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Colman Stephenson

Crippling Memory Leaks

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We are suffering from terrible memory leaks in VectorWorks alone.

Regular problems (aside from several crashes a day) include "Short of Memory" and "Out of Memory" messages; inability to zoom in as far as normal, restricting us to around 1,500% and other tools not behaving properly. Also copy and paste are extremely unstable.

System: G4/400 with 192Mb physical RAM running System 9.0.4. At least 6 Gb of free HD. Problem occurs with VM on and off. No other applications need be open to create the problem.

VectorWorks allocated 78Mb, number of undos set to 15.

Document. The problem occurs with documents which are around 6Mb in size. One in particular which contains 39 layers, 38 classes and no TIFFs. The document is saved locally.

A large bunch of flowers/bottle of whiskey to anyone in the world who can help us solve this disabling problem.

Colman Stephenson

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Colman-

First of all, although 192 MG of RAM use to be a lot, these days it is not - and allocating 78 to VW is very small if you are doing any kind of involved 3d or spread sheets or rendering. And a document of 6 MG is HUGE. So the short on memnory issue is probably accurate.

I would suggest buying more hard RAM & allocating more to the program, turning off virtual memory, getting your multiple undos down to a smaller number, turning down your 2d & 3d conversion resolution to a medium or high, & then the hardest issue is to look at why you have such a huge file & making it more efficient.

Hope that helps.

------------------

Janis Kent, AIA

author WorksTutorial & WorksManual

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I'm with Janis on this one. I have 256MB installed in my G3 (OS9.04), with about 110MB allocated to VW. I've reduced my undos to 2. I do a great deal of memory-intensive 3D and rendering work, and can't remember the last time I got an out-of-memory message. And I often work with files that are 8-10MB in size.

Dan Jansenson

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Thank you for replying so quickly to us.

Following your advice we allocated 150Mb (64Mb min) and set the number of undos to 2, 2D resolution to medium and 3D resolution to low. We are not currently using:

- 3D tools

- spead sheets

- rendering

We still get the 'low in memory' message and we are having crashes. Is this not symptomatic of a memory leak?

Our example file has 38 layers, 54000 objects and is entirely 2D.

We have got your books which we find very useful.

Stefania Scarsini (Colman Stephenson colleague)

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Is this a computer that you leave on all of the time? If so, do a Restart. I believe that has something to do with cache memory.

But, I think the main reason is the size of your file - 6 MG is BIG particularly if you are not doing any rendering. Not knowing how your files are organized, my guess is that you are making tons of duplicates rather than making use of symbols and using layer linking. Also, you may be making use of lines rather than shapes - ie 4 lines instead of a rectangle. If you are on the most current version of the program, my best guess is the file size. Aside from symbols & object types, you might also be able to better manage file size by using Workgroup Referencing and setting up smaller files. BTW, number of classes & layers should have no impact.

------------------

Janis Kent, AIA

author WorksTutorial & WorksManual

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This may have nothing to do with your specific problem but...

I have found a strange coincidence, that after (or when) using Microsoft Internet Explorer I will often crash VW with an out-of-memory condition. I've learned to close IE, and sometimes even restart before launching Vectorworks.

Dan J.

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quote:

Originally posted by Janis Kent:

But, I think the main reason is the size of your file - 6 MG is BIG particularly if you
[/b]

Hi-- excuse me for chiming in here, but I'm curious about this statement. We frequently (as in daily) create and edit files that are 5M - 35M in size, with occasional files that reach 50M. Is there a limit on the size or number of objects that VW can efficiently handle? We have about 290M or so of RAM installed on a G3. I don't get the out of memory messages very often, but I do get "VectorWorks has quit unexpectedly" crashes 2-3 times a week.

Also have had the zooming problem the original poster referred to, but that seems to happen mainly when there are large differences between scales of different layers in the drawing (i.e., a PICT image on a layer with a scale of 1=1 and an imported .dwg file on a layer with scale 1=2400). We've solved that problem by putting the pict images on layers with similar scale as the drawing, which works fine as long as the layer scale is set before the image is imported.

Interesting comment about MS Internet Explorer--have run into that one at home and switched to Netscape because of it, but that's on a PC, not a Mac.

Barb Nelson

RLK Hydro

Kalispell, MT, USA

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Barb-

The size files you are talking about are quite large. At the very least they would slow down the responsiveness time. RenderWorks does tend to jack up the size of the files, but if you are not using this it means you have many objects.

