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If you're still using Windows XP 32 bit version, there's no reason to add more RAM. If, however, you upgrade to Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (actually quite nice and not bad like Vista), Windows will be able to access all the RAM your motherboard can handle.
One problem though is that AE CS4 is still only a 32 bit program. It can make use of more RAM by launching multiple instances of itself during renders, but other than that there's not much you can do. Also, it sounds like you've got an old, slow processor too. You didn't say what ghz or even what manufacturer did your processor, but one dual-core processor is hardly enough.
I would highly suggest you go with your second option of getting a new computer. And upgrade to CS5.
At work I have dual quad-core Xeon processors with 16 GB of RAM and things work reasonably well in CS4.
Zaxwerks plugins are still rather slow because they can't make use of multiprocessing, but that's Zaxwerks' fault, not Adobe's.
For personal use with CS5 I just ordered a new HP Pavilion Elite (they have a big sale going on right now, I saved over $600) it has a six-core processor and 24 GB of RAM. I expect to have a ton of fun with it.
Go with as much processing power and RAM as you can afford. And, if you use HD footage in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, try to get a graphics card that can run the Mercury Playback engine.
Thanks. I will pass that info along to the powers that be here:)
Anyone else have spec / computer suggestions?? I need more than one to make my case. Thanks again
Great! Thanks again. I can only imagine that makes it case closed for
Thanks to both of you.