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Sal Collaziano

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 7, 2007
314
12
Royal Palm Beach, FL
I have a 2017 iMac with 32 GB of ram. The only things I really use the computer for are web browsing with 25-30 tabs opened and email with 5 accounts and a LOT of activity. Email is a tremendous part of my day as I receive at least 100 messages with conversations going throughout the day - and I KEEP emails for a year and archive them after that.

I'm constantly having to restart email - which helps for a short time - but otherwise, I'm waiting several seconds to open an email, mark an email as read, respond to the email, the cursor barely moves while I'm typing, and moving to the next message also takes a few seconds.

edit: Scrolling through a long message is also choppy - as well as highlighting text...

Since this is such a big part of my day, this is causing problems. I'm probably wasting an hour or so each day waiting for the computer to catch up to me - whether that be the message I'm typing, or marking the email as read/unread, etcetera.

Will more memory help? I notice memory usage is always at 80% or more. I'm running the 3 TB Fusion Drive with 2.5 TB available. Browsing is no problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated...
 
Last edited:

kohlson

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2010
2,425
736
My assumption here is that are using web mail, and not a client like Apple Mail.

I am a firm believer that browsers are not very good stewards of memory, and that some browsers are worse than others. Rather than start an ideological war, let me ask: have you tried another browser, if only for a few hours, to see if that helps?

Also, you could try and archive sooner than a year - quarterly worked well for me in a business environment, when I was receiving a couple hundred message a day. I think you can figure out if there is a benefit to more time spent looking for older emails in archive versus improved performance.

The above doesn't cost anything. But if no satisfaction and memory usage is 80% and more, does Activity Monitor attribute this to your browser, and to the mail tab? If so, then if it were my system I would add more memory. Assuming you have 4x 8GB, swap in a couple of 16GB sticks should alleviate the memory pressure.
 

gilby101

macrumors 68020
Mar 17, 2010
2,340
1,257
Tasmania
Will more memory help? I notice memory usage is always at 80% or more

Do you mean memory pressure (as reported by Activity Monitor) is 80%? If so you have a memory problem. But I would investigate what is using memory before buying more.

But do you mean memory usage in the tradition unix sense with 20% free memory? That is not a problem - macOS likes to use all the memory your have.
 

salamanderjuice

macrumors 6502
Feb 28, 2020
495
534
Some more info would help. How are you accessing your mail? Apple Mail? Outlook? Thunderbird? Through a browser? You might want to google around and see if there is an email client designed to handle the volume of mail you get.
 

jerwin

Suspended
Jun 13, 2015
2,895
4,651
an ssd might be a more useful upgrade.

How long is your Safari reading list?
 

Sal Collaziano

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 7, 2007
314
12
Royal Palm Beach, FL
My assumption here is that are using web mail, and not a client like Apple Mail.

I am a firm believer that browsers are not very good stewards of memory, and that some browsers are worse than others. Rather than start an ideological war, let me ask: have you tried another browser, if only for a few hours, to see if that helps?

Also, you could try and archive sooner than a year - quarterly worked well for me in a business environment, when I was receiving a couple hundred message a day. I think you can figure out if there is a benefit to more time spent looking for older emails in archive versus improved performance.

The above doesn't cost anything. But if no satisfaction and memory usage is 80% and more, does Activity Monitor attribute this to your browser, and to the mail tab? If so, then if it were my system I would add more memory. Assuming you have 4x 8GB, swap in a couple of 16GB sticks should alleviate the memory pressure.
I'm actually using an email client named Postbox. Being that I'm constantly replying to people for several specific reasons, I really need the built-in canned responses - which work great. I've archived more based on your suggestion and that has helped. It may be enough to fix my problem. :)
Do you mean memory pressure (as reported by Activity Monitor) is 80%? If so you have a memory problem. But I would investigate what is using memory before buying more.

But do you mean memory usage in the tradition unix sense with 20% free memory? That is not a problem - macOS likes to use all the memory your have.
Activity Monitor. It's showing 10.6GB used by Firefox and 6.6GB used by Postbox...
Some more info would help. How are you accessing your mail? Apple Mail? Outlook? Thunderbird? Through a browser? You might want to google around and see if there is an email client designed to handle the volume of mail you get.
I'm using Postbox.
an ssd might be a more useful upgrade.

