Before moving along, I wanted to create a more distinct profile of both myself and my computer, so as to better inform you reader about where I'm coming from, what types of enhancements I'll probably be looking at more than others, and how far I can go.
My PC configuration (in a nutshell):
- AMD Athlon 64 3000+ 2.0ghz (single core, circa 2004)
- Some compatible motherboard I can't be bothered to remember right now.
- 2 gb of DDR SDRAM
- ATI All-in-Wonder Radeon 9600 128mb RAM, AGP 8x (circa 2004 as well)
- ATI Rage 128 32mb RAM (to power 3rd display)
- SoundBlaster Live! Value sound card (circa... 2001??)
- LiteOn DVD+-RW 8x burner (won't eject sans paperclip, otherwise works perfect)
- Generic 5.1 speaker system (that isn't running true 5.1, re: sound card)
- primary display 24in widescreen LCD from Acer, 1920x1200
- secondary display 17in LCD from NEC, 1280x1024
- tertiary display, 15in Wacom Cintiq LCD drawing tablet(bought used for 700 bucks cash!), aka the gift that keeps on giving.
- Labtec wireless keyboard and mouse.
I've contemplated other major upgrades recently, but since doing so would require replacing everything but the hard drives, monitors, sound and optical drive, I'm going to table that for at least a while longer. I'm more seriously considering getting an iMac for video editing and productivity as well as a dedicated next-gen console for gaming. I've been on a PC for so long that it's bittersweet if/when I leave it. I know I certainly wouldn't have as much fun customizing such a setup as I do now, but perhaps I'm getting too old anyway (maybe I should just start learning to fix up my car).
Anyway, back to it. The following are the more important current software running on my machine. Some of these are very recent additions and I hope to go back in the future to recount how I came upon using them.
- Windows XP Service Pack 2 (really awaiting SP3)
- Firefox 2.x (come on 3.0 and no memory leaks!) and Thunderbird with Lightning
- Winamp 5.3
- OpenOffice 2.2
- Most Adobe Products (AfterEffects, Premiere, Photoshop)
- Flash 8
- Miranda IM for instant messaging
- Autohotkey (my savior!)
Given how my PC's certainly no spring chicken (and probably hasn't been for a good while), doing these tweaks probably add a bit more life to the machine (I don't have a name for it, as dear as it is to me, unfortunately, and it's probably inappropriate to name it during its middle age).
Anyway, now you know where I'm coming from, so we can move forward together.