[SLE] suggest me for upgrade options?

Hello. Sorry if OT, I think this perhaps should go to suse-admin list if
there is one.

The X terminal server has 8 users, load average is
3:08pm up 5:56, 14 users, load average: 3.65, 3.34, 2.73
(14 users because gnome-terminal users are counted too)

CPU: Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU 2.40GHz => OS is SuSE 10.1
Harddisk is 40GB 7200RPM with 2MB cache, 1GB DDR memory is installed,
averagely 758MB swap space is used.

Current biggest problem is the "stun" effect, that is if one user use
Firefox to load a big web page (example: a purely text web page of
500KB), all users consoles are frozen, that is, click have no effect,
keyboard do not respond, everything looks as if the machine is dead, the
X terminals come back alive again when the 500KB webpage is loaded.

The purpose of upgrade is to remove stun effect (that's my way of
calling it) and to speed up application launch to around 250% faster,
because the two are where complaints from. Users complain their X
terminal sometimes stun for 10 seconds, totally unexpected. Further
launching jedit takes 20 to 40 seconds, they want it loaded in 10

What upgrade option may solve the two problems? Available options
1. add more memory, add memory to 2GB;
2. replace 7200RPM/2MB cache IDE harddisk to 10000RPM SATA harddisk
with more cache; Replacement to SCSI is not possible because PCI
slots are very limited and happen to have used up. The
motherboard don't have native SCSI support.
3. replace the CPU to better one;
4. replace motherboard and CPU, possibly dual-cpu SMP mother board
or dual-core CPU. This may evolve replacing memory bank too, as
new motherboard uses DDR2 memory.
5. Buy a new machine.

The key point is to remove 'stun' effect and launch application faster
with minimum budget. Option 5 can be taken only if all 1-4 cannot solve
the two problems.

The users mostly do the following:
1. browse the web
2. word processing and prepare presentations
3. edit some files
4. chat

What do you think is the most feasible approach?

BTW, the reason for 'stun' effect I cannot understand. Why the machine
'stun'? When a user load a 500KB webpage, she is expecting to way a bit
longer, she should wait for other users, she should get no more then 60%
CPU resource and keep other people's console still usable but only
slower. I am afraid the system resource is not assigned in a fair way. I
remember a long time ago I was sharing a Sparc desktop (using gnome)
with several other people and we never had 'stun' problem, is sparc
platform better on sharing?

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