daybreaker wrote:...it's a digital village i got back in 2004
daybreaker wrote:It's spec is pentium p4 3gb cpu 800 with an intel D865perl 800fsb board, with a seagate 120gb 7200rpm H/D 8mb cache( the H/D getting on to nearly 80% full). I have an external drive which i keep movies and backup stuff on, but it's very noisy and creates backgound noise, so i don't use it when creating music. My soundcard is a fairly old EMU DSP one, not the best, but have been happy with sound i've been getting, just frustrated at the limited amount of instruments i've been able to play at the same time and the polyphony limitations aswell. I've been bouncing some stuff but find it sometimes lacks the quality of the original sound. Another thing i'm not too sure about is i'm a bit skint at the moment and may only be able to afford 2gb of ram straight away...my board has 4 slots, 2 of which have the 512mb in already...Can i add 2 1gb to the other 2 slots or do the ram boards all have to be of equal size? (i.e 2x1gb, 4x1gb, 4x512mb...).
Well, it can't *hurt* performance to upgrade the ram, but the money may be better spent getting an updated machine (or saving for one), instead of sinking *any* money into a machine that's ~6years old. That said, you can go ahead and upgrade for not too much. It sounds like you have a top of the stack single-core Pentium 3GHz chip on an 800MHz FSB Intel D865 based board. That board
seems to accept up to 4GB of RAM, 1GB per slot. To achieve dual-channel mode (full-speed) you need to have matching sized ram in every other slot. So if you have slots     then you'll want to have matching ram in 0 & 2, and/or 1 & 3. Basically it's best to utilize as few slots as you can- it'll run faster if you have 2x512MB sticks instead of 4x256MB sticks, even though it's still 1GB total. If you have 1GB of RAM now, it most likely is 2x512MB sticks, hopefully placed in slots 0 & 2. If it's 1x1GB stick, or in 0 & 1 slots, the RAM can only run at half-speed, and will definitely bottleneck you.
That said, 2x1GB stick kits are around $60 online (here: http://j.mp/h8hDYD
). Just buy quantity 2 of of them which gets you 4 1GB sticks if you'd like to max it out. I'd probably recommend that, unless that isn't financially possible for ya. I highly recommend the online ordering over say a BestBuy, but they actually have a same priced option (here: http://j.mp/fcr68U
), but also seems to only be available online. So you'll pay tax & shipping through them (unless you live in Delaware.) Bestbuy typically mark up RAM to around double, or more than double the price in store. If you'd like to shop it around, you are seeking a 2GB (2x1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Desktop Memory Kit. Buying 4 individual 1GB sticks usually will cost more, since kits are more popular.
Then you'll know if you've been hitting a memory wall, or if it really is the processor that is bottle-necking you. Without new hardware, you can also try wiping and reinstalling Windows, which may get rid of some offeding piece of malware, registry errors, or something else that's causing latency issues. As far as the sound card related to sound production, there are far more wise folks on that topic then me. :)