Re: 512MB vs. 2GB
To tell you the truth, as soon as my machine arrived, I put the new 2GB RAM modules in before turning it on (i.e.
, This is probably not a wise thing to do without first turning it on and making sure the machine is o.k. I don't want to encourage this practice with anyone; however, since I've been through this many times before, I did because of the urgencies concerning my current development time lines). So I can't give you my before and after impressions. I purchased this machine specifically to do development work on Windows Vista.
The machine runs smoothly with 2GB of RAM under Windows Vista and some of the sluggishness I experience is mostly because of Windows Vista and its "not ready for primetime" state. This, of course, will eventually be much better as Vista evolves and matures into "ready for purchase" commercial OS product. At this point, it's still not there.
If you use Photoshop quite a bit, there's no doubt in my mind that you'll need the memory upgrade eventually because it does like memory and it will eventually hinder your workflow especially if you want to do other things at the same time. Having said this, only you can determine this since your personal workflow and experience with your machine is usually the best judge in these matters. I use multiple instances of multiple development and debugging environments at any given moment, hence my reason for upgrading the RAM memory immediately. Otherwise, the machine would be limited and not very useful to me.
If you're not in a hurry, you can afford to let some time go by and see how the machine performs for you. I would also look for a good deal. I got my 2GB of memory for around 215 dollars including shipping and tax from TigerDirect. A few days after I received them, these same memory modules were available for 96 dollars each at newegg with a six dollar rebate for each one and "without" tax and very cheap ground shipping (i.e.
, When I originally ordered them, they weren't available at newegg at the time). My total after rebate and shipping would have been around 184 dollars. So just keep an eye out for your best deal. I know you already do since you were able to jump on the 749 dollar special on alienware for your machine. That was sweet!!!!
I hope this helps you decide when to upgrade your memory. Good luck.