I am a a graphics artist, I consider myself a power user.
I have photoshop, flash and 3ds max open almost all the time. and when they are not open, I am playing unreal tournament 2004. I was thinking of upgrading my system:
cpu - 3800+ X2
mobo - DFI lanparty nf4
gpu - 7800GTX
hdd - dunno what would be the best setup yet - I wanna get high performance when using photoshop, i want the OS to run fast as far the the hardrive is concerned and I need storage space as well, but not that much.
you can see where im going with this,
if anyone has better suggestions for cpu, mobo or any of the above, plz do. I was also thinking of maybe going for a raid level 0 setup, but im not sure if its for me or not.
waiting for some replys.
the upgraded CPU and Mainboard will be the best to improve your performance of load times and stuff as well as render times and image manipulation.
you've got sufficient ram as far as i can tell.
if you really want to edge out the performance of windows and software load times. Invest in a Western Digital Raptor Drive. the 74Gig 10,000Rpm drive has bene proven to dramatically increase performance and decrease load times.
as for going to the 7800, as of now going from the 6800GT to the 7800 will net you some improvements in the most latest games. But Unreal Tourny 2004 already will play at the maximum performance and highest settings on the 6800GT. you won't get ANY increase in gaming. and as far as I know it really won't make a huge difference in 3DS Max. save the money and perhaps go with a fast variant of the X2 like the 4000 or 4200
I'm assuming 4x256 is still 1gig. With that setup you should be able to get your northwood p4 to 3.5 totally stable w/out dangerous voltage. At least thats what mine was at. Going dual core might help with some renders, but the Raptor would be the way to go for immediate difference.