Faster OS X?

Discussion in 'MacRumors News Discussion (archive)' started by arn, Apr 19, 2002.

  1. arn
    macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Many of you may have seen Wired's article entitled: Why Do New iMacs Surf So Slowly?

    The article speculates that the slower Web Browsing reflects the fact that Apple's current OS implementation still has significant optimizations to go...

    Jimmy Grewal, Microsoft's program manager for the Mac version of Internet Explorer, agreed that the problem lies with OS X, not the browser. In particular, he said hardware graphics acceleration was largely missing from OS X at this stage in its development. "The effort of drawing something to the screen (on Windows) can be offloaded to a graphics card, but in OS X the CPU is heavily involved," he said.

    Grewal defended Apple's strategy of releasing a slow version of OS X now rather than a faster one later. "That was a conscious decision Apple made," he said. "They optimized for user experience rather than raw performance."

    Other developers chime in their opinion but the opinion related in the article is that over the following months, OS X and new Apps that take advantage of OS X itself will run significantly faster on the same hardware:

    Hazlett said that early test versions of Opera's future 6.0 release, which uses OS X native events, are already faster than their predecessors on MacOS 9.2,
  2. macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    Re: Faster OS X?

    Reminds me of that spoof "Hidden Control Panel" with "System speed, increase with each release"


    I'm not entirely surprised, it just doesn't feel as snappy as I think it could. I'm no software developer or anything, but the Aqua interface shouldn't be as CPU intensive as it is now... I don't like IE engineers blaming Apple for their woes, tho... I think they're at fault as well.

    Does this mean that this old iMac (someone call Bob Vila) will run X faster before it runs it slower? Hope so... Perhaps 10.2 will be faster than we anticipated...

  3. macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2002
    Math routines

    I read on /. --also a great test for IE's slow render... try Opera! supafast!

    "Second, up until very recently OS X relied on straight ANSI C for its math libraries (pilfered from one of the BSDs). That code was recently replaced with hand-tuned libraries written in assembler, which should provide a boost. I'm not sure if the new mathlibs have been released or not."

    I believe they have not been released as yet and will be in 10.2...

    "Since when does FP intensive code show the speed of an OS? Are you using math library calls? The math library that comes with Mac OS X is a straight C implementation taken from NetBSD while OS 9's is hand tuned PPC assembler. They're going to port it and ship it with Mac OS X one of these days (maybe it's in 10.1.4)."

    This would improve OS X performance in ways that are hard to quantify. Certainly 2D rendering would show marked improvements.
  4. macrumors newbie

    Apr 5, 2002
    Graphics Acceleration

    Here's a question that I've been wondering about for a while (and am a bit embarrassed to to admit not knowing):

    As far as I know there is hardly any to no 2D graphics acceleration in OS X right now. All graphics cards for Mac OS 9 and before were accelerated for QuickDraw. OSX doesn't use QD, but PDF for it's rendering engine (although a developer can still use QuickDraw if they want to). Are there any graphics cards that are accelerating the Quartz engine right now???

    This would explain a great deal about performance (and would mean that we can only SMILE about the future when these cards come along).

    Also, it took many revisions (and years) for the graphics card manufacturers to get really fast QuickDraw cards...I would presume that even if Quartz is accelerated, it will get faster as the cards and drivers get better.

    Again, I don't know how much, if any, acceleration is being done in 2D on the OS, but if someone knows, please do tell.

  5. macrumors 68040


    Dec 29, 2001
    Apple should get the GUI to depend on 80% GPU and 20% CPU
    that would be good
    and it would make everything superfast
    Like when you scroll through the Dock with magnification on its use about 95% of the CPU
    that sucks
    it should depend on the GPU for stuff like that
    but then again what will 10.2 bring
  6. macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2001
    aaahh man,
    there will always be critics.
    OS X is just over 1 year old.
    Apple on it's own has developed almost the entire interface, and when they released beta, some other dev saw that there was really a future for X so they went along.
    Indeed Apple has chosen for a broad base, later when everything is in place speed will come.
    I myself work on a peecee during the day, and when I'm home I see my mac, and X, I don't care that it isn't as swift yet as OS9 runs (it's swifter then my peecee at work!), it's rock solid! And that is what makes a great OS. And if it takes another year for X to get up to speed, so what, let them have that year, or even those 18 months, then we know they spend all that time for us users, to have that great User experience we became to get used too, and ask for!!!

