Just to give you a reference, Moore's Law which has pretty much held true for the 20 years basically says that computers double in power every 18 to 24 months. So, a computer, or component, that is eight years old is about 1/16 as powerful as a system from eight years later. This is very much simplified, but just to give you an idea.
So, you will get more for you money investing in a new machine, rather than upgrading what you have. Even if you get a bottom of the line machine it will be much better than what you have when it comes to performance.
if it doubles in power every 2 years, then an eight year old computer would be 1/4th the power of a present day computer. Not quite as big as the ratio you mistakenly gave me. but again thanks for the advice
dillnut, I believe that the calculation that Kilroy provided is very close to being fact, as I have a couple of computers, both with Intel dual core CPU's built in 2010 & 2011, that would easily break the 1/4 rule (4x more powerful) than you suggest, & my latest is at least 12-16x more powerful in in most every category imaginable.
The older one I'm comparing with is a Dell Dimension 2400 with an Intel 3.06 GHz H/T CPU & 2GB DDR RAM. The newest one is 9 years newer, the others are 6 & 7 years newer. Maybe a coincidence, but that old P4 has a 512KB L2 cache (0.5MB), no L3, while the one in my specs below has a massive 8192KB (8MB) L3 cache. That is 16 times faster, exactly.
There are other variables, such as DDR2 RAM being twice as fast over DDR & DDR3 doubling the speed of DDR2. Same goes for graphics, where there is at least one 12GB GDDR5 card on the market, though at $3,000, is out of reach for many, including myself. However 4GB GDDR5 cards are commonly used by power gamers.
SSD's also gets faster with most every model released & PCIe type SSD's are already here, which will be my next hardware upgrade in the coming 6-8 months, as pricing falls & more selection becomes available. PCIe will eliminate much of the bottleneck of today's SSD's & will break the SATA 3 mark (already has).
Computers simply gets faster with every new makeover, which takes place every 12 to 18 months & hardware is constantly upgraded, with DDR4 RAM on the horizon for consumers with the next Haswell release (has been in the works since 2010/11). Again, that will be 2x faster than current DDR3 RAM, though unlike DDR2, I don't expect DDR3 to fade anytime soon.
Looks like Moore's Law is holding up fairly well to me. It's up to each consumer to stay in the race as close as practical, or cling to the old, which over time, the energy savings will fairly much pay for the newer hardware. Seriously, I've noticed lower electric bills since removing that old Dimension 2400 from 12-16 hours of daily use.
I miss the leg warmer though.