Recently on the VW listserve there was a discussion on the number of objects you can have in a file. Apparently this has an effect on Shaded Solid Render and if you have over that magic number and use that integrated rendering choice it can stop modifications of any kind. What I would suggest is looking at WorkGroup Referencing so that this information is subdivided among several files & then I would also look at using more efficient object types.

------------------

Janis Kent, AIA

author WorksTutorial & WorksManual

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Guest

A few comments:

- a memory "leak" happens when a program allocates some memory and then fails to return it to the pool of free memory when it's no longer needed. A telltale sign of a leak is that the program in question uses more and more memory the longer it runs. Speaking about VectorWorks specifically, do this:

1. launch VectorWorks

2. with no documents open, open the About VectorWorks dialog box and note the amount of free memory

3. open one of your documents, work on it for a while, and then close it

4. check the available memory as you did in step 2

5. repeat 3 and 4 a few times

6. if the amount of memory available with no documents open decreases over time, then VectorWorks is obviously consuming memory somehow, and it's reasonable to think that some sort of memory leak might be responsible.

It's okay if the amount of free memory decreases a little at first, as some programs don't load some resources until they're needed, but may keep them around after that. It's the steady march toward 0 over time that might indicate a real leak.

- RLKHydro: you're quite right that having layers with widely differing scales will reduce the accuracy of the program, thus limiting the degree to which you can zoom in on objects. If you can avoid very large disparities in layer scale, it's best to do so.

- Janis: I think the limit to which you refer is the limit on "system names", which are really numbers, and yes, the limit has a real effect on rendering. If you've got many extrudes or sweeps, you might run into this limit when you try to render. Two things you can do to avoid the problem is to reduce the '3d conversion resolution' in the preferences, and to convert extrudes and sweeps into meshes.

Hope that helps...

Caleb Strockbine

caleb@nemetschek.net

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Thanks to all who helped us out with - especially Janis whose books we find very useful.

Interesting general discussion has arisen about the size of VectorWorks files. Janis, it seems that lots of people work regularly on files much bigger than 5Mb.

Colman & Stefania

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Hello,

I'm new to Vectorworks, but have been tinkering with installations in several offices where I live.

I think the suggestion that file size or memory allocation is responsible for vw instability in this case ignores a pattern shown on this list in which G4's are having trouble with display issues. I've worked on 3 g4's in the last few weeks that freeze on a tight zoom-in. I've also seen several posts on this list describing the same problems. I now have 270 or so mb of ram dedicated to vw on a new g4, and still have lockups, though they are less frquent than before. These results are occuring with file sizes under 2 megabytes in size.

Let's try to home in on the problems that are specific to g4's. I think we're missing an opportunity to nail a bug by attributing this problem to general conditions such as file size, or memory allocation.

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quote:

Originally posted by Colman Stephenson:

Interesting general discussion has arisen about the size of VectorWorks files. Janis, it seems that lots of people work regularly on files much bigger than 5Mb.

Colman- I know of a lot of people who work on large files - it doesn't necessarily mean that that is the best way to work. File sizes are certainly larger than they use to be, but it would help to streamline the file down by both, using memory efficient objects and WorkGroup Referencing. The textures for rendering do increase the file size a lot, though. I bet if I had a look at some of those files, I could get the size down a large perentage, which would make the program more responsive as well.

Glad you find the books helpful!

------------------

Janis Kent, AIA

author WorksTutorial & WorksManual

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quote:

Originally posted by RLKHydro:

Hi, Janis--I know exactly why our files are so large, it is because of imported bitmaps and .dwg files. We do a lot of site work, so sometimes need to plot a survey on top of a quad map (USGS topo) or a scanned aerial photo. We also import .dwg files from the county courthouse which have property boundaries, road easements, etc. on them. There really isn't a lot we can do to get the size of these files down--sometimes the elements that were actually created in VectorWorks will add up to less than 50K in size. We don't do any rendering at all.

I find your books useful, too!

Barb Nelson

RLK Hydro, Inc.

Barb-

Workgroup Referencing works really well for those DXF/DWG files. I would set up one file for just the import & import as separate layers, not classes. Then in another file, reference just those layers of the import you need.

I would do the same on those bitmap image files - make those in a separate file & reference them so you only have to bring in info you need. Then on the referenced layer in the target file, plot the survey & then ut the referenced link once you don't need it anymore.

Of course, if you need the whole thing, you are right, it won't make much of a difference memory-wise, but it is still a neater way to work with those different types of files.

Glad you like the books too.

