Проблема решена (параметры проблемы: magento 1.1.8 хостинг infobox.ru)
привожу ответ “спеца” :
in the file app/code/core/Mage/Catalog/Model/Product/Image.php, on line 148, I added
a line at the beginning of the method _checkMemory() :
What that does is it shortcuts the memory check before images are processed.
The reason for that is that strangly enough the used memory limit returned is larger
then the available memory amount, not even counting the image file.
This is a strange behaviour of the server. Maybe try to raise the php.ini setting
for memory_limit to at least 128M
Then you should be able to remove the return true; line, and it probably will still
continue to work.