I am hesitating on which of two desktops to upgrade for my home recording studio, and am looking for some feedback into the two solutions I am contemplating. The two main uses I need the upgrade to address are: 1) virtual instruments, which use huge sound libraries and audio samples (example, BFD Drums and Vienna Symphonic), and 2) audio effect inserts like reverb, which are cumulatively quite taxing on CPU.
My options are:
Dell Dimension 8250
Pentium 4, 2.8GHz
Upgrade to 1.5GB PC1066 RDRAM
Cost: app. $340
Dell Optiplex GX 260
Pentium 4, 1.8GHz
Upgrade to 2GB of DDR333 PC2700 SDRAM
Cost: app. $130
Both computers are on Windows XP Pro, and both would be dedicated to music recording (primarily pro tools 6.4)
I have seen a lot of reviews online about how RDRAM was disappointing, but what makes me hesitate is that currently both machines, having been wiped and reinstalled in very similar ways, are running with 512MB of RAM, but the Dimension is noticeably faster, even with the most basic applications. In addition, I have already been recording on the Dimension and it performs very well in spite of the relatively small amount of memory it currently has.
Therefore, somehow I feel like the combination of 2.8GHz and RDRAM is worth more than the extra 512MB of SDRAM I could get on the Optiplex with a 1.8GHz CPU, in spite of saving $200.. Does that make sense?
I could also upgrade the Dimension to 2GB of RDRAM, but that would be getting too costly for what it is -- for that price I might as well purchase a new system entirely. Given my budget, the 1.5 upgrade seems optimal to me at least for the medium term. Any thoughts, insights or suggestions?