Increasing performance of computer for 3ds max and rendering

Hello, I would like some advice for how to make my computer better for working with 3ds max and the render times in it.

My computer is has:
Intel core 2 duo CPU 2.33 GHz
RAM 4.0 GB (was 2GB)
ATI XFX Graphic card (was a basic one that kept crashing)
I know some people say ATI sucks but the other one was worse. I am willing to spend about $400 on each upgrade, maybe more.
What upgrades would help? and which one would be most effective.
Any help would be apprecaited. :D
3 answers Last reply
More about increasing performance computer rendering
  1. CPU upgrade would be the most important.
    Which ATI card do you have? that are tons of different models on the market.
    What motherboard do you have? That determines what CPUs can run in your system.

    What is the make and model of your PSU? Need to have enough power for all those upgrades.
  2. Also what OS is being used, 32-bit or 64-bit?

    Will you be using the 32-bit or 64-bit version of 3ds Max?
  3. ^+1 for above 2 posts. We need more info. Also answer these:

    1. How big are the renderings?

    2. Which version of 3DS Max (ie 3DS Max 2010,etc)? 32 or 64 bit?

    3. Do you use any CUDA accelerated plug ins such as Ruins?

    4. Max total Budget? Do you need a new LCD?

    5. Is this for pro level work?
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