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Digital photography All-in-one desk reference 3rd edition - Busch D.

Busch D. Digital photography All-in-one desk reference 3rd edition - Wiley publishing, 2006. - 755 p.
ISBN: 0-470-03743-1
Download (direct link): digitalphotographyallinone2006.pdf
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Digital photography can produce some large images, too, especially if you’re working with a serious camera in the 8- to 12-megapixel range and choose to save your files in the highest-quality mode. An 18MB image is fairly common these days, so you should be prepared with as much RAM as you can cram into your computer.
Most systems have two to four memory slots, which can each hold a 256-1024MB memory stick. Loading your computer with 2GB of memory is not at all outlandish and is relatively inexpensive. You can purchase that much memory for a few hundred dollars. Any Mac or PC with 512MB or less of RAM is hopelessly under-equipped for digital photography. Beefing up your memory can be the least expensive and most dramatic speed enhancement you can make.
Indeed, a few years ago, when I upgraded from my ancient 800 MHz Windows computer to a spiffy new 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 model, I was annoyed to find that my new computer seemed to be significantly slower than my old one. It didn’t take long to discover the reason. My older computer had 2GB of RAM, but my new “faster” one was initially equipped with a mere 512MB of memory. When I worked with large digital photos, Photoshop didn’t have enough RAM to keep more than one or two images in memory at one time. It was forced to continually swap image information out to the hard drive to make room for the changes I made. Having a processor that was more than three times faster made no difference: Lack of memory was slowing everything down through a poky hard-drive bottleneck.
Within a week, I upgraded the Pentium system to 2GB of RAM, and guess what? It really flew! If you feel your current computer is slow, try adding memory before upgrading to a faster processor. You might be surprised. With any luck, an upcoming version of Photoshop will be able to use more than 2GB of RAM, and we’ll get even better performance. (With real luck, that version will be available when you’re reading this!)
Choosing Local Storage
Your graphics powerhouse is only as fast as its narrowest bottleneck, so you should pay special attention to that looming potential roadblock I just
Choosing Local Storage 121
mentioned: your mass storage subsystems. You need one or more big hard drives for several reasons:
? To keep as many images as possible available for near-instant access:
A large hard drive enables you to store all your current projects — plus many from recent months — all in one place for quick reference or reuse. With a large hard drive, you can store a vast library of your own photographic clip art, too, and avoid having to sort through stacks of archive CDs.
? To provide working space for your current projects: You’ll want scratch space — space on your hard drive — to store images that you probably won’t need but want to have on hand just in case. Alternate versions of images eat up more space as you refine your project. Image editors such as Photoshop also need spare hard drive space to keep multiple copies of each image you’re editing.
? To let you store additional applications: Good bets here would be panorama-generating programs, a second or third image editor for specialized needs, utility programs, extra plug-in programs, and so forth.
In the recent past, your hard drive storage options were limited to internal hard drives in one of two categories: fast, expensive hard drives using a Small Computer System Interface (SCSI; SKUZ-zee); or inexpensive, slow hard drives using the Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics (EIDE) interface or ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment). Today, the technologies have converged. SCSI drives no longer cost that much more than ATA disks, but they are now used only for specialized applications, such as file servers, where the SCSI interface’s ability to address many drives simultaneously comes in handy. Fortunately, ATA drives have gotten much, much faster. Moreover, new options have appeared, chiefly in the form of external hard drives that link to your computer via FireWire or Universal Serial Bus (USB) and a new kind of internal drive called Serial ATA (or SATA.)
SCSI and EIDE hard drives
You don’t see SCSI disks used much outside server environments these days. Their chief advantage is that your computer can transfer information to and from several SCSI disks simultaneously. That’s because SCSI is a system-level interface that conveys information in logical terms: Multiple devices can use the same connection in parallel fashion, although more intelligence is required to decode requests from the computer. Other kinds of hard drives, particularly EIDE/ATA drives, might have to take turns talking to your computer, which can reduce performance. Peripherals are so fast these days that the difference in performance between SCSI and other systems is seldom important outside the server farm.
The chief advantage of drives in the EIDE/SuperATA and the very latest serial ATA (SATA) categories is that they are almost free. As I was writing this book,
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