Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
1/31/22 8:13 a.m.

I've run into a bit of an issue with my work PC. It is a Lenovo IdeaCentre AMD Ryzen 5 1400 Quad-Core Processor  3.20 GHz with 8 gig of ram. The graphics card is a AMD Radon R5 340. It is running Windows 10 Home.

The problem I'm having is with large plan files. Most of them are PDF files and I am opening with Acrobat. They are bogging it down and it takes forever to load and manipulate them. 

Is this a software problem, memory problem, processor problem, or graphics card problem? Where should I look to solve it? Is it time to invest in a new computer? 

Any thoughts?

Thanks. 

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/31/22 8:20 a.m.

How large are those plan files? Do you get the same issue when you open the plan in a different PDF viewer? Both Chrome and Firefox have built-in PDF viewers.

I would run task manager and then open one of the large files and see if it's maxing out the CPU or if there are indications that it's low on RAM. If the plans are 2D, I don't think the graphics card is going to be the issue.

I'd also keep an eye on disk utilisation because some of these issues can also be caused by a slow disk.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/31/22 8:59 a.m.

^Good suggestions. I tried opening some large PDFs (a 36MB 1-pager and a 128MB complete book scan) and they caused a big increase in RAM usage, as well as some heavy single-thread CPU usage and a spike of storage activity while it was loading. The 128MB PDF still loaded in well under 10sec the first time (using evince), but this was on a pretty powerful computer (3Ghz dodecacore, 16GB RAM, M.2 SSD). The task manager's performance tab will be useful for finding what the bottleneck is.

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
1/31/22 9:32 a.m.

OK, looks like the problem is a lack of memory. The files are 50-150 MB. With one open, it sucked up 70% of the available memory. There was also a momentary blip of disk usage over 95%. 

I think I'm just killing it with too much software running at once. I frequently have QuickBooks, multiple pages of Excell, Chrome, and several pages in Acrobat up and running all at once. Then it's also hosting the company file for Quickbooks so my admin is putting demands on it as well. 

Looks like this motherboard only has 2 slots for memory. Any reason I can't throw a couple of 16gb memory sticks in it? 

 

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
1/31/22 9:38 a.m.

I was gonna say it sounds like RAM.  8 GB is a bare minimum.

Should be an easy upgrade.  Just check your motherboard book to see what the RAM requirements are and, budget permitting, get as much of the fastest RAM you can afford.

2x16GB should give you a nice performance boost.

fromeast2west
fromeast2west Reader
1/31/22 10:52 p.m.

Acrobat is lousy for large PDFs.  Look at other viewers;  free if need be, or Bluebeam if the job will pay for it.  (not a huge fan of bluebeam, but it works well for large files).

 

Greg Smith (Forum Supporter)
Greg Smith (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/2/22 12:22 p.m.

RAM for sure. 

Also - running Windows Home on a work PC is a licensing violation and it doesn't have the same management capabilities as Pro. 

 

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia UltraDork
2/2/22 12:54 p.m.

Do you have an SSD hard drive ?   That will help , 

also you can go into settings and add "virtual memory'  which takes a  few GB off the hard drive to use as internal memory..

but your best bet is 2 sticks of 16gb memory

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia UltraDork
2/2/22 12:54 p.m.

Do you have an SSD hard drive ?   That will help , 

also you can go into settings and add "virtual memory'  which takes a  few GB off the hard drive to use as internal memory..

but your best bet is 2 sticks of 16gb memory

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
2/2/22 1:15 p.m.

 

Current memory usage is 76% with Chrome, Excel, QuickBooks, Acrobat, and OneNote running.

This is on the way: Crucial 32GB Kit (16GBx2) DDR4 2666 MT/s 

According to the MB, that's the max it can handle. It should help. 

 

 

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
2/2/22 1:22 p.m.
Greg Smith (Forum Supporter) said:

RAM for sure. 

Also - running Windows Home on a work PC is a licensing violation and it doesn't have the same management capabilities as Pro. 

 

I had to go look this one up.

According to Microsoft, you can run Windows 10 Home in a business setting. It doesn't violate their licensing agreement. You are correct that it is less capable than the Pro version. 

Office Home and Student editions are not to be used in a commercial environment though.
"software is not licensed for use in any commercial, non-profit, or revenue-generating business activities.”

You must purchase the Office Home and Business version.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
2/2/22 1:24 p.m.

32GB sounds like overkill *to me* but other folks may disagree.  16 sounds like the sweet spot between cost and usefulness. 

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
2/2/22 1:31 p.m.

In reply to pres589 (djronnebaum) :

It could be. But, I'm a firm believer that overkill is the right kind of kill. 

 

mslevin
mslevin GRM+ Memberand New Reader
2/2/22 1:34 p.m.

No such thing as too much RAM

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/2/22 2:41 p.m.

Overkill? Maybe. Think of it as futureproof laugh In my experience for desktop use and most server uses that don't involve VMs, you're into the diminishing returns once you go past 16GB. I got a 32GB kit used for cheap for my gaming PC and I doubt I've used more than half of it so far. I'm using more than 16GB including swap on my laptop right now though, largely because I have too many browser tabs open...

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/2/22 6:41 p.m.