    Extra note I would like to add is this:
    Apple does not have the same recources as M$ has, otherwise X would already have been mass adopted.
    (heard about M$ public campaign for the xBox? in Europe alone they spent 500 Million € before and during it's release. 1.5 months after the release, they lowered the price from 495€ to 299 €, because of the weak sales.)
    See what I mean, if Apple would have such budgets ready to PLAY with, X would certainly mark the spot, but then again, it would turn out to be another M$, not listening to it's all-time users, and be in it for the money.

    Apple made the best choice, by opening up part of the OS they asked for our help to make X the best OS ever, and they did not want to run off with the honors, they want to share that with all of us.

    Apple is counting on us guys. On all you users out there, either computer genius, computer geek, or just your plain user, give Apple the feedback they ask us for so we all get the world's greatest OS!
  7. macrumors member

    Dec 31, 2001
    flash is slower on mac

    flash plays back slower on mac than on pc - sad but true. it got better with the new flashplayer 6. I did some testing and got these fps (frames per second) results on my TiBook 677:

    the flashmovie was set to 31 fps, this would be the maximum playbackrate.

    IE 5.1.4: 28 fps
    Netscape 6.2.2: 12 fps
    Netscape 6.2.2: 30 fps (when mousebutton is pressed) strange !!!!
    mozilla 1.0: 11 fps
    mozille 1.0: 30 fps (when mousebutton is pressed)
    opera 5.0.498: 8 fps (so much for the world's fastest browser)
    omniweb 4.0: doesn't playback > flash 5 content


    all the non IE browser have problems displaying css content etc. etc. so the only browser one can really use for OSX is IE.
  8. macrumors member

    Feb 12, 2002
    cologne, germany
    OS X IS lame!

    What I've been wondering all along:
    If that unix bastard of X takes some 50.000 files for a standard installation, aren't notebook users always going to be cursed with slower performance, 2,5" drives typically being slower than their 3,5" brethren?

    I'm using 10.1.4 on my iBook500@384MB, and performance SUCKS ASS!

    I hate dozens of friggin background tasks wasting my time, when all I want is stable and snappy audio application. I guess I still will be using OS9 for quite some time now :mad:
    And I will get the New TiBook, of course :D
  9. macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2002
    X is Slow for sure

    It does need to be said. and in a way, it is good that wired is saying it. I mean, apple is still selling g3's. g3's, from my experience do not cut it with osX and any kind of graphics/video (and i would assume audio) work. Ibooks would be great machines running 9, but become barely consumer machines with X. Apple needs to act fast...but my fear is that they will rely on faster processors rather than a streamlined efficient system. They owe it though to everyone buying a lower end machine right now that runs X at a marginal rate when doing anything intensive. not to mention the slow draw rates on the internet. I pick up a crappy dell on our wireless and the page springs to life while i wait 10 seconds for the white background to get through its c-section.
  10. Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    That totally sucks, and its not exactly good press for Apple. Its all a M$ conspiracy.

    But an interesting side note in the article

    'Several correspondents asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation by Mac zealots, who have been known to e-mail 1,000 or more harangues to the work addresses of those who criticize the huggable device.

    This is crazy, no wonder we've got are own anti-zealot police force.
  11. macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2001
    Lund, Sweden
    Í´m a bit impressed about the large number of whiners. Why are you still using a mac?
    A thing ´bout IE. Ever noticed how "fast" it starts on a pc? Ever heard about legal problems with IE "built in" to Windows? This is what it´s all about! IE is loaded when Windows is. IE is a part of Windows, not a separate application. That´s why it´s fast.
    They say IE is slow rendering. Have you tried OmniWeb? That´s pretty fast rendering and with full Quartz. IE 5.1.4 is a hack, it seems. It could be "half-carbonized" or something :)
    OK, X doesn´t fly on a G3, but XP don´t on a PIII either!
    I´d rather be slow than in a Windoze...
  12. macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2002
    PIII etc.

