Re: Computer shopping.
About all I run on computers is Peachtree Accounting, Excel, and Freecell, and of course, play internet when no one is looking.
Some of the quarterly and annual tax reports are excruciatingly slow. Would this indicate I need more processor speed, or a faster hard drive?
Speed is usually first limited by RAM and CPU, a fast hard drive usually only makes a difference for a small subset of computer use.
CPU usually makes the biggest difference for intense computing, especially graphics and video games and video editing rely heavily on the CPU.
RAM makes more of a difference with office work and multitasking and due to the big difference in price between CPU and RAM is almost always the clear leader in bang for buck.
I don't know the accounting program you use, but the others could use RAM more so than CPU.
Let me expound just a little on that. A 3.0 to a 3.8 on 512 MB of RAM isn't going to make as much of a difference as 512 MB to 1 GB of RAM on a 3.0 box.
The CPU upgrade would also be much more expensive.
My top priority is reliablity. I've had to manually recover lost data after program and computer failures. It just ruins my day(s).
Software issues aren't a hardware problem, but do note that frankenstein computers often have more hardware and software (e.g. driver) conflicts than do computers from companies like Dell et al.
I think my budget is going to be somewhere between $800.00 and $1,500.00.
I'd go for 3.0+ in processor and at least 1 GB of RAM in this configuration. A decent video card will also help a lot.