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Grokking The Gimp
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Setting up Your Computer to Get the Most from the GIMP

This section describes how to optimize the hardware and software configuration of your computer to optimize the performance of the GIMP.

Notes on RAM

The GIMP executable is about 7 Mb; however, depending on the size of the GIMP data directories (patterns, palettes, brushes, and so on), the memory footprint can grow another 2-10 Mb. In addition, the script-fu program that runs concurrently with the GIMP occupies about 2.5 Mb. Thus, the GIMP requires a minimum of about 11.5-19.5 Mb of RAM.

This is not all, though, because every image loaded into the GIMP also requires memory. For example, loading an RGB format image will require at least three times the number of pixels in the image (one byte per RGB channel and perhaps a byte for the alpha channel) per layer. Thus, an image with dimensions $640\times 480$ pixels containing three equal-sized layers requires from 2.8 to 3.7 Mb of memory.

In addition to the memory required to display the image, there is also the memory required for the undo cache. This is what allows the GIMP to undo operations to an image being worked on.

The conclusion is that to work comfortably in the GIMP--to be able to open images, composite, touchup, and apply filters--32 Mb of memory should be considered a minimum. Of course, the RAM required will be proportionally more for large images containing multiple layers.

Grokking The Gimp
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  Published under the terms of the Open Publication License Design by Interspire