I have a huge number of primitives in my PCB layout. If I try to much as select half of them, it will take Altium several minutes to respond. It also takes Altium several minutes to respond to trying to cut and past them.

My CPU is only at 13% usage when Altium is working on one of these tasks, and there's still lots of RAM available.

Is anybody able to make suggestions on how I can make this process faster (other than by having fewer primitives in my layout)?

Suggestions on what may be bottle-necking Altium's performance may be helpful for solving this.

  • \$\begingroup\$ How many primitives? A picture (screenshot) speaks a thousand words... \$\endgroup\$
    – Techydude
    Jun 5, 2015 at 21:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this from incorporating some huge graphic? If so then only add it after the board is otherwise finished. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 5, 2015 at 21:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ What version of Altium? I find Altium 15 is more resource hungry than Altium 14. On my system, Altium 15 starts to slow down noticeably when RAM is about 75% utilized. \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    Jun 5, 2015 at 22:30
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @ThePhoton I'm running Altium 15 (whatever the latest build is), and it can get slow and I have 44GB free RAM. \$\endgroup\$
    – efox29
    Jun 6, 2015 at 0:14
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is software support that should be coming from Altium. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Young
    Aug 14, 2015 at 12:45

1 Answer 1


Sounds like it's possible the Online DRC might be screwing you up. Once you get to the stage of complex rule sets it bites itself in the ass and can seriously hold you up, especially if some things are being highlighted.

These complex rule sets can appear quite quickly in mixed signal or high-quality analogue designs (pour 28 mil from this, 5 mil from that, 5mil trace/clearance, except for analogue, because those need analogue ground pours around them, etc etc).

What happens on my pro set-up at the office is that turning off Online DRC will double the responsiveness if not quadruple about 60% into a design.

Funnily enough, my home computer where I do my freelance work has this problem to a much smaller degree, so I am starting to formulate the idea that it might be the video card that it uses for some Online DRC viz. My home laptop has the Nvidea 970 with 6GB dedicated, whereas the office PC has Intel HD-something with shared RAM. (But more RAM in itself, 32G vs 16G)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I disable the online DRC as well and I disable the rats nest. It helps for sure, but its still slow. Could be much better for $6k software. \$\endgroup\$
    – efox29
    Jun 6, 2015 at 7:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @efox29 It does worry me that there's a great difference between my laptop and office PC. There are other difs too, but most of them in the advantage of the office PC. They could do a lot of stuff better, but you are also welcome to pay $25k for a competitor. \$\endgroup\$
    – Asmyldof
    Jun 6, 2015 at 9:02

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