Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your system is ready for a complete overhaul. Get a new system. At the moment you purchased it, it may have been a reasonable gaming machine with all the HP crap and iTunes and the like installed, but with an integrated video card with only 128 MB memory, this is, in the CS4 era, seriously taxing your editing experience.
Get a new system.... and avoid having crap installed. When you buy a complete system, start by reformatting and only installing what you need. This avoids all the crap that is usually included with the system and that causes so much trouble.
Read about it in the following guides:
If you only edit DV you may get by with your current system, but it is not enough for HDV or any other advanced format. If you keep this system, it may be advisable to make a complete reinstall of OS and CS4, getting rid of all pollution and crap you may have gathered in the years.
Thanks for your reply. After reading your tutorial on building a PC (superb article by the way), I believe that I am currently way underpowered. However, I'm wondering if you have any additional advice for my current setup.
I am a beginning multimedia student at a local community college. At the moment I am just looking to familiarize myself with the software. I doubt that I will be doing any serious editing anytime soon. With that said, is there anything that I can do to upgrade my current PC? You mentioned that I have only 128 MB video memory, would a video card upgrade help my current setup or is my machine completely hopeless? PP is crashing and I haven't even loaded any video into the PC yet....
Any guestimates on what the cost of putting together a mid-range machine might be?
I haven't checked all the specifics about your PC, but since it is from 2005, chances are you may not have a PCI-e slot. If that is the case, it makes no sense IMO to invest in a video card now. It will be about worthless by the time you decide to invest in a new PC. If you do have a PCI-e slot available, it may make a lot of sense to get an ATI HD Radeon 46xx or upwards with 512 MB memory. You don't need a 1 GB video card.
Memory and disk storage are other factors to consider. However, be aware that investing in memory (DDR2-800) may be a waste if you decide to invest in an i7/i5 system in the future, because of the change to DDR3. SATA disks are never wasted.
Hope this helps.