Photoshop professional tips & tricks

Using RAM Effectively

Note: this tip works for Mac OS 7.x — 9.x users only.

In our days having much of memory (RAM) is not a big problem. I have 768 MB, while I couldn't imagine this amount two years ago. It is common to have about 128 MB RAM (well, at least here, in Moscow, it is common).

Everyone thinks that if you give Photoshop 100 MB of available RAM, while working on a file of, say, 20 MB size, everything will be smooth and fast. Wrong, my dear.

That may be against logic, since everyone knows that Photoshop needs RAM 2 to 5 times the size of a file you're working on. If Photoshop can't find so much memory, it starts to use your hard disk. But if Photoshop does have so much RAM? Anyway, it uses hard disk as a scratch. Why? Ask Adobe, not me.

No program is perfect. Photoshop isn't an exception. But there is solution for this. It's not known to wide public and I've never seen it in any tips collection or in any manual.

Solution, like any useful things in our life is easy and effective. Use RAM Disk as a scratch.

Create RAM Disk in Memory control panel. Give it like 10-100 MB of RAM. That's enough (well, if you have more memory, you can give to RAM Disk). Then, open Photoshop, select Preferences:Scratch Disks and select RAM Disk as a primary scratch disk. Choosing dedicated hard disk as a secondary scratch disk is a good idea.

That's it. Restart Photoshop and start working faster. All those small operations that require strange disc accesses will go to the RAM Disk. And all other operations will be processed in memory, allocated to Photoshop itself.

Drop me a note if this trick works for you.

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