I'm new to Tom's community so I'm not sure if this is the right forum to post to. My apoligies if it isn't.
I have a system that is a little over 2 years old consisting of:
PROCESSOR AMD New Athlon(Thunderbird) Processor at 1.4GHz, 266MHz FSB, 256K Cache
MAIN BOARD Shuttle AK31 Rev.2 VIA KT-266 4X AGP Socket A 200/266MHZ FSB UDMA-100 DDR Support
MEMORY 256MB PC-2100 DDR 266MHz Memory
HARD DRIVE 40GB Ultra DMA 100 Hard Drive
VIDEO eVGA Nvidia Geforce 2 MX-400 64MB Video Card
CASE Medium Tower AMD Certified 350W ATX Case
OS Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
It is used for general tasks such as email, internet browsing, MP3 playing and burning, kids games, etc. Also note that it is used by multiple family members so we make heavy use of WinXP user switching. I'm becoming increasingly displeased with the amount of time it takes to switch between users, start programs, and restart minimized programs so I'm looking for information on what I can do to improve the performance for the least amount of $$.
Can someone please provide guidance on the simplist things that can be done to improve performance (i.e. add more memory), how much improvement can be the expected if those things are done, and finally what upgrade options do I have with my current case and motherboard (i.e, can I just throw a newer Athlon XP processor on my current motherboard).
Windows XP is taking up most of your memory thats why its so sluggish. If your looking for a performance increase for cheap then you should get a 512mb PC2100 stick in there and should be just fine for what your needs are.
P4 2.8c - 226mhz x 14 // 2x256 OCZ Dual Platinum PC3200 @ 226hmz x 2 // Asus P4P800 // Vantec Aeroflow // 6x80mm air cooled // Ati 9500Pro
Large modules have gotten fairly cheap, especially the "slow" PC2100 stuff. For Windows XP you should have at least 512MB regardless of what Intel said. You could add a 256 and have 512 total, or add a 512 and have 768MB total.
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Also if its generally sluggish you might want to reformat if you havent done so for a long time. Stuff tends to accumulate and bog windows down. If you think that is a bit extreme then atleast try using adaware, then regseeker and then defragging, because that usually clears it out quite well.