------------------

Janis Kent, AIA

author WorksTutorial & WorksManual

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quote:

Originally posted by Janis Kent:

Colman- I know of a lot of people who work on large files - it doesn't necessarily mean that that is the best way to work. File sizes are certainly larger than they use to be, but it would help to streamline the file down by both, using memory efficient objects and WorkGroup Referencing. ...

Glad you find the books helpful!


Hi, Janis--I know exactly why our files are so large, it is because of imported bitmaps and .dwg files. We do a lot of site work, so sometimes need to plot a survey on top of a quad map (USGS topo) or a scanned aerial photo. We also import .dwg files from the county courthouse which have property boundaries, road easements, etc. on them. There really isn't a lot we can do to get the size of these files down--sometimes the elements that were actually created in VectorWorks will add up to less than 50K in size. We don't do any rendering at all.

I find your books useful, too!

Barb Nelson

RLK Hydro, Inc.

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quote:

Originally posted by Robert Nichols:

Hello,

I'm new to Vectorworks, but have been tinkering with installations in several offices where I live.

I think the suggestion that file size or memory allocation is responsible for vw instability in this case ignores a pattern shown on this list in which G4's are having trouble with display issues. I've worked on 3 g4's in the last few weeks that freeze on a tight zoom-in. I've also seen several posts on this list describing the same problems. I now have 270 or so mb of ram dedicated to vw on a new g4, and still have lockups, though they are less frquent than before. These results are occuring with file sizes under 2 megabytes in size.

Let's try to home in on the problems that are specific to g4's. I think we're missing an opportunity to nail a bug by attributing this problem to general conditions such as file size, or memory allocation.


Hmmm, Good point. We are experiencing similar problems

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We've been having an almsot identical problem using VW11.5 on a G5 1.8GHz with 1GB RAM. This is basically a brand new machine with a fresh system on it. It only seems to happen to one person in the office, howeve, which makes me think it's a file-specific problem.

Does anyone have any stats on what effect various things in VW files has on filesize and system performance (for example, worksheets seem to slow down things quite a bit, and make updating references a giant pain; up to 5 minutes extra update time per worksheet).

Also, does anyone know how many objects make a VW file "large"? 1200? 5000? 10000?

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First off I would upgrade to Mac OS 9.2.2 and see if that improves anything. But I think you will struggle with limited ram and Mac OS 9.

Failing that I would seriously consider dropping OS 9 and move to Tiger. The biggest single problem on Mac OS 9 systems has always been memory allocation issues. Upgrade to tiger and all of the memory problems will simple go away (tiger has protected memory). I run a couple of similar spec G4's with Tiger and 512MB of memory and while it is not super quick it is has been very reliable.

Jason...

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Until quite recently I was running 9.2.2 and VW 8.5. and it was rock solid. Currently running 11.5 in 10.3.9 which is equally stable on 3 G4 systems. All have 640 or more ram.No display issues. 1 or 2 freezes in 6 months.

Never ran a newer version than 8.5 under 9.

Memory and OS9....

The restart that Janis (another thank-you for your books) mentions is related to memory fragmentation. EG. you open Vworks and it grabs it's memory. You work for a while and then check your email and that program grabs a chunk. One of your emails has a web-link so now you open a browser (chunk) and so on. Unless you quit the programs in the reverse order you opened them you will have your original free memory total, but it won't be contiguous. That's to say it will be fragmented.

Trying to do something that requires 10 MB of memory will result in "out of memory" if there isn't one contiguous chunk of 10MB even if though you may have 70MB available. This condition will worsen over time as various programs are quit and launched and quit (in an effort to manage meager resources). At this point a restart is the only solution.

While allocating memory to apps, you must make sure you leave plenty of free ram for the OS. It's no surprise that Coleman is getting "Out of Mem" after upping v-works to 150 as that leaves only 42MB for the system. In 9 the system requirements will change as various extensions are loaded. V-works does some of it's work in system extensions like Quicktime, OpenGL and QuickDraw (for older V-works and 3D) and they're not loaded into memory until they're asked for.

"Getting Low on Memory" and "Out of Memory" always meant to me that I needed to buy more. I believe this will solve your problem, and for only a little more than the cost of a fine bottle of single malt scotch.

best wishes,

Charles

{edit for PS} Zooming probs can be caused by out-dated vidcard drivers. Updating to the latest OS of the version you are using is also recommended, tho I myself haven't ventured into Tiger yet...

[ 07-05-2005, 10:25 PM: Message edited by: ccroft ]

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