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When Connectix's Speed Doubler was first released, it added more spunk to non-PowerPC-native software running on Power Macs. Now, with most applications running in native mode, that advantage has largely disappeared. Still, Speed Doubler's other features–faster file copying, smart file replacement, and file synchronization–offer tangible benefits for older Macs.

On local volumes, Speed Doubler's gains tend to be greatest when you copy many files. But over a network, file copy- ing can be as much as three or four times as fast with Speed Doubler 8.1.2. When you copy folders, Speed Doubler's Smart Replace feature can save even more time by transferring only changed items, so you don't waste time copying identical files.

Folder synchronization, automated file copying, enhanced disk caching, and a simple but functional macro capability round out Speed Doubler's feature set. Although it won't really double the speed of your Mac, Speed Doubler is a worthwhile investment for older, non-G3 machines.

Speed Doubler 8.1.2 / RATING:

3.5 mice
PROS: Faster network copies; smart-replace feature saves time. CONS: Most applications don't benefit from speed boost. COMPANY: Connectix (800/950-5880, ). PRICE: $55.

Imagine how long it would take to do research in a library where the books were shelved at random. Searching for books in an unorganized library would be very similar to hunting for a file on a fragmented disk. Files get scattered around your hard disk as you use your Mac, so it takes your computer longer to find them. Thankfully, Alsoft's Disk Express Pro gathers up the pieces and puts them back where they belong, so your Mac works faster.

As with other performance-enhancing utilities, the speed boost from Disk Express Pro depends on the type of work you do. File fragmentation exacts the greatest toll on file servers and on documents created in certain applications, such as those used for digital video. Disk Express Pro works in the foreground or automatically in the background, and it lets you customize how you want your files organized. Disk Express is worth considering if your work demands peak disk performance or if you don't already have another defragmentation utility such as MicroMat's TechTool Pro.

Disk Express Pro 3.0.1 / RATING:

4.5 mice
PROS: Flexible optimization options; works in the foreground or the background. CONS: Expensive. COMPANY: Alsoft (800/257-6381, ). PRICE: $90.

True to its name, Connectix's RAM Doubler lets you effectively double or even triple the amount of memory in your Mac without cracking open the case. RAM Doubler works its magic by using physical memory more efficiently, occasionally swapping data between RAM and your hard disk. On Power Macs, another RAM Doubler feature, called file mapping, reduces the memory requirements for native applications. Apple's virtual memory also provides file mapping, but RAM Doubler is a better alternative, because it uses less disk space than virtual memory.

Although RAM Doubler is remarkably robust, enhancements to the Mac OS and dirt-cheap memory upgrades have made RAM Doubler much less compelling than it used to be. However, if you own an older Mac that's difficult to upgrade, buy RAM Doubler to speed up your system.

RAM Doubler 8.0.1 / RATING:

4.0 mice
PROS: Stable; reduces RAM requirements for native applications. CONS: Real memory often costs less. COMPANY: Connectix (800/950-5880, ). PRICE: $45.

August 1999 page: 77

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