dual monitors with OSX

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by sproggy, Sep 10, 2003.

  1. sproggy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2003
    Location:
    Italy
    #1
    Has anybody noticed signigicant delays using dual monitors with OSX? I have. Photoshop 7, for instance, feels unusable due to the slowness in opening files, changing tools, even sampling with the clone tool: it takes at least a second before the sampler changes to the cloner for example. This is maddening after the immediate response of OS 9. Finally I turned off one of the monitors and noticed the response time was much snappier. Is this a known problem or is my video card in need of changing? THis setup worked great with OS 9 -ATI Radeon 7000 with a Lacie electron blue 19" CRT as my main monitor and an old Power Computing 13" as the second monitor, G4 733 with 896megs of ram. I might add that this is not my only problem in OSX so perhaps it is just one of the many quirks I seem to experience for "no" apparent reason.
    Thanks...
     
  2. benixau macrumors 65816

    benixau

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #2
    Re: dual monitors with OSX

    I dont have dual monitors but here goes (question and reason):

    Q. How much RAM does your card have?
    R. If you have a monitor off a 16MB card then you need 32MB for the same stuff with two monitors (make sense?). Therefore - you need 32MB of RAM on your graphics card to run both monitors off it with Quartz Extreme enabled. Now I do not know how much RAM your graphics card has b ut this could be the problem.

    Q. Have you thought about system load?
    R. You are running OSX, PShop 7, 2 monitors (assuming no QE), and probably a farily large file on a 733Mhz processor (single) and 896MB SDRAM (100/133 (unsure)). I am once again no genius but if you are not running QE then two monitors plus photoshop and then OSX in the background along with any other programs you are running is going to drain your RAM, causing the system to page to the HDD (ATA-66) which is slower than my dead grandma. Also your 733 is not the latest and the RAM speed is not the greatest.

    This suggests QE is at the heart of the problem

    A combo of no QE and a massive system load (for that system) wouyld probably make up for the delay. I say increase your RAM and get a better Gfx card.

    Good luck.
     
  3. sproggy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2003
    Location:
    Italy
    #3
    dual monitors

    Thanks benixau! The card is a 32mb card and supports Open GL (whatever that is). My G4 is a 133... I just read up on Quartz Extreme and apparently it should be lurking in my system but on running a search I didn't find anything. I noticed that the video card has to support QE and in this I am not sure. THe product literature for the card doesn't mention it. Where would I enable QE? The thing that makes me wonder is the guy with the G3 and 400megs of ram that says he is cruising along just fine with OSX?! Granted my machine is not the latest and greatest but lots of folks here have slower machines with less ram and are doing fine. Of course, the world is full of unsolveable mysteries.
    I agree with getting more ram since it is cheap enough and too much is never enough apparently. As far as a new video card, i haven't a clue what would be a "better" card. Got any ideas?
    ...sorry about your grandmother.
     
  4. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #4
    Exactly what video card have you got? You do not turn QE on anywhere. It is enabled by the system automatically if the card supports it. You need a fairly recent card. If you have the developer tools installed there is a Quarts Debug tool you can use to see if QE is enabled. On my iBook with QE and 2 screens (firmware hack) I see a bit of slowdown, but nothing too extreme.
     
  5. sproggy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2003
    Location:
    Italy
    #5
    dual monitors

    The card is an ATI Radeon 7000 Mac Edition 32mb Double Data Rate, PCI Bus version, Open GL.... The literature doesn't mention QE so i'm assuming it's not supported. I have to admit though, without going into long and boring details, for whatever reason, my computer with OSX is just not happening. I won't begin to list all the problems but settings change by themselves, apps crash, hangup, slowdown, "not enough memory", files won't print, etc.... I don't really know what to do except use OS 9 until a G5 comes my way and hope that that fixes my problems. Will be a while however.
    I should mention I also have a Lacie 120gb external firewire drive hooked up. Could that cause some problems? Perhaps I should just strip everything down to the bare miminums, hardly any apps and extensions, one monitor and see what happens. At the moment I have a large number of apps installed.... THe 40gb drive is also partitioned 10 gig for classic and 30 for X.
    ???????????
    Thanks all.
     
  6. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #6
    Hmm that card does support QE so it should be enabled by default. Don't worry about the docs that came with the card not mentioning it as I would not expect many to. What is probably happening is that you are loosing performance due to a lack of video memory on the card. QE needs 16Mb to function and 32Mb+ for best performance. Note that this is per-screen. So in dual screen mode you are only running at 16Mb per screen, the bare minimum.

