From: Iowan in MD/DC
The slow down problems have some relation to OS, but it's more hardware than anything else. If you can upgrade your memory, I'd recommend it. Crucial has a memory selection tool, you can enter information on your system, but it can scan your system too if you want:
Crucial is one of the most reliable brands out there. Additionally I've never had a problem with their recommendations, and I've installed a lot of memory. For an older system, the memory is probably going to be very cheap. You should be able to get at least to 2 GB, and most motherboards of that vintage could go to 4 GB. If the system doesn't have enough RAM, it swaps stuff out to disk which is a lot slower than RAM. If you have enough RAM to hold the entire program at once, you won't have to swap out to disk.
AE is very memory intensive, if I remember correctly, it takes about 350 MB to 400 MB of RAM. The OS also takes some memory, so 512 MB is marginal.
We were up to close to 1 GB of RAM at one point, we had to unload a bunch of images from memory and just load them as needed, but a lot of the art needs to remain in memory all the time. The database also needs to reside in memory and it takes up a lot of RAM. This is a very data intensive game.
I've seen mine go over 600MB.... but it's not an issue for me.
Thanks. I will take a look at it. I noticed my HD is quite loud with this game.
If you mean your actual disk, then this would imply to me that your OS is accessing the HDD a lot in order to do one of two things: 1) load/unload/reload items for the game as it needs them, or 2) creating and using a large page file. A page file is essentially HDD space that is used as RAM. It is highly inefficient compared to actual RAM. I'm not sure if Win2K does this - I only used that OS for about six months back in 2002.
If by HD you mean your computer (fans and such, not disk "clicking" and "whirring"), then it would say to me that the machine is struggling overall. RAM almost always helps with this.