing it now (because the motherboard is not RAID compatible and would require an adapter to be purchased), it looks like if I need performance boost in the future, I could get a RAID adapter and it would be better to have two of the same size drives from the same manufacturer (I don't think I can actually get identical drives).
I thought about also adding 512 of memory (I have an open slot), but reading here it does not seem like that will really help.
I am getting a newer video card (with 256 memory), because I did get a somewhat newer game that won't work on my current one.
Given the purpose (ability to edit home digital video), and the current system ... does this seem to be a decent idea? Pointless? Or needs something else to be effective?