Memory is cheap nowadays, I'd populate it with as much as the motherboard can handle.  Find a spec sheet for the computer and go to town on it.

Greg Smith (Forum Supporter)
Greg Smith (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/4/22 3:50 a.m.
Toyman! said:
Greg Smith (Forum Supporter) said:

RAM for sure. 

Also - running Windows Home on a work PC is a licensing violation and it doesn't have the same management capabilities as Pro. 

 

I had to go look this one up.

According to Microsoft, you can run Windows 10 Home in a business setting. It doesn't violate their licensing agreement. You are correct that it is less capable than the Pro version. 

Office Home and Student editions are not to be used in a commercial environment though.
"software is not licensed for use in any commercial, non-profit, or revenue-generating business activities.”

You must purchase the Office Home and Business version.

Can i use Windows 10 Home Edition in my work (for commercial - Microsoft Community

Interesting - there is mixed guidance on this, but in most cases that I have encountered, machines should either be domain-joined (requires Pro) or are now being provisioned with Autopilot (requires Pro). Thanks for making me aware that Home is not technically a licensing violation (though the end of the thread includes this:
     Quote from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/piracy/knowthefacts/licensing.aspx as of 8/1/2017:
     When the license is intended for business use (except for academic institutions), the license that is acquired preinstalled or through a full package product must be a Windows Professional version.
     It'd seem to imply that Windows Home can't be used in any commercial setting.

Also, the SSD recommendation is solid. if you have spinning rust as your storage, an SSD will make a world of difference!

andy_b
andy_b New Reader
2/4/22 7:14 a.m.

I suggest offloading Quickbooks if you're currently hosting the file for multiple users. A secondhand laptop or micro pc would make a capable "server" and free up those resources on your end. 
 

Also, as others have said, 16gb of ram is the sweet spot these days. 

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/4/22 7:50 a.m.

RAM should help

 

Still, if the files are painfully slow - I'm guessing the plans you're opening are scans of old drawings. A pdf that is a bound set of scanned documents is gonna tax the computer.. no matter what.
 

Recommend split the documents into smaller packages (separate the plans, elevations, schedules, details, etc). This also helps so you can split the screen and look at those items side by side. 
 

If your work includes any "markups" (takeoffs, measuring, annotations, highlighting, inserting or lifting images from the document) on PDF files, do yourself a favor and buy Bluebeam PDF Revu. 
 

This software is so much more suited to that task than Acrobat Pro it's not even close. Sure acrobat will do the same stuff but it'll fight you all the way - it isn't intuitive and it doesn't have the ability to create step saving shortcuts via custom tools.

 

Revu is absolutely the most productive software I use as an architect once the drawings are made. 
 

https://www.bluebeam.com/trials

 

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
2/10/22 9:46 a.m.

To bring this to a conclusion, the memory solved the problem. 

I installed the memory yesterday. With my usual stack of software running, it is only using 22% of the memory and isn't lagging like it was before. 

I will look into the bluebeam software as well. 

Thanks for the pointers.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
2/10/22 9:47 a.m.

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fcdn1.cardly.net%2Fcard%2F1%2Fca096b55-972e-7c89-77b8-c32d870fcf00%2Fpage1-r2-i9068-1d10587f73a3909e14a4daec057a397d.png%2Fvp%2Fdetail-card%2F1200&f=1&nofb=1

 

Edit:  The solid-state drive suggestion is also a good one, just not quite as easy as adding RAM. 

Advan046
Advan046 UltraDork
2/10/22 10:14 a.m.
Toyman! said:

To bring this to a conclusion, the memory solved the problem. 

I installed the memory yesterday. With my usual stack of software running, it is only using 22% of the memory and isn't lagging like it was before. 

I will look into the bluebeam software as well. 

Thanks for the pointers.

Double up on BlueBeam being awesome. I have a project right now that is using the AutoDESK PlanGrid software. It appears so far to be a slightly more construction phase based drawing management system but isn't too far from BlueBeam. The contractor says it had just a bit of an edge on Bluebeam once the design is complete. But if they are in a Design-Build (vs design bid build as we are) Bluebeam is still their preferred for its pluses coordinating with the A&E. I am actually excited to see how this new to me software works. 

Both I think lean heavily on Adobe and I read that Adobe is still debating if they will make a Bluebeam competitor or not. Heck maybe one will buy the other. 

I actually am feeling more and more that Adobe Acrobat is the defacto standard file format for drawings outside the design office itself. 

I am awaiting my new work DELL with the big memory and graphics card. It will help me a lot with the solid 15 second page loads I get sometimes. 

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
2/10/22 2:30 p.m.

In reply to Advan046 :

I'm 2 months into my current role. I'm not sure I need something like Bluebeam enough to justify the cost. The only parts of a plan I need are the door schedule, the specs for the doors, and a basic floor plan. With the extra memory, Adobe does an OK job for that. At present, I don't need to do takeoffs or make notations. Just look up the automatic doors in the schedule, check the floor plan, read the specs, and bid.

That may be changing though. We are doing more and more interior manual doors. I may push to do some installations on larger projects. We shall see. 

For now, the memory has solved my issue. If things progress then I will look to other options. 

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