Does GIMP Slow Down Your Computer?

GIMP is a popular image and photo manipulation application, and one of the biggest benefits is that it’s completely free to use. However, some people worry that installing and using GIMP will slow down their computers.

Generally, installing GIMP on your computer will not slow it down, as long as you have sufficient RAM available. However, certain memory-related aspects can make either your computer or GIMP lag while the program is running.

Below, we’ll highlight a few reasons why your computer or GIMP may be running slower than usual. Keep reading to learn about common problems and how to solve them.

Does GIMP Slow Down Your Computer?

Simply having GIMP installed on your computer will not slow it down. However, GIMP and other applications may run slowly while you’re creating graphics or editing photos.

Because GIMP is a free, open-source program, the developers don’t have the same resources available that others do. Updates may roll out more slowly, and small glitches and bugs aren’t always caught quickly. If GIMP is lagging or running slowly on your computer, or if other applications lag or freeze as you use GIMP, there are a few tricks you can try that may speed things up.

How Much Memory Does GIMP Use?

GIMP uses approximately 7 MB of executable memory, while the script program that runs along with it uses around 2.5 MB. Depending on the amount of data you have installed, including patterns, brushes, and fonts, the additional memory required to run GIMP may rise anywhere between 2 MB to 10 MB. 

At a minimum, you need between 12 MB and 20 MB of RAM to run GIMP successfully. However, keep in mind that any image you create or load into GIMP will require additional memory. For this reason, it’s recommended that you have at least 32 MB of RAM to use GIMP lag-free.

How to Speed Up GIMP

The main thing that causes GIMP to run slowly, or other programs to lag while GIMP is open, is simply too much content. Like all programs, GIMP relies mainly on RAM to run and load new content. If you want to speed GIMP up, freeing up some additional RAM is the best course of action. You can do this by:

  1. Closing other programs
  2. Changing your color profile
  3. Removing unnecessary content

Now, let’s discuss how to try each of these solutions and find an effective fix.

1. Close Other Programs

Generally, the more programs you have open on your computer, the slower things will run. If you want GIMP to run more quickly and lag less, the first step you should take is closing all unnecessary background programs.

While any background programs will reduce the available RAM, antivirus software in particular should be closed when GIMP is open. If you’re not comfortable turning your antivirus software off entirely, make sure there are no background scans scheduled while you’re creating or editing graphics.

2. Change Your Color Profile

Your computer’s color profile dictates the amount and vibrancy of the colors you see on your screen. Some professional designers personalize their color profile to create better photographs or graphics, and typically change their GIMP color profile to match their computer’s.

Although this may enhance the quality of your graphics, personalized or advanced color profiles can slow GIMP down. If you’re getting frustrated with the level of lagging you’re experiencing, try changing the color profile you’re using.

  1. Open GIMP, then navigate to “Preferences.”
  2. Click “Color Management,” then choose “Monitor Profile.”
  3. On the Monitor Profile screen, you’ll see a checkbox that says “Try to Use the System Monitor Profile.” Uncheck this and see if the program’s performance improves.

If this makes a difference, return to the previous screen and select the default monitor profile that works best for your system.

3. Remove Unnecessary Content

Because GIMP is an open-source program, there are tons of free plugins and additional content you can download to use within the application. While this is a huge bonus for many digital artists and photographers, having a lot of content installed within GIMP can slow the program down significantly.

When you open GIMP, it has to load all of the base and additional content you have installed. This may include hundreds of custom:

  • Fonts
  • Plugins
  • Brushes
  • Patterns

On the GIMP loading screen, you can see exactly what aspect is loading at a particular time. You may notice that your program is taking a while to a certain aspect, for example, brushes. In this case, you’ll want to remove any unnecessary brushes you’ve installed and see if it speeds things up.

What to Do if GIMP Still Runs Slowly

While GIMP doesn’t necessarily slow down your computer, some users report lagging or slow loading while the program is open. In most cases, freeing up some of your computer’s RAM will solve any issues you’re having related to lagging.

However, if you’ve tried all the techniques listed above to no avail, you can try reinstalling the program. Uninstalling and reinstalling GIMP may eliminate any glitches or bugs in the program that were causing the lag in the first place.