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XP will not work. You need a 64 bit OS, Vista or Win7. It will make a huge difference. On XP it will not install, on Win7 it runs perfectly.
In case Harm's answer wasn't explicit enough regarding Windows Vista versus Windows 7:
We recommend Windows 7.
Also, read the differences between Win7 64bit Home and PRO
I don't remember the exact number (16 Gig ???) but Home has a top limit of the amount of Ram it will use
Go to the CS5 Benchmark http://ppbm5.com/ site and look at the performance gains going from 12 to 24 Gig of ram