Haven't done a web design for a long time and just getting back into it again.

I have a query about background images.

I am working on a new design for an existing website and i'm going to make the layout using photoshop and then cut out the parts i need.

The background image is 1024x1050px and is 1.7Mb

What i want to know is what is the best way to load this image. Having the image in 1 file could take a few seconds to download. Would it be better to cut the image up into maybe 9 square pieces and then have a 3x3 grid using divs each with a separate image?

I haven't really done much with photoshop layouts and some of the ones i've seen look really nice but trying to get my head around structuring them is confusing.