I have a problem at work. They've got me doing fairly processor-intensive image editing in Adobe CS5 pretty much daily. This would be fine except that I'm on an HP Compaq 6000 with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and Windows 7. The delay was tolerable when I was on XP - JUST tolerable. Now it's affecting my work. It can take as much as ten seconds to switch between applications, more if I'm going from say, Illustrator to Photoshop with a large image on the clipboard. Despite my 4 gigs of RAM, export to web routinely fails due to "insufficient memory" with large pages (I wouldn't be making them this large if it were me designing but unfortunately it's not my call so I have to find some way to deal with them). The machine locks up if I let it sleep more than 30 minutes and I have to do a hard reboot to get it back, so I shut it down before lunch and start it back up when I return.
I've raised the issue with my immediate superiors, who recognize the inconvenience but do nothing. I've talked to the IT department, which is mostly Windows people who know apparently nothing about hardware. Thinking it was a "bad machine," they sent me an identical machine as a replacement. The new machine's performance matches the previous one's. The only good thing about IT's lack of expertise in this area is that they would be unlikely to detect any changes I make to the hardware as long as I return it to it's original state before turning it back in (they lease all their machines).
So, right now I'm at the end of my rope, so to speak. The only way to address the issue is to take matters into my own hands and upgrade the machine myself, if possible. It's a fairly small disk (150 gigabytes), so I think I can clone it into an SSD over a weekend without IT's spyware being the wiser. The current hard disk is the conventional 3.5" size, so what I would really love would be to be able to fit two smaller HDD's in there: the SSD to boot from and maybe find some kind of a sled that would let me fit a laptop-sized 500Gb storage disk in with it. Also, if that sort of thing is at all possible, I'd like to switch out the processor for an i3 or something. But I don't know how to find out if the motherboard will support it.
Can anybody offer any advice/warnings/guidance that would help me decide whether to/how to go about this?