Thank you all, for your input. Here are details that some of you had asked for and I didn't want to lay on you right off the bat
My current AMD sempron 140 is going into a new board. A board with an AMD chipset that may (or may not) be able unlock the second core which may or may not be stable. Otherwise, I might just try and overclock it. Haven't tried it on its current board since it is older and my memory is weenie (good KVR DDR2 800 but weenie for these purposes).
The video card I picked up: http://www.evga.com/products/pdf/01G-P3-1225.pdf
to replace the Radeon on board the new mobo - the nVidia card currently being used with the cpu on the old board is pretty weenie too
I was going to be picking up either Corsair performance or Kingston Hyper X in 1066 to give me some headroom if I have to overclock. I can afford 2GB kit barely but 4GB, don't think so. DDR2 is getting too expensive now.
I would like to avoid Windows entirely now but have two apps that are mine and old and my family and I use a lot. Lotus 123 (no laughing - nothing can touch 11 nested IF functions that it can do) and Photoshop 4 (no, not CS4, just FOUR.0) is mine and paid for and I am sure I will never be able to afford such again. So I want to capture the W98 those are running on now and put in a virtual machine. Also would like to play with other distros - don't worry, heart always belongs to PCLinuxOS. And haven't decided if I would need to throw on XP for a few games I might miss to much that won't run in Crossover.
Don't hink I can do it with just 2GB if the card will reserve 1GB? Or trade in the graphics card for something that won't need as much addressing?
Also don't know if I will need the PAE kernel if I am going only with 2GB unless there might be other benefits if I do unlock and wind up with a dual core.