MindManager CPU and Memory Usage (Update)

Filed Under Mindjet

Mindjet

by
November 13, 2006

 

Two months ago I blogged to request help in tracking down some rare performance problems with MindManager 6 for Windows.  I want to thank the 22 people who have reported performance cases to our customer support since then. Support have followed-up on these, and we have also held an internal "Performance Review", where we analyzed over 80 cases in detail.  A couple of people sent in technical advice, which is also gratefully received.

Some people have misinterpreted our concern as a statement that performance problems in MindManager are common.  This is not true.  Less than 1% of the issues raised with Customer Support relate to performance.  Since Jan 2005, we have had 250 such cases reported by 200 individuals. We have over 800,000 MindManager users. 

We found 6 general areas where issues had been raised, with a high proportion of the cases were from tablet PC users.  These areas were: handling of big maps, map opening speed, RAM usage, CPU usage when idle, CPU usage when moving the mouse across a map, and drag and drop of large number of topics and/or large attachments.  We mapped aspects of these onto 10 internal areas for specific improvement. We have started working on four of these areas:

  • Behavior on and after map opening
    After a map is opened, we spell-check it and validate all the links to files and hyperlinks.  This is done in background so that users can work in the maps as soon as they are opened.  With larger maps this process can take a while, and makes MindManager use a lot of CPU when apparently idle. We will change MindManager to largely avoid this CPU usage.
  • CPU usage when truely idle
    As I mentioned in my previous blog, we will reduce CPU usage when truely idle.
  • RAM usage
    By using a complex and clever technique for allocation RAM to map topics, we expect to be able to signifiicantly lower our usage of RAM.  This will help particularly with very big maps. 
  • Attachment and image handling
    This will help in map opening and drag and drop.

Things to watch out for:

  • Tablet PC’s and laptops go into a powersave mode when running on batteries.  They run more slowly, which makes MindManager and other programs take more of the available CPU.  To avoid this, plug into the mains or disable powersave mode.
  • Ink handling on tablet PC’s uses extra RAM and CPU.  Coupled with powersave mode, this can make a tablet PC sluggish.
  • The SAX BASIC scripting system provided with MindManager is intended for writing small macros. Larger applications and add-ins written in SAX Basic will be slow.  Serious development should instead use an industrial strength development tool.  [The technical reason for this slowness is that SAX BASIC always spawns a new thread to run macros.  The resulting cross-thread COM calls to MindManager are very slow, compared to same-thread calls.]

We regard this as an ongoing investigation, and are keen for anyone with performance issues to contact Customer Support.

 

8 Responses to “MindManager CPU and Memory Usage (Update)”

  1. Eric Mack

    As a note to those interested, it seems to me that this problem may be related to the graphics card drivers and the way that MindManager polls the system for updates (or?).

    Today, I found that when I reenabled the Nvidia 6200 utilities that came with my Tecra M4, the CPU utilization in Mindmanager was very high. When I disabled this utility, I saw a drop in CPU utilization. I’ve not tested this enough to prove that this is indeed the problem or even related to it but I want to share my observations in my quest to resolve this issue.
    Eric

  2. C

    One more note, in case you are still checking comments:

    I have experienced the CPU issue a number of times (it seems like MindManager and FireFox are the only apps I have that like to chew up CPU for no obvious reason).

    I have especially been experiencing the CPU run up when running MindManager inside MojoPac. In these instances, it does not just go up to 20-40% utilization, but more like 60-90%. I have occasionally seen that kind of Mindmanager CPU in my regular environment, but in MojoPac it is rather frequent. When I see it happening, I click the X icon to close MindManager, and if a “Do you want to save?” dialog pops up, MindManager instantly stops using so much CPU. If I cancel the close, MindManager goes right back to hogging the CPU. But if I close MindManager and open it back up (with the same maps), it seems to go back to it’s normal usage of 10-30%.

