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Friday, July 1, 2005

Beauty & The Beast

Tame the large files produced by a high-resolution digital SLR

All of this is achieved without sacrificing compatibility with 32-bit based software, which includes Photoshop. According to Adobe, 64-bit systems still will deliver performance gains with Photoshop CS2, although it won't be able to take direct advantage of RAM capacities beyond 4 GB. That's because Photoshop CS2 indirectly can make use of additional memory installed in the machine as part of the OS disk cache.

Mac users aren't being left behind. Apple Computer's release of OS X 10.4 (Tiger) provides better utilization of Apple's 64-bit G5 processors and its system resources.

Time For A Makeover
If you're skittish about starting a relationship with a brand-new operating system, there are computer upgrades that can lengthen your honeymoon with your high-resolution system.

Having plenty of RAM makes all the difference when it comes to performance. Skimp on RAM, and your computer is forced to start swapping data with your hard drive, which is much, much slower. Depend on your hard drive to manage data and you'll quickly come to the conclusion that watching paint peel is a more productive use of your time.

It's not enough to simply buy the fastest RAM chip you can afford; you need to look at what you already have to determine what you need. Your computer manual or the system resources dialog in Windows will provide the necessary information. The mistake you don't want to make is to install RAM that doesn't match the speed of the existing memory. If your new chip is faster, you'll see little performance gains, as the system will default to its lowest common denominator.

Crucial Technology has made it easy by including a software utility on its Website called Crucial Scan. Download it and it will analyze your system and recommend the best memory. If you decide to take advantage of a faster chipset, it's best to also replace the existing RAM, rather than supplement it.

How much RAM should you get? As much as your system and pocketbook allows. Although 512 MB may be enough to get the job done, it really becomes a question of how long you want to wait for it to do it. As I'm often accused of having the attention span of a gnat, I vote for more memory, and at today's prices, it's much more affordable to do so.

Drives to store those hundreds and thousands of images are getting bigger as well. While internal desktop hard drives are reaching capacities as high as 500 GB, external hard drives with capacities of a terabyte or more are available.

Devices such as the LaCie Bigger Disk Extreme feature capacities ranging from one to two terabytes. It includes both FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 interfaces, the latter of which uses a data transfer rate of up to 88 MB/sec. That's smoking!

USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 deliver fast throughput, but remember that your system is only as good as its weakest component. Choose a large hard drive with a slow rotation speed (4,800 rpm) and those small delays will slowly add up.


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