    I don't doubt XP is slow on a PIII, but i don't know of many people buying pIII's these days to run it. on the other hand, apple is selling g3's expecting people to adopt osX and it is a bit embarrassing. don't get me wrong, i am not pining for a pc, but apple needs to optimize the operating system. using xp as a benchmark for an optimized os or what an os should be is not something i would recommend.
  13. macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2001
    Lund, Sweden

    But they actually sell new PIII:s with XP! I bought one! I got a Dell PIII-1000 (Inspiron - portable) and it do suck but I need a PC (bare with me here) in my work. G3:s are a bit outdated but they can still be used in lowend portables. It´s just a few weeks (months?) that P4:s has been available to the portable PC market.
    My fiancee uses an iBook Tangerine 300MHz running X and it doesn´t suck in my opinion. I got a PBG4 667 and a Quicksilver 866 at work. Surely the G4:s are faster but the iBook is a quite competent machine for day-to-day work.
    Of course Apple could need faster stuff for the high-enders but to what use for "Joe User"? I think most people will be much happier with a computer you never have to worry about. I restart my PBG4 maybe once a month! Compare that to a PC with XP! I´m writing this on my Athlon PC at home and I restarted it just a few days ago due to system failure. The key here is troublefree computing. When the computer becomes an instrument and you don´t have to be an engineer to use it, then, my friends, Nirvana is close :)
  14. macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2001
    that is very well covers it bollman!
    Indeed the XP, even on P4 and athlon is not stable at all, and certainly not running faster (the OS I mean), the many times my father in law (AMD Athlon 1700+ 256 MB 32MBGeforce2)has to restart get my hair standing up, I restart perhaps once every update:D Or his surfin' speed is not equal to mine on a iMac 450DV+ 128MB 8MB ATI rage pro.
    It was even faster before I updated to 5.1.4, M$ killed a swift browser. I have cable and my father in law has the same subscription, we live in the same area (just telling you this before we start a thread 'cable speeds depend from area to area';) ), if I type in an address and hit enter, BAM, BAM, BAM the page immediately shows up (no cached sites, and before the update), my FIL does the same thing, same address, hits enter and hop we're waiting sometimes 20 sec to half a minute before the browser even realizes that you ask it to do something, than it reacts and starts loading the page, and shows about 45 seconds to a minute after hitting return. (M$ could not take it that their own product runs faster on a mac, so they actually 'downgraded' IE for mac.)
    Luckely after the upgrade, entering an address and hitting enter, it looks like the browser is doing the same thing as on my FIL peecee, but after 5-15 sec it suddenly says BAM and the shows the whole page immediatly.
    (it almost equals the loading time as before, but still is a little slower, I'm not used to see the browser playing dead for a couple of seconds)

    And else, perhaps in the Mhz race the G3 is outdated, but if Apple tweaks X some more, G3 has still a future, certainly for low-end users (if only the sales people would tell those low-end users the thruth of what specs they need for real when only surfin', mailing and perhaps running a spreadsheet once in a while. If the guy in the peecee shop would have listened to my FIL, he would have suggested a whole other peecee, for a lot $$$ less. But you know how it goes: 'you need at least ..... if you want to .....blahblahblah'.

    Listen up guys, I have an iMac with above specs, it runs X smooth as heaven, OK it needs a bit more RAM which I notice when running a lot of apps and doing some Photoshop work, but it certainly is not a loser compared to the peeceeeees with above specs.

    I was wondering though, isit hard to make a cocoa based browser?
  15. macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2002
    Don't assume I don't know what a g3 can do

    I have a powerbook g3 400, with 38something mb of ram and an upgraded 20gb hard drive. sure, it runs entourage, word, hotline and maybe one other thing fine. HOwever, open up illustrator or golive and it becomes painful. when, on the other hand, i fire up 9, it feels fast to me again.

