Delay - Saving PDF under DTPO

I have a serious problem related to DevonThink and my MacBook Pro 2011, and I would like to know if users have been experiencing it as well. I have about 6000 thousand PDFs (size 15GB) that are indexed in DTPO. When I save my underlining or any change in a PDF under DTPO, my MacBook takes a long time to process it, with the beachball spinning and spinning. During this time the fan really kicks in loud, and only after a while it goes back to normal. Saving under Adobe Acrobat outside DT does not produce this problem. Thanks–

There are several possibilities here.

Sometimes clicking on the DEVONthink application’s name in the menu bar and choosing the option ‘Empty Cache’, then quitting and relaunching the DEVONthink application can clear up flaky behavior (sometimes a computer Restart will accomplish wonders).

I always remove the PDF viewer plugin that Acrobat or Adobe Reader installs, which can be found either in the boot volume’s Library/Internet Plugins/ or in the user’s /Library/Internet Plugins/ folder. That plugin uses Adobe’s code, whereas DEVONthink uses Apple’s PDFKit code to view PDFs.

If you attach a screenshot of the Database Properties panel for that database (File > Database Properties), that might supply useful information. The most important measurement of database size is usually the total words count.

Another screenshot attachment that would be useful is of the portion of the Activity Monitor (Applications > Utilities > Activity screen that displays memory status when the ‘System Memory’ button is pressed. If the computer has run out of free physical RAM and is heavily into use of Virtual Memory swap files, procedures can slow down drastically. If that’s the case the same procedure may run without slowdown after a computer Restart to clear RAM and Virtual Memory swap files.

Bill, thank you for your thoughtful reply.

  1. Empty Cash is a good reminder. Is there a way to automate that?
  2. Computer restart helped a bunch, and refreshed the system
  3. Before I erase the PDF viewer, I would like to know what the main problem is with having two codes. What is the main change resulting from erasing the PDF viewer.
  4. I don’t know how to post screenshots yet, but here is what you asked: Database words: 207,407,984; Free Memory: 3.81
  1. I don’t know whether Adobe has ever updated the PDF viewer plugin it places in /Library/Internet Plugins/ when Acrobat or Adobe Reader is installed or updated, but for years there were complaints that it caused problems.

As it is not necessary to view PDFs in OS X (and Acrobat seems to function OK without its presence), my practice is to remove it.

  1. I use modular databases that meet particular needs or interests and the largest one I have has just over 36,000,000 total words. It’s always open, together with several smaller ones and the total word count of all open databases is less than 40,000,000 total words. I assume you have 3.81 MB of free memory, which probably means you are heavily into using Virtual Memory swap files. That means that for processes to go to completion your computer is constantly swapping data back and forth between RAM and swap files on disk, and slowdowns result because read and write are orders of magnitude slower on a hard drive than in RAM.

All together I manage more than 250,000,000 documents among a number of self-contained (Imported) databases. I split up those documents among multiple databases in order to avoid ever seeing that spinning ball, and I expect to see search and See Also results immediately. I treat my databases as informational Lego blocks that I can open as sets for various purposes. As a whole, they wouldn’t fit on my current favorite Mac, a 2011 MacBook Air with i7 CPU, 4 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD. But more than 99% of the time, the set I’ve got on the Air is all I need. The whole collection is available on a Thunderbolt drive if needed.

I try to keep more than 750 MB free RAM at all times, and purge inactive RAM when free RAM drops below that level. Most of the time I’ve got about 1,500 to 2,000 MB free RAM and everything flies.

Thanks for the great reply, I am still trying to undertand the concepts you described. I have a MacBook 13 early 2011, i5 2.3 MHz with upgraded Hard Drive of 7200rpm and 8GB memory. Right now I have 1GB free. But the problem I think is my big database of over 200 million words. Should I break it up in pieces of 50 million for better memory use? Right now DTPO is taking up 1.83GB of memory. Boy, I think I should do something about this, but don’t know where to start. (Free Memory as of now: 2.93GB).

So what you’re saying is that multiple databases would lighten up the load in terms of performance, right? I also hope to quickly see Search and See Also. What kind of thunderbold drive do you have, I thought this type of enclosure was not out yet.

Bill, I moved a document I was working on to a small database. It saved my underlining faster than when it was on the big database. So this is the deal, volume of total words in a database will dictate performance.

Thunderbolt - LaCie has several such drives, even listed in the Apple Store.

This solved my problem:

  1. Broke up my articles in 6 databases
  2. Upgraded to a fast SSD Solid State Drive
  3. Upgrade to 16GB Ram
  4. Macbook Pro 2012 (Ivy Bridge)
  5. Transfer of Devonthink files after clean Moutain Lion install

I know this is an expensive way to solve these problems, but I had other reasons to invest in new technology. Thanks for the help, guys.