I recently upgraded my desktop by enhancing the RAM (from 4 to 16GB) and adding a GPU (GeForce GTX580) card. However, I had trouble in using all the RAM; it would show only 4G, and I learnt that I either have to update the kernel or load a 64bit version. I decided to go for the second option and, while at it, decided to load the Precise Pangolin (Ubuntu 12.04).
My initial attempts to load Pangolin failed because I did not turn on the noapic, nolapic and nomodeset options while loading Ubuntu. Once I got that right, rest has been a sail. I really, really like the feel of the Unity desktop even though I am still learning the tricks. On the whole a nice experience so far.
Now, I am able to get a simulation with 4096×4096 size running (which takes only half of the available memory)! This probably is the first time I am running such a large scale simulation; the previous big simulations used to stop at one quarter of this size (at 2048×2048) and I am very, very excited!
Next step is to figure out CUDA and start using the GPU for computations, and needless to say, I am looking forward to it.