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RAW Image Viewers for Windows

When I migrated from Windows XP to Windows 7, one of the things I have missed is the Microsoft Powertoys. A couple of the functions have been integrated into Windows 7 (Open Command Window Here and Power Calculator), but there are still a few I am stilling looking for applications to replace them with.

One of them is the RAW Image Viewer. I am into digital photography and like to organize and work with digital RAW image files in Windows Explorer (much as you can with JPEG images). But Windows does not have support for this format built-in. Well, I am glad to say I have found a replacement for it.

FastPictureViewer is a free collection of 32 and 64-bit RAW Image Decoders for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Once installed, you have the same features for RAW image formats in Windows as you do with JPEG, BMP, PNG, GIF, and TIFF, complete with thumbnails in Explorer, preview and slide show support in Photo Gallery / Photo Viewer and metadata search integration.

For more information and to download FastPictureViewer, please visit their web site.

Enjoy,
Scott

Image Resizer Powertoy Clone for Windows

When I migrated from Windows XP to Windows 7, one of the things I have missed is the Microsoft Powertoys. A couple of the functions have been integrated into Windows 7 (Open Command Window Here and Power Calculator), but there are still a few I am stilling looking for applications to replace them with.

One of applications you could integrate into Windows Explorer was Image Resizer. With a right click on a picture, you could quickly resize a photo without opening an application. Well, I am glad to say I have found a replacement for it.

Image Resizer Powertoy Clone is, as it's name implies, a clone of the original Microsoft Powertoy.

Just right click on a photo and choose 'Resize Pictures' from the context menu.

Then just select a size, to make the pictures smaller not larger or if you want to resize the originals, or make copies. Then click OK. It's that simple. And it's available in both 32 and 64-bit versions for Windows Vista and Windows 7.

For more information and to download Image Resizer Powertoy Clone for Windows, please visit their web site.

Enjoy,
Scott

Beta testing Windows 7 - Part7 (Photoshop Benchmark)

With the Windows 7 test system running, it's time to see what it can do. Keep in mind that the total cost for just the hardware (less the Antec Skeleton case) was around $525. I went over to Adobe and downloaded the 64-bit trial version of Photoshop CS4. The following is an excerpt from Adobe's knowledge base article '64-bit Operating System benefits and limitations in Photoshop CS4 (Windows)'

Opening 32-bit and 64-bit versions

Photoshop installs a 32-bit and a 64-bit shortcut into the Start Menu. If you need to manually run the application, the 32-bit version is the photoshop.exe file, in the Program Files (x86)/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CS4 folder, and the 64-bit version is the photoshop.exe file in the Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CS4 folder.

Third party plug-ins

Third party plug-ins written for 32-bit versions of Windows will not work when you run the 64-bit version of Photoshop. If you need to use plug-ins that haven't been updated, run the 32-bit version of Photoshop. When you are done using the plug-ins, close the 32-bit version, and run the 64-bit version. Contact the plug-in manufacturer for information about any updates.

Processor speed and Photoshop operations

Although the 64-bit version of Photoshop will speed up some operations, it won't speed all of them, nor will it speed the operation equally. Generally, operations will run approximately 8-12% faster. Overall, processor speed is not the main advantage of using the 64-bit version.

RAM use

The primary advantage of using the 64-bit version is to access amounts of RAM beyond what Photoshop can access when the 32-bit version is run. You can take advantage of more than 4 GB of RAM only when you are on 64-bit Windows, using 64-bit Photoshop. If you use files large enough to need more than 4 GB of RAM, and you have enough RAM, all the processing you perform on your large images can be done in RAM, instead of swapping out to the hard disk.

This table lists the amount of RAM available to Photoshop with the different versions of Windows:


Photoshop Version

Windows Version

Maximum amount of RAM Photoshop can use

32-bit

32-bit

1.7 GB

32-bit

32-bit

3.2 GB

64-bit

64-bit

as much RAM as you can fit into your computer

Now with the two different versions of Adobe Photoshop installed (32-bit & 64-bit) it was time to find a benchmark test. I found DriverHeaven Photoshop Bench V3. I ran the tests as instructed and here's the results:


DriverHeaven Photoshop Bench V3

Intel Core2 Quad 8400

Intel Core2 Quad 8400

64 bit

32 bit

Texturiser

1.5

1.8

CMYK

1.2

1.3

RGB

1.4

1.5

Ink Outlines

20.4

21.0

Dust & Stratches

2.0

2.0

Watercolor

20.3

21.0

Texturiser

1.6

1.6

Stained Glass

13.3

12.6

Lighting

1.8

2.0

Mosiac

9.5

13.0

Extrude

83.4

98.4

Smart Blur

58.9

58.1

Underpainting

21.7

24.1

Palette

17.2

18.4

Sponge

28.3

28.4

Total

282.5

305.2

As you can see, the 64-bit version was, on average, 7% faster than the 32-bit version. To compare the results of the Windows 7 test system with other systems, please click here and look for my name 'Scott St. Gelais'.

I have now shown you the pros and cons of 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Adobe Photoshop CS4 running on Windows 7. Which version would you choose?

Till then,
Scott


Beta testing Windows 7 - Part6 (software overview)(Video)

In this video, I give an overview of the key features that I built the Windows 7 test system to evaluate, Quad-cores, 64-bit operating systems / applications and Virtualization Technology (Virtual Machines).

Till then,
Scott

Beta testing Windows 7 - Part5 (BIOS and installation)

I finished assembling the Windows 7 test system in about three hours. The wring for the Antec Skeleton case proved to be a challenge. But I was ready for it, as the Antec P-180 I have also has a unique wring layout (the power supply is located at the bottom of the case, instead of the top, as with most mid-tower designs).

Click here to see it in operation

I was a little taken away the first time I started it up. The 250mm multi-led fan on top does a great job of cooling and looks very cool when running. Still photos just cannot capture the look of this system in operation. So I am creating a video of the system running and will post the link here to it on YouTube when it's finished. The first thing I did was go into the system BIOS.

Windows 7 test system BIOS screen 1

The Main screen shows that the Intel Core2 Quad Q8400 processor has 64-bit architecture and Core Multiplexing Technology is enabled.

Windows 7 test system BIOS screen 2

The Security screen shows that Intel VT and Intel VT for Directed I/O is enabled. We are ready to load up Windows 7 RC1. I booted to the installation DVD, started the install and had it done in about 20 minutes.

Windows 7 test system System Properties dialog box

The System properties dialog box shows the system type as the 64-bit version. I am ready to load some software.

Till then,
Scott


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