ok rite now i'm running a dell with a p4 1.4g 256 ram and a 20+10hard drive my question is should I upgrade the snot outta of this computer or buy like a 2.2 512 off ebay which is like 350+ a monitor 200 so my q is is that dell good enough with like 764ram a 7200 120 harddrive 19" monitor new cd writer
Well, good enough for what? I'd say your current computer seems good enough for most purposes, except possibly playing the latest games.
well running cad, i download files alot watch vids manage digital images and what not mulit window web surfing /tabbed i would also get like a 128or 256 vid card
Downloading files hardly take any CPU or other computer resources at all - that depends almost purely on your bandwidth unless you have a gigabit pipe or something. =)
Web surfing doesn't take much CPU either - it just demands more memory the more windows/tabs you have open, but unless you have like 100 tabs/windows open, you won't get into trouble at all with 256 MBs, and even so, just adding swap should suffice (instead of adding physical RAM).
All in all, virtually all common "office tasks" like image management, mailing, document processing etc., don't really require that much hardware resources. That computer will do just fine.
I honestly don't know about running CAD, though. I've heard it requires pretty much CPU time, but I wouldn't think it should be a problem.
Note that what video card you have only matters at all if you play games or do other 3D-intensive work (note that the memory on a video card is only for texture caching, so it probably only matters at all for gaming - for other 3D-intensive applications like rendering etc, the GPU is what matters).
also vid card i watch lots of vids
The only thing I would do to it is add RAM. If you wanna mess with images, RAM won't hurt. I run 512M and I'm good for everything (though I don't play with images). I usually boot into X (with some servers running) at about 65M and XDFB at about 58M.
A new HDD would be good if you dl a bunch of stuff...but if you plan to burn it anyway, there's really no point.
And a new monitor is always nice...LCDs rock. 8)
Videos don't require that much either - I'd be guessing 400 MHz and 32 MBs of RAM would be enough to watch videos. The only thing required with a video card for watching videos is overlay support, and you won't even be able to find a video card manufactured the last five years that doesn't have overlay support. Thus, there's no need to get any expensive hardware just to watch pr0n. ;-)
Oh and sarumont, that about XDFB taking 58 MBs of RAM (I dunno if you meant XDFB by itself or the entire system, though...) is probably mostly due to fact that X servers map the entire framebuffer into the address space. If you have an AGP card, they usually map the entire AGP aperture. That doesn't actually take up physical RAM, but it's reported as such. That's why X servers are always reported as taking up such immense amounts of memory.
And I beg to differ about that LCD statement of yours. I have yet to see a TFT monitor that displays the same colorspace as a CRT monitor does. I'll leave that topic alone in the future though... we don't need more TFT vs CRT flamewars. ;-)
Of course though, as sarumont says, RAM never hurts. RAM's always good. If you feel like wasting money on another 256 MBs of RAM, feel more than free to do so. I think your computer will run just fine without it, but then again, RAM never ever hurts. More RAM always translates into higher performance, no matter how much you have. =)
For CAD you need lots of RAM and lots of CPU cycles while redering but if its a hobby and you dont mind waiting why spend the money. Serious CAD people sped like £400-500 at least on their machines graphics card.
the vids i was talking about is bottleg videos downloaded for free like theater moviez
Well, the content of the movies doesn't matter at all - naturally, that makes no difference in decoding performance. What might matter, if anything, is the encoding. For example, DivX (and its descendants like XviD, OpenDivX, etc., etc.) is harder to decode than eg. mpeg-2 (which is on DVDs). However, that was why I was taking that 400 MHz example. You probably don't need more than that to decode even the trickiest encodings.