I have a Intel Cor2 Quad Q9550 @ 2.83Ghz PC with 4 GB DDR2-800 RAM on a ASRock P45TurboTwins2000 with 500GB Samsung 16MB Cache, 7200 RPM SATA2 drive, 2 x ATI Radeon HD3650 Crossfire w/ 1GB DDR2 VRAM (16GB/s), 2 x 22" Viewsonic Widescreen LCDs, and Windows XP SP3.
One performance test I ran (I know these are subjective) are: Intel Rank My PC which I scored a 8.1 out of 10.0 against a Intel® Core™ i7-940 Processor with 12GB and a NVIDIA Quadro FX4800 which scored a 9.0. The three categories my PC underperformed were: Create and Share Videos - 8.4 vs 9.6/10 and Music and Movies on the Go - 7.8/10 vs 9.1.
To improve these scores, I am curious as to what I should be upgrading? Here are my thoughts:
1) Improve RAM from 4GB DDR-800 to 8GB DDR3-1333 for $150
2) Add a Kingston SSDNow V-Series 30GB Internal SATA2 Drive as a boot-up for $90 (Based on research, I would also need to install Windows 7 OS 64-bit to reduce wear and tear on SSD drive, another $75).
3) Add 2 x ATI Radeon HD5670 w/ 1GB GDDR5 (64GB/s) for $160
4) Buy a new Intel Core i7 950 @ 3.06GHz + ASRock X58 Extreme 3 for $540 + 8GB DDR3-1333 for $150 + Windows 7 OS 64-bit for $75 = $765
Here are my thoughts on the CPU upgrade: According to PassMark's CPU Benchmarks and Tom's Hardware CPU Charts, the CPU upgrade should give me a ~50% boost in CPU processing. But, it's the most expensive option and I don't know if I will get the most BANG for my buck or the least compared to the 3 cheaper upgrades.
What do you use your computer for, and where do you find it lacking?
I use to play MMORPG online, but I don't anymore. Mostly, I surf, edit photos, watch and edit HD videos, listen to music, and occasionally, I'll play a 3D game.
The biggest bottleneck is transferring data or keeping multiple windows open while surfing, watching/editing videos, and listening to music.
I do have 3 TB of pics/movies/music/games on separate external hard drives that I like to move back and forth, so I've thought about upgrading to a USB 3.0 card or a motherboard with USB 3.0 and SATA-3 600, which I believe is faster than Firewire 800 and USB 2.0.
If you're hitting a bottleneck moving files, the only thing that will help would be to move to a USB 3.0 enclosure to open up some of that bandwidth and get the files moving faster.
As for keeping multiple windows open? 4GB of RAM should be plenty, and you have a nice quad core. Judging by your HDD it's probably 2 250GB platters. I'd probably invest in a 40-60GB SSD to see the biggest gain in overall snappiness of the system.
But like I said, I'd also get a new external enclosure for the external HDDs to get them to USB 3.0 (also a USB 3.0 controller card if your motherboard doesn't have USB 3.0, which for that chip it obviously doesnt)