> Hm...,
> this is going to be tough!
> So much layers, especially with masks and with that resolution is way 
> beyond the specs of even a new mid-level desktop computer, as far as I 
> can tell.
> In any case I will suggest that you utilize the full RAM capacity of 
> your motherboard. Then the machine will swap 2GB less, which will make 
> some difference at least until you reach certain level.
> I think USB2 will be horribly slow, so no point of adding such drive. 
> And, I hope that somebody will correct me if I am wrong, but I don't 
> think that GIMP uses /tmp that much if at all. What you really need is 
> more RAM and a fast drive for the swap partition.
> Apart from this you could split the file in several separate files, that 
> will hold several logically grouped layers each (I presume that you 
> don't have to work simultaneously on all of the layers). This way you 
> can speed things drastically. In each of these files you could include 
> one (or few layers) that represent all of the other layers (from the 
> other files), but merged, with layer masks applied, etc. - just as a 
> preview of the other parts of the whole image... i hope you get the idea 
> despite my explanation. This way you will work with only say 5 - 10 
> layers + one or few 'preview' layers, that represent the rest 30 layers.

Thanks to everyone who made suggestions!!  A quick update, I found out that
my machine "IS" maxed out on memory(at 6GB), so no joy spending $50... bummer...

Anyway, I have seen several suggestions that I can try(can't buy new computer at
at this time):

1) eSATA drive(ie, external)
2) Solid State Drive internal(likely not a cost effective solution to replace 
my 500GB internal HD)
3) Groups of content xcf files saved and flattened and then merged into a final 
4) Other?  

I have already started on 3 by breaking out my background and "frame" into a 
separate file, 
but even then, with only 10 layers, running something like the Layer Effects 
Python filter 30+
minutes to complete.    Still, it's something that something that "can" be done 
with no cost 
if it is very annoying to have to do so.  

Now, on to the technical details.. If I were to purchase a solid state 
drive(say 50GB for 
so for roughly $150 with eSATA enclosure added), how would I configure Linux 
and/or GIMP 
to get the most efficiency out of the set up?   While I have been using Linux 
for the 
past 2 years or so, I am by no means an expert.  Note that while I may not know 
of shell commands, I am comfortable with using the shell and understanding 
output of 
shell commands (used command prompt in Windows 95-7 FAR more than Windows 
Explorer for 
navigation, delete, directory creation, etc), including the more common stuff 
such as 
sudo, etc.  

As a mid term solution(3-6 months), I will likely save up to replace my 
desktop's MB,
CPU and RAM, followed by a long term(12-18 months) plan of replacing my Laptop 
something that will support 12-16 GB RAM. 

Again, I really appreciate all of the help and any additional advice.  I am 
looking into Inkscape to see if I can learn enough to possibly offload at least 
of this to a Vector editor, but my brain just keeps thinking in GIMP terms, so 
transition is a bit difficult for me.


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