Life is Easier with 32GB of RAM

September 08, 2013  •  2 Comments

About two years ago, I purchased a Lenovo Think Pad W520 laptop computer. I've been pleased with the purchase. However, since the purchase I upgraded my camera to the Nikon D800. The D800 generates huge files. My computer's performance started slowing down in recent months. This occurred especially when running Photoshop plug-ins that work with multiple D800 files at once--such as blending files for HDR images or merging files for panoramic photos. I also tend to keep multiple programs open at once. I like to check emails or browse the web while the Photoshop jobs are processing.

One of the reasons I selected the laptop is that it's capable of running as much as 32GB of RAM. Before upgrading, I was only using two of the memory slots and each slot had 4GB of RAM. After the upgrade, I am now using all four memory slots with 8GB of RAM in each slot--effectively quadrupling the RAM!

I know very little about computer hardware. Yet, the procedures to replace and add memory to the laptop were relatively simple for me to perform. First, I visited the website and ran the Crucial System Scanner Tool.  The tool diagnoses the memory currently in the computer and outlines alternatives for upgrading. When I first ran the tool, the report indicated that I was using two memory slots with 4GB in each slot. It then presented several upgrade alternatives, including adding 4GB to the two remaining slots, or adding 8GB to the two remaining slots, or replacing the existing memory and going with 8GB in all four slots for the maximum memory. I elected to go with the maximum. Here's how the report looks after I maximized the memory:

Once the memory chips arrived, my next challenge was inserting the cards into the slots in the laptop. There is a small cover on the bottom of the laptop that unscrews to reveal two memory slots. That part was easy. I became more concerned when I realized that the keyboard must be removed to access the other two memory ports. However, YouTube is my friend! I located a couple of YouTube tutorial videos that demonstrated how to accomplish the task--and it was easier than I anticipated.

In the end, I acquired 32GB of RAM for $240 and less than five minutes of my time. Now, post processing pictures is far more efficient and enjoyable. And, I can run other programs at the same time. Now, I can even listen to music from iTunes while I work!


Glenn Nagel Photography
My laptop is calibrated, but I usually don't process photographs while on the road. Instead, I only upload them to my computer and back them up on an external hard drive. When I get home, I connect my laptop to an external monitor. That monitor is also color calibrated. The larger monitor makes it much easier for me to process the images. This approach has made my traveling experience more enjoyable as I concentrate only on capturing images--and then wait until the trip is over before working on them.
Dave Sparks(non-registered)
How do you handle the color calibration/screen tilt issue with the laptop? When I process files on the road, I usually need to do some adjustments on my home computer. The laptop screen is calibrated, but what I see varies with screen tilt and viewing angle.
No comments posted.

January (1) February (2) March (1) April May June July August September October November December