Make Illustrator multi threaded on CPU
Illustrator performance is awful, its slow and lumbering at all but the most basic operations. It is bound to only a single cpu thread which is ridiculous now in an age of multi core and multi thread CPU's and it has been this way for many years. It cannot handle background tasks and is completely out of parity in function and performance with other Adobe software such as photoshop and inDesign.
It is not as straightforward as it may sound :) We have been working to take advantage of threads and other hardware such as GPU/Video RAM in places where it can make a higher impact. We are prioritizing areas that are slow instead of making a generic change and destabilizing the product. Product stability is the top priority for us and we have been consistently trying to improve it. We want to move with caution and make changes without compromising on the quality. Hope this helps.
I have a 2017 iMac with a 4.2ghz i7 cpu, 32GB of ram and SSD is formatted with APFS so a 5gb file can be written to the drive 40 seconds.
It is ridiculous to wait 5 minutes for a 5GB illustrator file to save, when there is 15GB of ram available and while it's saving, the CPU load never goes above 20%.
If Illustrator used the CPU efficiently then I would be happy to go back to a paid subscription,
We need that feature. Or just improve the CUDA support. We need faster Software and the Datas get more and more complex everyday!
Ali Ganum commented
I have the latest MacBook Pro 2018, i9 32GB RAM but Adobe Illustrator is really very very slow, if you compare it to Affinity Designer for example the Affinity Designer will smash Adobe Illustrator in; Opening files, Exporting, Navigating, Zooming in/out the list goes long and long, and Adobe charge us a lot of money more than any creative company, I am so desperate of Adobe, because it makes my workflow slower.
It's not profitable to release a fast software, think about this!
Yes please. Adobe fix the performance problems please. just do a super stable and quick software and cut all extra **** and useless extra functions if they slow down everything. I've been working with Illustrator for years. (Working with high detailed illustrations mostly.) In the beginning everything went smooth. Till I updated to CC. Then things went downhill. In desperation I bought an new iMac Retina 27" late 2014 and this computer was totally useless with illustrator for over a year. Now it works better - but still - my old mid 2011 Imac works much better with illustrator. Not sure if its a Retina thing? I had the chance to beta test Affinity Designer for Ipad. And its clear it is still possible to make stable, super fast, vector softwares. Even for smaller companies like Serif its possible so this should be a piece of cake for a company like Adobe.
Anonymous, I'm not denying that at all - I just think his post is better suited in it's own thread. Just check the first post I left on this thread. I'm guessing the performance problems have to do with AI's postscript roots (I'm also guessing that this is also why it often does such a terrible job handling SVG files). I think they'll probably have to rewrite much of the program from the ground up. That said, it *would* be understandable that they've put this off except for the fact that AI is supposed to be a professional program and comes with a premium price tag. What really annoys me is seeing all of the new bells and whistles they add to AI in each release without actually addressing it's main problem.
John, while I agree with you 100%, Illustrator has major performance issues.. I can open the same pdf on multiple pdf editors but Illustrator is the only one that lags and shows beachballs constantly. Illustrator is currently multi processor aware so its not that.. (look at Activity Monitor.. it shows all cores being used), I believe that the code written is so bloated that its like trying to find a needle in a haystack every time you need to do something.. Better optimizations, rewriting parts at a time?? I think it needs a major cleanup.. Ive been using illustrator since version '88 so I do have experience in this matter.
While I'm not convinced that Mike's problem has to do specifically with Illustrator's lack of multi-threading, from what he's said it does sound like it does have something to do with Illustrator as it's not a problem he's experienced with other applications. From my own tests, it seems like this might be an issue specific to Macs or NAS drives; I'm running AI on Windows 10 and saving to networks storage (both on a machine running Windows 10 and another running Ubunutu 16.04) hasn't been an issue for me at all. Mike, since other users here have said they've experienced similar issues you should start a separate thread for your specific problem. It'll probably help bring it to Adobe's attention - whether they'll do anything about it is another matter....
We save without PDF content . files are tiny... Also. if I save to desktop, its almost instant.. save on network drive.. its slow..
Scratch set local... SSD
Work in outline mode and minimize link and layers pallet whenever possible to add a little speedup..
Joe Beland commented
I work exclusively off a server in Illustrator and find AI to be slow IF files are saved with PDF preview ON. PDF preview will grow your filesize immensely if you embed or even link psd's in your file. Obviously, larger files take longer to load and save. Turn OFF PDF preview, and your filesize will shrink to a fraction of its size.
This may or may not be your issue, however, I'm constantly amazed how many people who've been working in Illustrator for years don't know this. And obviously, make sure your scratch disk is set to a local drive.
I build packaging - some of the boxes I build are very large, with very large image files - and don't have network issues as long as I keep PDF preview off my file saves. I also tend to work in Outline Mode most of the time as well - helps with performance.
But, I have to agree, Illustrator's performance is horrible.