    I agreed it could do the everyday consumer tasks, but that it is not up to what it used to be able to do in 9. take for example, final cut 3....i can use the same file in 9/x and it drops frames in X and becomes a donkey. it does not work for higher end applications.

    I also have a g4 450 and bought my brother a dual 800 and my parent's a new imac 700...

    also bought my journal two 533s and a 733.

    i know that x can be fast, and it is certainly stable, even on the powerbook g3, but it has made my once all around high end machine a bottom of the line low end piece with 2 fire wire ports. no audio/video and limited/slow graphics.
  16. macrumors member

    Feb 12, 2002
    cologne, germany
    X is slow

    I am not entirely sure if you have to be considered a whiner
    when the OS officially launched two months before the notebook
    effectively kills its performance.

    What about that drive matter though? I'd like to know how dependent of constantly rechecking its thousands of files OSX really is.

    Running the risk of being redundant here:
    OS9 runs smooth most of the time, OSX creeps along all the time.

    I know how terrible it must be for some people to accept,
    that better overall performance to some other people outweighs can't-find-****-in-column-view and fully scaleable gui on a multiuser, multiflavor Col.Crap
  17. macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2001
    Lund, Sweden

    The PBG3:s are a bit of a bummer. They do lack all the new good stuff that makes X snappy. I previously had a Lombard 333 and I realized that a switch to a newer ´puter was needed when I started using X (DP3 that is).
    I agree that X feels slow on the PBG3:s. actually the old iBooks are faster, don´t ask me why. I think there are design flaws in the Lombard/Pismos. Although it feels bad one has to "embrace change". Remeber 1994 and the switch to PowerPC. I bet the ones with a new Quadra840AV felt at least as let down as you do. My advise to you would be: don´t move to X yet. Stick with OS9 for now and try to get a PBG4 Gigabit after the summer (if Apple releases a new PB they will be cheap).
  18. macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2001
    Lund, Sweden

    I think looking at an O/S potential is the key here. Sure OS9 flies when things are going smooth but I just hate when an app crashes and the only way out is a reboot with a disk check and all INITs take forever to load.
    OS9 is at it´s last verse as it won´t be any faster than this, it won´t be any more stable than this, it won´t get any better and the whole design is a dead end. OSX will get better every day and has the potential of being one of the best O/Ses ever.
    Fire up a Plus form 1986 with MacOS 2 and you will find that it was hopelessly slow but as it turned out, it became pretty usefull :)
  19. macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2002
    Glad to see someone can be objective

    and yeah, i do remember the 840av/ppc crisis. i actually sat on that fence as well, eventually getting a 7100av...

    i realize that technology changes like that, but i guess what i am afraid of is that if people buying new ibooks are having the same, or incrementally faster but still inadequate, experience as i am with my 100mhz slower computer, then there is a problem.

    maybe you can't expect a low end portable to run photoshop at blazing speeds, but go live is one of the few web design programs out there and should be run without a hitch on new hardware.

    maybe there is a flaw in the powerbook...but as i said, and you concede, it works fine in os9, which just makes you wonder...
  20. macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2001
    Lund, Sweden

    One of my coworkers bought a new iBook 14" 600 maxed out with memory and disk (he switched from pc!) and he is very happy with his machine (he´s running X only). I tested the machine and I actually don´t think the differance in "general o/s-speed" is as much as you would expect when you compare it to my PBG4 667. GoLive, is that a true Cocoa app yet? Carbonized and Classic apps are having speed problems in X.
    About being objective to this:
    I have been a PC-user for as long as I can remeber and started using mac in 1994 when I bought my first mac (an LC ugh) as I thought "I think I have to learn a bit of mac" and I´ve been hooked ever since.
    I use Windows, MacOS, MacOSX, Solaris, Linux, and more every day as I work with tech support at Lund university.
  21. macrumors 65816

    Mar 31, 2002
    Maryland, USA
    the key to speed
    gives you all the tips for speeding up Mac OS X in one place. My Powerbook G3/233 with 512k backside managed to be as fast as Mac OS 9 following the advice above. Some of the more important tips:

    1. Update Prebinding
    2. Keep your partitions within the range of RAM+1.5 GB free and 25 GB
    3. Run Macjanitor.
  22. macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2001
    g3 on X

    I think a lot of people are exagerating about bad performance here just a tad... I'm running 10.1.4 on a g3 iBook 466 and there are no problems with no/limited/slow graphics. I'm getting full frame rate on divx movies that are windowed, and iTunes frame rates are comparable. OpenGL games run faster under X in most cases. DVD playback performance seems better under X even. Most of the complaining here is just 10.2-is-not-here-yet-itis. I would say the number one performance issue is beach balling pauses, not slow graphics. That is an issue I expect will be stomped by 10.2 (as it was specifically addressed in the dev forum).

    Legitimate complaints about slow graphics can probably best be ascribed to the legacy Rage Pro 128 that comes with most of the G3s. It is not the best graphics engine to start with, although the recently updated drivers for X did help by enabling 2d acceleration. The fact that 2d acceleration wasn't supported was a driver issue which was to be fair ATI's fault, not Apple's. For some reason, those drivers weren't installed in the latest 10.1.4 update, but I expect them to be incorporated into 10.2, or you can go to ATI and download and install them yourself (although ATI is less than clear about which cards the drivers support, my iMacs and iBook definately received a boost in 2d performance terms). Now it is clear that lags in scrolling windows are post update clearly due to the OS and its drive-thrashing mid-scroll. Again an issue expected to be fixed by 10.2.

    Much of what people equate with slow 'graphics' ie the resizing or scrolling of large directory windows in Finder etc is not truly a graphics issue, but is the slowness of the OS reading the directory and caching the icons to ready them for display.. Part of that is to blame because of the increased sizes and bit-depths of icons under X which requires more sorting and resizing gyrations on the part of the CPU to properly spit up the correct view. I believe there is much optimization ahead for the OS which will impact the perception of graphical things being slow.
  23. macrumors 68020


    Jan 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Re: PIII etc.

    They're still selling celerons, which are a lame excuse for a CPU. Once again, technology hindered by marketing...

    Also, If Apple used XP as a benchmark, OS X would still be back at the public beta stage. Comparing XP to OS X is a very inacurate way to measure the performance of OS X.

    If you always use a dual 1Ghz G4 with os X, and then go to an iBook 600, sure, OS X is going to feel slow. The same thing would be true if you used a 2.2Ghz P4, then went to use a celeron/PIII.
  24. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2001
    IE for Windows XP is faster than IE on either OS 9 or OS X. Whilst I'm sure that OS X could be faster, (and will be in the future,) I suspect that this has a lot to do with the fact that substantially more time and effort has gone into optimising the code of Windows IE - naturally it's a much higher priority for Microsoft than the Mac version.

    If OmniWeb had the resources invested into it the IE for XP does - who knows what it might be capable of.

    It's worth noting that whilst OS 9 is in some respects faster than OS X, it's substantially less responsive. Try holding down the mouse button in OS 9, and see how the whole system freezes until you release the button. This is hardly adequate performance.

    It's a similar situation for Windows users - Windows 2000 is slower than Windows 95, but who wants to stick with DOS?

    People who want to stick with OS 9 should also stick with steam trains, prop planes and coal fires.
  25. macrumors 65816

    Mar 31, 2002
    Maryland, USA
    If you want browsing speed

    Check the latest Mozilla release candidate one...much faster than Omniweb, Opera, or Explorer. I suspect though those having trouble with Mozilla's speed in Mac OS X, are probably ones with dual processors as for some reason Mozilla didn't code their dual processor support correctly in the past, hence why Netscape for X is also slower on dual processors. But anyone with single processor G4s will be amazed. Oh and by the way, 10.1.4 update does optimize 56k modem speed on Mac OS X which should help web browsing somewhat. Nice thing about Mozilla and Omniweb is that both have built-in support for blocking popup and popunder advertisements in their preferences. That should improve web browsing speeds a lot!

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