First an extra disk, possibly two extra disks. That will improve your performance noticeably and they can be carried over to a new system. The video card is OK. No need to change that. In order to spread out the investgments a bit over time, the next thing would be memory. If you have 2 x 4GB sticks, you can add 2 x 4GB sticks (same brand and model) to increase memory to 16 GB total. That memory can be carried over to a new system as well. If you currently have 4 x 2GB sticks, then you have to get 4 x 4 GB sticks and try to sell your current memory or keep them for later use in the current system when you decide to upgrade to a new system.
The last step would be to go for a new mobo and CPU, using all the disks you have acquired, the new memory and the current video card.
Also have a look here: Adobe Forums: What PC to build? An update...
Your first post - welcome to the forum!!!
I have some specific suggestions, and these are based on a lot of tuning a tweaking I did on an 1156 platform system 11 months ago. You can click on the following link for more details:
I'm afraid that you have more than one high-priority change to make for a balanced and capable PC to edit HD:
- Dump the i5 CPU and replace it with one of the i7 variants that supports hyper-threading; you are probably hitting 100% CPU load (you can check it with Task Manager / Performance tab) even with a single HD
- Buy two additional 1TB or larger 7200 rpm drives, RAID 0 them, and put all project files and render outputs on the new array; media cache and media cache DB may work better on your OS drive or the RAID 0 array - you can test it both ways
- Get a good CPU cooler, and OC at least a bit; my i7-860 system was soooo easy to OC up to 4.0 GHz using a CoolerMaster 212 cooler
- Get a good USB 3.0 or eSATA external drive for data backups
Other, much less critical upgrades that could even be considered optional, depending on your needs:
- Change out RAM to 16GB; on my system that really decreased the time on the PPBM5 benchmark for creating a MPEG-DVD (using CS5 BTW) with a decrease from 91 to 37 seconds, but it hardly changed anything else; Some users hardly care at all about DVD render times, whereas others may care dearly about how long that single step takes.
- Add still 1 or 2 more in a RAID 0 configuration for your media cache and render output files; after you have done all of the high-priority upgrades, you will have a better feel for where your bottlenecks lie for your actual projects and workflow to decide how essential this would be.
- Larger, better air-flow case? You don't mention what you have, but this would likely be something to consider long term
- Possibly a larger power supply; 650 watts is a little light, but the TX is a pretty solid unit. As you seem very cash flow limited, you can probably forge ahead and if you don't get any unexplained blue-screens, you got away with it. If you do start getting the BSOD though, you will clearly know to back off on your CPU speed, possibly even underclock your GTX 470, and save some cash for a high-quality 850 watt unit that will serve both this PC and possibly your next.
I intentionally did not mention the upgrade to an i7-8xx CPU, because IMO that is a complete waste of money. Sometime in the future the OP has to move to an 1155 mobo, like a Z68 and a second generation i7-2600(K) to make the next step. Since he wants to do the upgrade process in small steps because of budget reasons, I think it is better to skip the i7-8xx CPU upgrade altogether.
Thank you guys, this was helpfull!