    I don’t know if there is anything about MojoPac that tips you off on what might cause this CPU run-up, but I thought I’d let you know. MojoPac is totally awesome (when it works as advertised) and I think it makes a super complement to many potential MindManager users who aren’t allowed to load personal applications or who don’t want to give their companies de-facto ownership of their personal data by storing it on company computers.

    Thanks

    C

  3. Richard Barber

    Nick,

    We support many variations of PC configuration: tablet or laptop or desktop, battery mode or mains power, 2 (soon 3) versions of Windows, 4 languages, 3 (soon 4) versions of Office, varieties of add-in, all manner of concurrently running applications. Our support team have tools to record a user’s machine configuration, and I encourage anyone with performance problems to contact Support so that we can duplicate the situation so as to understand and fix it.

    We choose improvements to address based on many factors, which include: the likely number of users affected, the number of use cases affected, the difficulty of the task, the possible adverse impact on stability, the amount of improvement that can be achieved.

    Richard

  4. Nick Duffill

    Richard

    Thanks for the insights, but it does not seem clear from this why some individual users are noticeably affected, and others aren’t. I use large maps and Sax macros intensively, and don’t suffer from the high % CPU issue or lockouts that some users are complaining about. But if the above diagnosis is verified, then I should be affected. So while solving the generic issues will help performance for all users, there must also be something platform-specific going on for a smaller number. A supporting factor is that this issue seems to have had a higher profile since SP1b, whereas I guess the architectural issues you describe are much older than that.

    In addition to a longer term redesign, a short term workaround for affected users is also needed, even if there are not so many of them. Is this part of the planned solution?

    Best regards
    Nick

  5. Richard Barber

    In answer to Andrew’s question about CPU usage on mouse movement. I am expecting that our solution to reducing CPU usage when idle will also reduce it on mouse movement.

  6. Andrew Wilcox

    Jerry,

    I tried that but it made no difference to me. I added back some tools: save all and center map and that made no difference.

    What I did notice is that different task panes cause different CPU usage. Without an open task pane and 3 heavily linked maps open with about 360 topics and 300 hyperlinks to web pages (none to Outlook) MindManager idles at 10% CPU time

    Open My Maps, Map Markers, Task Info, Map Parts and Library and it rises to 20%

    Search, Learning and Research (an Add In) take it to 15%

    So my tip is close your task panes when you are finished with them and set Tools > Options > General > Close task panes when idle to 1 minute

  7. Jerry Kang

    I thought customization of toolbars was a confirmed source of idle high CPU usage. It has been for me, on tablets, notebooks, and desktops. So, users, if you have 10-20% of your cpu being used with MM just running in the program, reset your toolbars back to default.

  8. Andrew Wilcox

    Richard

    Thank you for giving the MindManager community feedback on this important issue for a few of us.

    The very large majority of my clients have not experienced this CPU issue and are getting great value from using MindManager. However I believe more than 250 people have been affected. For instance one potential client installed the trial on a laptop and a desktop, both had the CPU issue. He gave up and will not use his time to provide data to Mindjet. I guess there are a few who have tried and given up without telling you. Also there are probably a group of users who have sufficently powerful PCs with simple setups, who are unaware that they have a problem.

    I will encourage the active user I know who has the CPU problem to contact support.

    I have applied many of the things you suggest on my TC1100 1ghz, 1gb RAM TabletPC

    * I turn off power save modes and need four batteries for a mobile day. If anyone is interested is seeing their CPU sped being modulated in dynamic switching mode, I have used Speedswitch to control and graph my TabletPC CPU speed. http://www.diefer.de/speedswitchxp/index.html

    * Taking notes in Ink at meetings has not been a problem until the maps gets large say 50 topics and then things slow done. Converting ink to text, topic by topic (when on mains) for a large map has a slow start but this speeds up when there are less than say 30 topics left to convert. Doing a full conversion in one go (battery or mains) is always quick.

    * I now realise that holding the pen near the screen uses CPU time and therefore power and move it away when not writing.

    What is your intent on the mouseover issue? No other applications that I have exhibit this problem.

    What timescale can we expect on the resolution of these issues?

    Good luck
    Andrew Wilcox