    Next remember how QE works. It accelerated the compositing layer of the display. It does this by rendering each window into a buffer that is loaded to the card as a texture. These textures are then layered by the 3d card to make a 2d image. Each window takes it's width*height*32bits of texture RAM on the card. As all windows are double buffered you might need to double that. So if you have a lot of open windows (say photoshop palettes) then you will run out of texture RAM on the card very quickly. This will be especially bad if you are running at high resolutions as you need desktop_width*desktop_height*32 bits of memory to render into for each screen.

    In short an upgrade to a 64Mb (or larger) card may well improve performace (as long as it is a QE supported card).

    Hope that helps,
    Robbie
     
  7. sproggy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2003
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    Italy
    #7
    dual monitors

    thanks Robbie, interesting stuff. I checked out Macmall and the card with the most memory had 128 mb (or was it 256 -now i don't recall...). One thing i'm wondering -I don't seem to have any of these problems with OS 9. Does that make sense with what you think is going on? I mean, there is not problem with redraw times or sluggish response.
    And one last question: will the G5 out of the box have a cure for this ailment i.e. will it support dual monitors with snappy response right out of the box...?
    Thanks again for the help, it's really great. These problems are so frustrating.
     
  8. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #8
    OS9 is able to draw quickly on screen with less graphics RAM as it does not use the graphics card to do this and is drawing a very simple screen as opposed to OS X. A G5 will screen out of the box. It has tons of video RAM and amazing system bandwidth for when it has to get the textures to the card. If you need an excuse to get a G5 this is one (although a pretty poor one!)
     
  9. eric_n_dfw macrumors 65816

    eric_n_dfw

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    Location:
    DFW, TX, USA
    #9
    Jumping in here way late... I was searching for info about Quartz Extreme and stumbled on this thread.

    I noticed the inacurate info presented above about the Radeon 7000 being Quartz Extreme ready. It is not. In fact no PCI videocard is Quartz Extreme capable. You must have at least a 2x AGP Radeon or nVidea card to get QE.

    (There is a hack to enable it on the Radeon 7000 PCI if you look around on xlr8yourmac.com, but it doesn't sound like you are trying that currently)
     
  10. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020

    jayscheuerle

    #10
    Re: dual monitors with OSX

    Are you new to OSX? If so, you'll find ALL Adobe apps to be significantly less "snappy" than in OS9. Just renaming layers is painful. I was hoping PhotoshopCS would be better, but I haven't found that to be the case...
     
  11. sproggy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2003
    Location:
    Italy
    #11
    dual monitors, slow redraw....

    ERIC: That's interesting new info... Due to the circumstances and previous misinfo, are you sure it's not supported (have to ask)? Should I be in the market for a new video card that has more ram and if so, which one? They get pretty expensive and there is such a variety (at Macmall for instance) it is hard to know. There might be two cards with 64meg ram and one costs twice as much as the other. I have no idea why. I haven't checked out the hack address you sent but will do that. Maybe that will solve my problem. So, any advice much appreciated. Btw, I now have 1500 megs of ram. that better be enough, 'cause I can't fit no mo.

    JAY: I assume this includes Acrobat and Distiller, because as of late I've been doing my taxes while waiting for them to open. I'm fairly new to OSX. I mean, i've been messing around with it for a long time but when I really have to work I use 9 because X just doesn't cut it for me. It's not just Adobe either. All sorts of unaccountable weird stuff happens (too much to even list here) and I end up cursing and smashing things after awhile. I don't know what the problem is hopefully Panther will be a cure but deep down I think yes, it will solve some problems, but in the end just create others. I had hopes for PSCS as well. Darn. Are you using Panther and a G5? I don't really care much about the war between PC and Mac, I just want a system that works well and I happen to be in the Mac camp. However, at my friends house I see him zipping around on his PC and I feel stupid. It looks so much snappier than my Mac. It may be uglier, but beauty is not all. I'm not changing to a PC, but can't figure out why there are all these problems. Why is it, when Macs are the graphic designers computer, the main programs for graphic design (Adobe products) run slow. That's pretty unacceptable. I haven't heard that many people complaining about it however. Maybe we are just some of the unlucky that have slow systems due to god knows what. Just opening PS 7 is a drag. It hangs up on loading the patterns for about 2 minutes. I just get the spinning beach ball. It does this even when I take out the patterns folder. Go figure. What the hell is it loading?

    Question to all: Better to wait a few months before installing Panther while the bugs get worked out? And better to wait a bit before purchasing a G5 while those bugs get worked out?
    Thanks all.
     
  12. the future macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #12

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