I have a 7 year old Dell Precision 360 Workstation and I'm wondering if it's worth upgrading or would I be better off putting the money towards buying a new machine. This would be for professional video editing using AVID, and intensive Photoshop work.
It's got a reasonable soundcard, and a firewire card, and I added a second hard drive not so long ago (250GB) and I know I could double (at least?) the current 1GB memory.
But what about the proccesor and graphics cards which are:
Pentium 4 - 3.00GHz
NVIDIA Quadro FX 500 - 128Mb
And are there any other components which could be upgraded to boost performance?
I know that you must have spent a lot of money for your Precision 360 (if you bought it new), but I can't see how spending more at this point is worthwhile.
Based on Moore's Law (performance improves by 2X every 18 months) an equivalent new system is 25=32 times more powerful that your 7 year old system! And you would have a hard time sourcing a CPU and memory for your existing system (most likely you will need to buy used stuff off eBay).
If you are serious about "professional video editing and Photoshop" work, you are going to need massive amounts of memory (I suggest at least 12GB). And there is no way of using more than 4GB without a 64 bit O/S. No 64bit CPU exists that would fit your Precision 360.
I suggest you look at the XPS 9100. I will hold up to 24GB of RAM! But 4GB memory DIMMs are very dear, so I would start with 12GB. This unit is much cheaper than a new Precision and will do the job quite well.
What a coincidence! I'm actually upgrading a Precision 360 from 512M to 2.5G of memory. This customer is a musician who normailly does sound editing, watches videos on Youtube.com and uses Corel Draw v.11.
Since his memory upgrade I'm installing Ubuntu GNU/Linux (v.12.04.1_i386) with Audacity (for sound editing), Firefox/Chrome for Youtube videos and VLC for any other videos he wants/needs to view. For Corel Draw v.11 I'm installing Inkscape which works perfectly well with Corel (*.cdr) files.
He could buy another machine but then he'd have to reinstall from CDs, etc ... Linux doesn't have these issues. All the software is cost free!