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Performance of mode switching

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  • Performance of mode switching

    My apologies for the length of this post. It contains no questions as such and if you’re a long time ACDSee user, it may not cover anything new but for more recent users like myself, I hope that you might find something of interest or possibly even helpful.

    I’ve only been using ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate since December 2018 and overall I’m pretty happy with it. However, I have a couple of gripes, with probably the most significant one for me being the speed of initialising the various modes. Indeed it seems to be a topic that appears from time to time in posts on this forum but may normally be attributable to local machine configuration.

    To put the rest of this post in to context, my PC is spec’d as follows:
    • i7-4790K oc’d to 4.5GHz
    • 16GB DDR3 RAM
    • Sapphire RX580 nitro+ SE 8GB, latest drivers
    • Windows 10, 1809
    • ACDSee PSU2019
    • OS, software and database on Samsung SSD
    • Images on HDD
    • Current database size ~12000 images, mostly 24MP NEF, some dng, a few tiff and some jpeg.
    Based on the specification of my PC, I don’t believe performance should be an issue, despite the age of the CPU. However, I have been experiencing very slow initialising of View mode, frequently 10-15s and sometimes up to 23s. Once in View mode however, image switching is impressively fast and image switching in Develop has also been mostly acceptable to date.
    The following is not an exhaustive list because it’s from memory but some of the things that I have tried in order to improve performance are:
    • Face detection off
    • Regular Database optimisation and maintenance
    • Cataloguing to include RAW previews (may have helped a little)
    • Selecting the GPU manually rather than allowing ACDSee to do it automatically
    • Switching off/on holding next and previous images in memory
    • Activating/deactivating OpenCL (improves image switching but not mode initialising)
    • RAW decode off (may have helped a little but is ultimately not what I want to do)
    • New database (made no difference)
    • Uninstalling rarely used software in case of a conflict
    • Rolling back graphics drivers
    • Disconnecting from the internet and deactivating my antivirus software
    Basically, nothing made a significant difference until I tried the suggestion in the following post to regenerate registry entries:

    This gave an instant improvement (Thanks Emil). However it resulted in my workspace being reset to default configuration. In my previous workspace setup, I had several panes open and stacked both in Manage and View modes, and a couple in Develop. As I re-configured my workspace, initialising View became slower again and so I started to experiment with activating, deactivating and re-positioning the various panes while I timed View mode start-up.

    The result is that so far the only thing that I can confidently say makes a significant and repeatable difference to the time it takes to initialise modes is the panes that are active in the target mode (in particular View mode). Any pane that is active in View mode has a cumulative impact on the initialising speed of View. i.e. the more panes that are active the slower View is to initialise. However, my experience indicates that in particular the Properties and Develop panes have the greatest impact on start-up performance. Moreover, the speed of start-up is further affected by how much EXIF data View is attempting to display immediately after initialising. I found a reasonable degradation to start-up performance simply by activating the detailed metadata view rather than having just the default metadata selected. I like to have the Properties pane active in Manage, View and Develop modes so making sure that they are all configured with default metadata was therefore necessary for me to maximise performance. It is also therefore possible that the speed of initialising the Develop mode is affected by having the Properties pane activated but I haven’t tested it.

    Interestingly, for me the initialising of View mode appears to be slowest when I enter from Manage mode and is considerably faster when entering from Develop. I wonder if this is a clue as to where a problem might lie?

    It’s far from clear to me but I think that I have also been coming to the conclusion that there may be additional factors that affect the start-up performance of View as it appears to get slower over time. In these circumstances I’ve found that restarting ACDSee seems to reset something. I had wondered if I just needed to embed the metadata during the session but when I tested that, it didn't result in improved View start-up.

    Lastly, my CPU is an i7-4790k (Haswell) which I recently discovered may have been quite significantly affected by the 2018 Microsoft patches for mitigating against the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. As I understand it the performance of more recent CPU's probably weren't noticeably affected and so I wondered if this may be the reason for me seeing such different performance compared to ACDSee support (I assumed that they were likely to be using a more recent CPU). I therefore activated the newer Retpoline exploit mitigation in Windows 10 which is thought to bring back a significant amount of the CPU performance that was lost with the original patches and which I believe will be activated by default in the April 2019 update.

    Anecdotally at least Develop feels somehow a little more responsive and overall programme start-up is most definitely faster. However, Retpoline didn't seem to affect the speed of initialising View and Develop. I remain optimistic that it might improve other aspects of ACDSee Ultimate’s performance.

    I’d love to hear if other users have experienced similar slow initialising of View or other modes in PSU 2019 and if they too can largely attribute the slow down to the various panes, or perhaps to something else. Maybe you’ve cured it – in which case how?! For those with no apparent problem, does adding more panes to a mode impact performance at all?

    In conclusion, any future performance improvements would very much be welcomed!
    Last edited by prsettle; 03-08-2019, 03:10 PM.

  • #2
    Here's small comparison of ACu8 (Build 406) and ACu12 (Build 1609).

    For both programs the HKCU-Registry and the DB were removed and replaced with default values on start up.
    In addition the indexer and face recognition (ACu12 only) were disabled. Both programs showed the same folder in Manage Mode (F8).

    As test in both programs the first thumbnail was double clicked and then switched back to Manage Mode.
    This screen shot displays the CPU usage for both programs as recorded with process hacker:

    Click image for larger version

Name:	Mode switching edited.PNG
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    BTW. The vertical lines of the grid mark ten seconds!


    • #3
      I did a few quick experiments
      a) My default workspace... a minimum set of tiles/tabs/panes to keep things efficient
      b) A special workspace.... with everything turned on.

      In each workspace, I tried opening local images and remote images moving from Manage Mode to View Mode.
      Files were randomly selected NEFs, TIFs, JPGs from 1MB to 800MB in size

      Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for me), I have nothing interesting to report as I could not notice a difference between the configurations.

      Sorry I could not be of greater help.


      • #4
        User for many years of Acdsee, it is obvious that the latest version of Ultimate 2019 is much slower than previous versions, especially in the cases you quote.
        An upcoming update will fix the problem, at least that's what I hope.


        • #5
          Thanks to Emil and GusPanella for taking the time to perform some investigation of your own. Your results clearly illustrate the significant variance in performance experienced by users and also the performance consistency of different versions run on the same hardware. My experience had been somewhat similar to Emil's but not as bad all of the time. I hope that the developers take note and are able to address this.

          Fortunately for me, although PSU19 generally isn't as snappy as I might like, I haven't seen such significant performance problems as in Emil's illustration since I activated the Retpoline exploit mitigation. It may or may not ultimately be responsible for the improvement because I also looked at the configuration of my SSD and made sure that Windows indexing service and prefetch/superfetch were both switched off - for some reason one of them was on but I forget which.

          Switching from Manage to View now seems to fairly consistently take ~5-8s but is always longer for the first mode switch operation after starting the software.