I was reading about this chap's setup method in XSI and was curious as to whether it can be done in Maya. Basically he works on a low poly version of his model on one layer and keeps the hi res smoothed version on another layer which automatically updates. This way, he can simply turn off the hi res layer while sculpting and turn it on to periodically check progress. I guess it's kind of like poly proxy, CPS, or subD in a way but instead of working on a cage, you'd have the low poly next to the hi poly and the abilty to turn the hi poly layer on and off to conserve RAM.
"Terminat Bora Diem, Terminal Auctor opus."