I did not know/realize this would take as long as this has, but I'm nearly complete. Here is what I've done so far:
I picked up a pair of 1TB (yes, that is one TERABYTE) hard drives and put them into the home PC. This is a pair of Western Digital Black Caviar drives. This brings the total disk storage in my PC from 2.75TB to 4TB. Yes, I have four, 1TB drives in my home PC. Why so much? I take photos. Lots of photos. Lots of photos in DNG format (which is Adobe's digital negative format, or camera raw).
The most interesting thing about my purchase is the fact that one of the hard drives came with 64MB of cache on the drive itself, instead of the normal 32 MB. Does it make a difference in speed? Does the sun rise in the east? While it does not have a profound effect on performance, it does help increase performance somewhat. I just wish I would have known that there were two different models in the boxes. I would have looked for another drive with 64 MB of RAM in it. (NOTE: I just looked at the boxes and they only show 32MB of HDD cache installed on the boxes. However, they have significantly different serial numbers and one is a product of Thailand and the other is a product of Malaysia.)
So, what's next on the upgrade path?
* 4 GB more of RAM. This will bring the overall system to 8 GB of RAM
* Windows 7 Professional, the 64-bit version
The RAM and OS purchase will probably happen around the same time as I cannot use the extra RAM in Windows XP Professional 32-bit. The current estimated price will be around $300 total. Hopefully I can get this all done by June or July. I plan on keeping my current 1GB drive with XP on it as my backup in case the upgrade goes horribly awry. I plan on using one of my new 1TB drives that I picked up as my new C:\ drive. In fact, I'll probably end up using the 1TB drive that has 64 MB of disk cache on it.
So part 4 should be the final upgrade to Windows 7 Professional, 64-bit.