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I do have an almost new iMac (27", i9, 32gb ram, 512gb SSD, middle of the GPU options, 5k display + fullhd second monitor, Catalina, all up to date). using it to do graphics design (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat, all CC2020 versions) and webdesign (code editors, FTP, browsers of all kinds).

after a fresh boot, everything is fine and responsive. opening some code editor, finder, browser, ... is good. doing some work in acrobat, InDesign, illu, photoshop and having some more complex files open, the whole interface (including finder, typing text in the editor, animation or scrolling in browsers, opening save dialogs, ...) gets very unresponsive, like low frame rate in macOS animation, spinning wheel when selecting text, and the Adobe apps themselves too are slow on display changes.
I can't see big CPU loads in the activity monitor, but it's hard to see what's going on on the GPU level.

closing the bigger apps again seems to make things a bit better after some minutes, but only a reboot cleans everything up.

currently it's so bad its inhibiting my will to do work - I'd expect that kind of computer to run some mid-level graphics design tasks smoothly ... the documents are not simple, but they are nothing exceptional (and my older Mac from around 2015 actually did manage that, but but it was not with Catalina).

As it is a problem even when the Adobe apps are only waiting in the background while I'm in a browser or code editor, it may be connected with macOS itself, not only an in-application performance problem where Adobe would be the clear culprit. Something to do with the graphics subsystem (driver, ...?) that is under some stress when using the Adobe applications?

Any idea is welcome ...

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    Check your setting in prefs/performance, see if you're leaving enough RAM & GPU RAM for everything at once. Adobe still uses OpenGL/CL which is not very friendly at sharing. Also make sure you've sufficient scratch space…. & bear in mimd 6k of screen is a lot of pixels to have to throw around compared to say a couple of 1440p screens. – Tetsujin Jun 27 at 13:50
  • I'd check the Adobe forums to see what other people are saying about terrible performance in the current CC apps. – benwiggy Jun 27 at 15:03
  • thanks, I'll double check, though my old Mac with 16gb ram and the same workloads and apps / versions usually ran smooth (I'd have kept it but it was passed on to a colleague). the only big difference was it was not Catalina, and of course I might have some other configuration in the details I'm missing out so far. – Snail Jun 27 at 17:59
  • When it starts to get sluggish open Activity Monitor and click on the memory tab near the top. Note what your memory pressure reads and post it into your question. My old iMac was running very sluggish and my memory pressure was about maxed out. – jmh Jun 27 at 19:30
  • okay, today I tried to solve this with a hint from the Adobe forums: some people said the performance gets significantly better when using the colour profile "apple RGB" for all attached monitors (instead of using "iMac" or some real colour profile from a calibration tool). and indeed, that worked, I can now have InDesign or acrobat open and still use a browser or finder or text editor without spinning wheels. this seems to be Catalina+cc2020 only, every other combination seems to work with profiles. it's no real solution as I need profiling, but at least I've found the cause. – Snail Jun 29 at 17:05
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okay, today I tried to solve this with a hint from the Adobe forums: some people said the performance gets significantly better when using the colour profile "apple RGB" for all attached monitors (instead of using "iMac" or some real colour profile from a calibration tool).

and indeed, that worked, I can now have InDesign or acrobat open and still use a browser or finder or text editor without spinning wheels. this seems to be Catalina+cc2020 only, every other combination seems to work with profiles.

it's no real solution as I need profiling and color management, but at least I've found the cause.

Who is the culprit is hard to tell - apple changing color management methods (64bit? other layer in the display stack?) or Adobe not able to cope with it after now 8 months of CC2020 on Catalina ...

Adobe forums thread: https://community.adobe.com/t5/indesign/inddesign-2020-slow-performance-on-macos-catalina-10-15-1/td-p/10715300?page=1

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  • Apple hasn't changed color management. There are lots of posts about CC2020 being sluggish. It's just bad coding. And it's what you're paying a subscription for. – benwiggy Jul 1 at 7:28
  • yes, but they may have changed drivers or whatever. cc2020 is running okay on high Sierra with color management. and it's unusable on Catalina. so even if it is Adobe's fault and task to handle, the difference is the OS version it's running on. subscription or not ... not really lots to choose, the alternatives are still no alternative if things are getting more advanced ... – Snail Jul 2 at 8:27

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