Nikolas Karampelas commented
Is that so? I guess then it is illustrator related, but honestly I could live with local save then lan backup if I could get other more significant problems of illustrator shorted out.
This is an Illustrator issue. Photoshop has no problems whatsoever. We run off a full 1GB network.. work of the server for everything.. NO issues except for Illustrators massive lag.. Its a common issue.. They even understand its an issue because they technically do not support working in Illustrator over a network. Ive been doing it for 15 years. And yes Ive checked our network speeds.. they are fine for everything but AI.. a 10 meg file shouldn't take 30 seconds to save. Period!! I can save a 1 GB Photoshop file in under 15 seconds on the same volume. so.. NO.. its not a network issue. Its the way Illustrator works.. we would like to have full compatibility with network usage.
Nikolas Karampelas commented
Always work on the local disk, even if you have an HDD is always faster.
Working over a network is very likely to keep you at a 100Mbit rate (if for example you use for LAN the modem/router of your ISP).
Even if you have an ethernet hub at 1Gbps, it need to be good enough to deliver this 1Gbps on every port at doublex rate.
This is not an illustrator problem.
I work with a Synology NAS also, but if I have any files linked to the NAS while I'm working off a file - even if its a document I have saved to my desktop, It causes lag. Lately, I have found that if I package a project with everything local, but my NAS is plugged into my machine (and turned on), it drastically slows Illustrator (think spinning wheel 5 seconds, work 8 seconds, spinning wheel 5 seconds, etc.) Unfortunately the same issue on Indesign - though MUCH MUUUUCH worse. I use my wife's Imac, as that's much quicker than my super beefy Mac Pro
Mike: I was wondering if you were using a NAS drive. I've never used a Synology NAS, but do you know how to find out the type of file system that's being used on the drives you've installed into it? I'm sure that there's a way to find out through the web-based management app (I just have never used it so I couldn't tell you). If it has a bash shell, you can ssh into it from your Mac's terminal:
and run the command:
sudo fdisk -l
That'll list all of your partitions and tell you the file system types they use. I wonder if Illustrator is getting confused, expecting to see a file system like the one your local machine when it's saving to the remote drive but finding something different. I don't really know.
If you were running Windows I could offer you a fairly easy workaround in the form of a batch script setup in Task Scheduler that uses Robocopy to move your .ai files upon saving them. Sadly, *nix systems, like OSX, don't have Robocopy, but they do have rsync ( https://rsync.samba.org/ ) so you can probably do the same thing (I don't use a Mac, but I'd imagine it has something like Task Scheduler to easily set up the triggers). If you want to go this route (and seeing how quick Adobe is at fixing these sort of issues I'd definitely advise you to do so) but you feel a little out of your depth, check on StackExchange or a related freenode IRC channel; I'm sure you're not the first person who has done this, so there's likely pre-written scripts out there that'll do this with little modification.
I'm using a Mac and a Synology NAS. Illustrator takes an eternity to do anything when it comes to the network. Opening or saving any file type with Illustrator is slow. But everything else is okay.
It seems the general sentiment about all Adobe software is "please spend time on improving performance and reliability".
I have had to do more system restarts to get Adobe software running than ever before. The reliability and performance is definitely not what it used to be.
I find it quite insulting that Adobe's recommendation to deal with slow performance is "use a faster CPU". I used a 2006 MacBook until 2015. I was using fairly old versions of Adobe software but it was fast and reliable. But my job changed and I had people sending me files from the later versions so had to upgrade.
I bought a high spec MacBook and the latest Adobe software. I didn't see a performance increase and it has been getting worse. The reliability is also questionable. Like I said earlier, I have to restart the computer mostly when I am using Adobe software.
Adobe software is not cheap. The features in most of their software are generally making them leaders in the respective categories BUT it's SLOW and can be unreliable. So, Adobe, please invest time in the performance of your software.
Mike: Elaborate a bit on your problem. I just did a test by saving a 435KB PDF to local storage and to a network attached drive and didn't notice much of a difference. Let me ask, what operating systems are you using on both machines and what type of file systems are you using for your local system drive (the drive that AI is installed), the remote system drive and the remote save drive (if the remote machine uses more than one). I've set up my network to only use NTFS drives as my primary machine runs Windows - an Ubuntu file server I run does use LVM on its system drive but I don't allow remote access to that for security reasons so I can't really test to see if it's an issue with cross-file-system saving. Also, try and see how long Illustrator takes to save an .ai file on the network.
Regarding the comment on saving over a network being slow. There's a feature request to save locally first and then automatically copy over the network. Please upvote if you feel:
Saving a PDF to a network drive takes an eternity on my computer. A 100Kb PDF can take about 30 seconds to save and bigger files take longer. A 400Kb photoshop file saves to the exact same location in a few milliseconds. Something is wrong with the way Illustrator works with the file system.