I've got an iMac that is performing quite poorly. The specs:

  • OS X El Capitan
  • 4.0 GHz quad-core (i7)
  • 16 GB RAM

I've tried everything possible to figure out what's going on, to no avail. Typically the machine has a few Adobe apps running (Photoshop, Illustrator), and Google Chrome with a bunch of tabs. Performance becomes horribly bad, rendering Photoshop almost unusable. The odd thing I noticed is that swap starts going up (to 10 GB in some cases) even though the physical RAM is only half exhausted.

enter image description here

Unfortunately I captured this after Photoshop was closed (which seems to help some). But while Photoshop is open, "Mem" is up to about 9-10 GB, and "Swp" can go as high as 10-12 GB.

The Activity Monitor shows a relatively low memory pressure (still in the green), so I'm not sure what the issue is. This is a pretty high-powered machine that shouldn't be exhibiting this behavior. I'm not sure if Adobe is the problem, or there's something wrong with this computer. How do I start to troubleshoot this?

Just to elaborate on the poor performance: simple things take way too long, such as nudging a layer over, or zooming in (as in, over 8 seconds for a simple operation!).

  • May I ask what you are using in the screenshot you provided? – At0mic Jul 11 '16 at 23:33
  • 1
    A command line utility called htop. (installable via Homebrew) – ffxsam Jul 11 '16 at 23:34
  • have you restarted the computer, and made sure "Reopen windows" is turned off? – At0mic Jul 11 '16 at 23:35
  • Yep, I've done that. – ffxsam Jul 11 '16 at 23:39
  • I have a similar computer, and when using PS for extended durations of renders it can take an awfully long time as well. FWIW, I'd go into Photoshop's performance settings (Cmd+K) and tweak from there. One of the major factors that affect performance are cache levels and "optimise cache for". – perhapsmaybeharry Jul 12 '16 at 3:34

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