Performance issues on different graphic cards/upgrading mac

I currently use the 11-in MacBook Air in the early 2014 to run Glyphs and when I project my screen onto monitors with full HD (1920 * 1080) it starts to get quite laggy with around 25 frames per second when drawing fonts. It gets worse when I have two sentences of glyphs on screen.

I wonder how Glyphs run on different laptops. My Air doesn’t have individual graphic cards and it’s using the integrated Intel HD 5000 but it runs very smoothly when I don’t have it on a monitor.

Later I got an AMD RX570 and used it as an eGPU when I use my monitor. It runs much better but it can still be laggy. It lags a lot when I have the blur effect on for preview. I assume much performance potential has been swallowed by the Thunderbolt 1 port bottlenecking on my old mac because RX570 is quite powerful.

I wonder how Glyphs run on different mac models. I have used a 2017 iMac and it runs quite smoothly. Do you guys experience lag when you have 30+ glyphs on preview? I’m not sure how I could upgrade my hardware with least money since macs are pretty expensive. If the RX570 alone without bottlenecking from Thunderbolt 3 could bring the performance up then I could buy a second hand mac with Thunderbolt 3 port.

I’m not sure if CPU and RAM also being a big part affecting performance.

By the way, Glyphs performs better than Robofonts on my laptop.

Something that could be contributing to the slowdown would be plugins that have not been updated. Georg rewrote some recently that were causing slowdown issues although not particularly like your specific situation.

Thanks for mentioning plugins. Currently I am only using RMX tools and it doesn’t seem to worsen performance.

Only Reporter plugins tend to slow down.

What version of MacOS and Glyphs do you have?

I have the latest version of mac and Glyphs. I started using Glyphs in mid July and I kept my OS and Glyphs updated and it always lag like so. Maybe it’s my mac simply being too old…

My only Mac is a MacBook Air 1.7 GHz i7, 8 GB RAM, with an Intel HD Graphics 5000 (1536 MB), and it is doing fine for me.

When I project on a screen with a higher resolution than usual, of course there will be performance payoff, but that is not limited to Glyphs. When I project, I usually reduce the resolution to something sensible, more like the internal resolution.

Performance trade-offs specific to Glyphs:

  • A lot of text in the Edit view. The Edit view is optimised for editing letter shapes in a word context, not for typesetting huge quantities of text. If you need to test long texts, consider a dedicated layout app like InDesign in combination with the Adobe Fonts folder or any other app as long as you find a way to circumvent macOS’s font cache issues.
  • Previewing instances in the Preview area at the bottom or with the separate Window > Preview panel. Every instance preview is a live-interpolated font export with the glyphs entered in Edit view. And they have to be interpolated and processed every time you do anything in Edit view.
    • Every post-processing with custom parameters will come on top of that. Especially CPU-intensive filters will take their toll in Preview, multiplied by the number of unique glyphs it has to display.
    • Combination of many glyphs in Edit view and Preview: double weight. If you have a lot of text in your Edit tab, consider closing the instance preview.
  • Reporter plug-ins (extensions to the View menu): Most extensions available in Window > Plugin Manager have been written in Python. Python has the advantage that it is easy to write, but the disadvantage that it is not very performant.
    • Consider disabling View menu items you do not use.
    • Consider setting up keyboard shortcuts for those items you use a lot, so you can toggle them quickly. Set up keyboard shortcuts in System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts >
    • If you find yourself using one View menu item a lot, and you think you are not the only one, consider asking the developer of the plug-in to upgrade it to ObjectiveC. Georg and I can help with the upgrade.