That's tough. If you had a dual-core CPU, I'd say getting more RAM is a no-brainer. You don't though, so I'm inclined to think a dual-core CPU will do more for you. Consider Shadow's point as well; money spent on DDR RAM is pretty much wasted. When you upgrade again later, perhaps soon, you can't realistically expect to re-use it.
Consider the requirements of the specific games and applications you run. Either upgrade can make a difference. In your place, I'd choose the CPU. Buying my first dual-core CPU was eye-opening.
i dont have a job, so i dont have money. but sooner .... I also want better performance on games,
Then save your $. Your system is two steps above a dead horse. An off the shelf $300 Circuit City Special is more powerful than what you could make your system achieve.
Save your $. And when you have enough $ to spend on a new system, the upgrade the Mother Board, CPU, RAM and Graphics card.
In the mean time, cut the background stuff running on your computer to free up the RAM and CPU to better perform. Won't be a huge increase, but it might be enough to last you till your $ position improves.
Sorry if I am a bit harsh, but I read the no job, no money and realized you are flogging your dying horse in hopes of creating a race horse. Save your $ and spend it wiser... next week , month or year.
I have to agree with the others: there's no viable upgrade path for you.
A new CPU is out of the question. Your board is Socket 939. The CPU you chose is Socket AM2 - no match. Finding new Socket 939 CPUs that would improve over your 2.4 Ghz is like mission impossible. You'd have to turn to ebay. Socket 939 are prohibitively expensive, even used ones. You'd be better off buying a new AM2 board + CPU and selling what you have.
More RAM would be an option. I wouldn't buy a Dual Channel kit, way too expensive. You already have 1 gig, so just get another 1 gig stick. You won't need more than 2 gig for games. But buying DDR memory now is a waste of money, since any AM2(+) mainboard you'll end up buying sooner or later won't support it.
Possessing a system that once had similar specs as yours I must say upping to 2GB of RAM did diddly squat for me. Finding a s939 dual core is impossible these days at reasonable prices, good luck if you plan to go that route.
I still have a couple of 939 systems I still use. True, A dual core would do you some good, what you have isn't exactly "dead" either. The best upgrade imo is to put more ram on that board. It'll help more than you think.
And ddr2 isn't dead either. Some of these guys think you have to have the newest or the best........ or even things that haven't been invented yet.
Do the memory upgrade, save some money and in 18 or 24 months when a truly affordable ( complete ) system upgrade comes your way, jump on it.
If I were you I would just wait. The games will still be there to play later on. I know you want to play newer stuff with better game play and graphics, but you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes.. Unfortunately.
My opinion is neither. A good HDD upgrade usually boosts performance more than a CPU or RAM. If you are having stuttering issues, you might want to consider RAM. Since you have XP, the MAX I recommend is 2GB. (By performance, I don't mean all programs, but generally speaking, most people have fairly crap HDDs in their system, the biggest reason why they have slow boot times, slow application load times, and most importantly slow work throughput times.)
All of that considered, if you are thinking of an upgrade, you will need more than just either a CPU or RAM.
60 dollars for 2gb memory is not that big of an investement, however, u could get a a mother board,cpu, and 2gigs of memeory for about 60 to 80 dollars more. I would save the extra money so your not kicking yourself for not being patient.