Memory and project size, etc.

Hi. I’ve done some forum searches on this but haven’t found much that’s both Windows-specific and recent.

I am not experiencing any issues atm, but I have some questions about how Scrivener uses memory, and about best practices… and some related questions about how Scrivener works in general.

For context, I’m working on a project with about 68,000 words, divided into a total of about 180 individual documents/folders and sub documents. Included in that are a handful or so web pages and/or pdfs. I’d guess that that is a large-ish but by no means BIG project.

Is all of that kept live in memory at the same time? Or does Scrivener somehow manage documents by opening them and closing them on some kind of as-used or as-needed basis, with the binder containing what are often just “empty” references to a doc not currently or recently in use?

The rtf documents themselves are quite small, but are there (or can there be) performance issues as a Scrivener project grows beyond a certain size or level of complexity? For example, is there any reason I wouldn’t want to bring in another 50,000 words divided across a similarly large number of docs (other than protecting my sanity in keeping it all straight?)

My computer specs aren’t the latest and greatest, but it still works quite well even when pushed hard: it’s a 5 year old Toshiba laptop with a Pentium Dual Core T3400, with only 2 gb of memory. Only the hard drive is from this decade: a new 7200 rpm 750 gb with tons of unused space. At present, Scrivner is using between 100k and 125k, but I’ve seen it up in the 600k range. It seems to fluctuate quite a bit (unlike Firefox, which just grows until it bursts. :smiling_imp: )

Again, everything is working fine, though sometimes sluggish when navigating the binder eg, after having been working on individual docs, then clicking into the Draft top level – the window title bar indicates “not responding” but this has always cleared up in a few seconds. I assume that’s mostly because of the computer’s specs, but so far Scrivener’s been quite stable.

I’m just looking ahead from a best practices pov, and trying to figure out at what point I’d be pushing things too far.

Thank you!

I’m not an expert, so take this with a grain of salt…

My guess is that robertdguthrie summarized it pretty well in viewtopic.php?f=2&t=26109&p=169708&hilit=memory#p169659
“it only loads the files from disk that you have selected to be in one or both editor panes”.
I’ve seen discussions that the Mac version loads selected files into a single editor, whereas the Windows version loads and stacks editors, an editor per selected file. Don’t know that that necessarily results in differences in performance.

Clicking on the draft high level folder can bog down even a high end PC. I still see this on my 4Ghz eight core 4GB memory PC. It’s not as bad as on my previous 3Ghz single core 4GB PC, but it is still significant. I assume that is due to it loading all, or at least as many as memory permits, of the documents, so as to be able to present a scrivenings (composite) view of the entire draft.

Probably best to to work in lower level (perhaps chapter level folder or smaller number of selected items) scrivenings or individual documents.
For viewing the entire draft, may be better to compile to preview or compile to ebook or PDF and view in appropriate reader.
If need stats for the entire draft (which viewing a scrivening of the entire draft will… eventually… produce), probably better to use Project > Project Statistics.

I don’t see any issue with bringing in the additional material you mentioned. Other than that the, likely infrequent, use of the scrivenings view of the entire draft will take a little longer to load.

For the standalone use of Scrivener for the project you describe, your laptop sounds more than adequate. As far as upgrading the laptop, either on general principles, or specifically for running Scrivener and multiple other major apps at the same time, one option stands out… bumping the memory to 4GB (the most 32 bit Windows supports and possibly the max your laptop’s firmware may support). Cost shouldn’t be bad.

A few things that get mentioned from time to time relative to performance in general…

  • In Tools > Options > General, possibly bump the “Save after period of inactivity” amount up a little…
  • Limit to few (and possibly small) images per document. Use links to external images if need many (and possibly large) within a given document. Otherwise, will bog down badly when viewing/editing such documents.
  • Close other apps that aren’t needed. Uninstall those that truly aren’t needed/wanted.
  • Make sure the hard drive has reasonable amount of free space.

Hope that is of some help…