Chrome OS devices: you either love them or hate them. I’m in the “love them” camp. With the exception of professional or work equipment, I’ve been using a Chromebook as my primary computer for three years. Even though Chromebooks are great for basic internet usage, they can’t run the software needed for professional photographers, artists, and developers. But what if there was a way to run the essential programs — on a Chromebook? Thankfully, PaperSpace allows you to do just that.

What is PaperSpace?

PaperSpace sets you up with a virtual machine (VM) that you access via a web portal. Your VM can be as simple as a machine with 4GB RAM and a 512MB GPU or as powerful as a machine with 30GB RAM (up to 120GB), a 8GB GPU, and 8 CPUs (up to 32).

The PaperSpace experience

During my testing with PaperSpace, I installed Photoshop and Lightroom on my VM and accessed it on my Chromebook. I did some photo editing and completed other tasks; only experiencing a slight delay from when I typed or executed a command and when I saw the results. But, PaperSpace may be just what you’re looking for if you still need to use Windows programs on occasion.



There is an advantage to using PaperSpace on Windows, instead of a Chromebook. PaperSpace has a downloadable app from that will allow things like file transfers from the host machine to the VM, and vice versa. The same goes for printing from the VM to a local printer. The only way you’d be able to print from PaperSpace on a Chomebook is to use the Chrome browser on the VM and a Google Cloud enabled printer. To transfer files you would have to install Google Drive on the desktop of the VM and transfer files via Google Drive.

Pricing

PaperSpace starts off at $15/month and goes up to $200+/month for a more powerful machine. If you only need occasional access, then you can pay by the hour. However, there is a $5 to $7 monthly storage fee on top of your hourly access ($0.07 to $0.60/hour).

Summary

In the three years that I’ve used Chromebooks, I’ve only turned on my PC occasionally. So, I would be in the hourly access camp. PaperSpace is the right solution for accessing powerful tools that can’t be used on a Chromebook. It is also great for someone with a less powerful Windows computer who needs more powerful equipment.

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