Since I bought my latest workstation (summer of 2003), I'd been running with 512MB of RAM. During all this time, I was "angry" seeing how the system used swap space when it was somewhat loaded — e.g., GNOME running with a bunch of applications in the background (Epiphany, Evolution, aMule, Gaim, Beep Media Player...) and compiling some stuff. You know, when the system uses the swap, the performance (or at least, the responsiveness) decreases dramatically. For some reason, I kept blaming the OS for using the swap, rather than thinking that my hardware was not enough.
Yesterday, taking a look to a list of prices, I saw a 512MB DIMM (Kingston, 333MHz DDR, CL2.5) for only 42€, a considerable fall in its price since the last time I checked. I was a bit dubious to buy it, but at last I did it.
Now I don't regret that decision at all. The system feels much smoother than before. Just to test it, I've been building KDE in the background while doing daily stuff in GNOME (with all the applications mentioned above loaded), and it hasn't touched the swap for anything. Great.
If you are in a similar situation and don't know what to do, just go for the update!