my loading times are horrible
The biggest boost I ever got in loading levels in any game was to get an IBM 60GXP 7200rpm hard drive - one of the fastest IDE hard drives available today. It had a MAJOR effect on level load time. Much greater, I feel, then adding more RAM would ever bring. Heck, even when I play Force Commander, levels load fast!!!
If your drive is 5400rpm or doesn't come close to the performance specs of say, the IBM 60GXP, your hard drive may be the one to blame.
I run with 256MB of DDR. I have an extra stick of 256MB DDR lying around but never used it as I thought it wouldn't have any effect on gaming at all. Chang, I'll take your advice and give that second stick a shot!
I also run with a very large fixed swap file - not sure if that adds any improvement to level loading.