How long is your Safari reading list?
I don't use Safari or the reading list...

In any event, I think it may have been the amount of emails I've had in my inbox causing the issue. I've archived all my the last three months of my email and that seems to have made a pretty big difference... :) Thank you for all the replies...
 

mj_

macrumors 68000
May 18, 2017
1,616
1,281
Austin, TX
I still fail to see how an SSD would actually be beneficial in this particular situation.

And of course they recommend using an SSD. However, it is not going to solve anything if the issue is within Postbox itself and its inability to handle mailboxes with millions of messages. To me, it sounds like this is the bigger issue.
 

kohlson

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2010
2,425
736
I still fail to see how an SSD
My take: This app writes the mail box, or some large portion of it, to disk on a constant basis. In addition to other disk activities, such as reading files (messages), and any other adjustment. This problem scales with mailbox size. So a very slow HDD (which is typically in an iMac) won't scale with it. Worse, if Postbox makes lots of calls to disk, an HDD will slow things down. For example, an HDD is typically capable of no more than 200 IOPS, while an SSD is typically 100,000. And remember, Postbox is not the only thing making calls to the disk -- the OS is constantly doing so.
 
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jerwin

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Jun 13, 2015
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The postworks link might have been for a different app entirely. Sigh.

But, postbox does reindex mail periodically. And Index on Idle might be set to an uncomfortably frequent setting.
https://support.postbox-inc.com/hc/en-us/articles/360022291473-Searching-in-Postbox
When Postbox detects that your computer is idle, it will automatically walk through your folder structure, download message headers and bodies, then index them. The amount of idle time is now adjustable in Preferences | Options > Advanced > General > Index on idle after 180 seconds. If you wish for Postbox to more aggressively index, set this preference to a lower number. If you wish for Postbox to wait longer before indexing, set this preference to a higher number.

Note that the indexing process does consume a fair amount of CPU and hard drive reads/writes. So if you are in an important meeting, you may wish to set the idle index number to a higher number to prevent Postbox from indexing.

It's the latency on a hard drive that kills productivity.
 

mj_

macrumors 68000
May 18, 2017
1,616
1,281
Austin, TX
Op has already stated that by reducing the size of his/her mailbox he/she was able to improve the iMac's responsiveness dramatically. If the problem would have been the underlying storage solution then deleting emails would not have done anything. In fact, the read/write operations performed by marking an email as read or loading an email are absolutely identical regardless of mailbox size. And last but not least I fail to see how a Fusion Drive can be held responsible for a lagging cursor when typing :rolleyes: Slow storage can cause a lot of issues, true. But not the ones listed here. These are about as related to storage performance as they are to webcam resolution.

I get that tossing an SSD at it has become the go-to solution of pretty much every IT-related problem discussed on the internet. However, in this particular case it would be a total waste of time and money because the underlying problem is with Postbox's inability to deal with large mailboxes. At least based on the information available to us at this point.
 

Sal Collaziano

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 7, 2007
314
12
Royal Palm Beach, FL
Just noting that Postbox is slowly going back to being slow again. I forgot to mention that scrolling through an email is also choppy and slow. Even highlighting text takes a couple of seconds. Seems crazy...

If there's an alternative to Postbox that has canned responses - let me know. I prefer a system that comes with it standard rather than using a plugin... This email program is pretty horrible other than the convenience of the canned responses...
 

gilby101

macrumors 68020
Mar 17, 2010
2,340
1,257
Tasmania
I get a lot of emails with questions and have pre-typed responses with links to where to find the answers needed. I'd like to be able to select one of these pre-typed responses from a drop down menu while replying...

I was about to say Keyboard Maestro (which I use), but that is overly complicated for your workflow. But Text Expander https://textexpander.com seems to fit your need. Try it.
 

Sal Collaziano

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 7, 2007
314
12
Royal Palm Beach, FL
I was about to say Keyboard Maestro (which I use), but that is overly complicated for your workflow. But Text Expander https://textexpander.com seems to fit your need. Try it.
That looks interesting - but I can't tell how it works. I downloaded it and added a response that I'd like to use via email - but don't see how to get it into the email without copying and pasting it - which for that matter, I could use a text file. I'm thinking I'm missing something, though...
 
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