disappointed with 2009 Mac Pro 2.66GHz octo

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sjivan, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. sjivan macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2009
    I got the 2009 2.66GHz octo and was expecting a significant speed increase over my 2 yr old core duo Dell. For the work I do (primarily programing in Java), I did not notice a significant speed increase. And certain tasks like doc generation took about the same time..

    Perhaps its because I'm new to macs, but the display on my 30" Dell monitor is really blurry compared to the windows display when connected to my Dell. I am using the same Dual DVI cable, and have ATI 4870 on my Mac Pro compared to my $75 NVidia card on my Dell . I tried turning off antialiasing as suggested here : http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20010605121335261

    but that didn't help. Not a big fan of the mighty mouse too. I have the Mac AIR and really like it, and the display is nice and crisp. But I'm quite disappointed with the Mac Pro and even considering selling it having used it less than a week.
  2. carolhayes macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2009
    return it

    If you have not used it long why not return it they give you 14 days. I
  3. grue macrumors 65816

    Nov 14, 2003

    This mean you're sane. The mighty mouse is awful.
  4. sjivan thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2009
    Good point. I somehow ended up on a link that had


    But I see that the official page only mentions a 10% restocking fee.

  5. NoNameBrand macrumors 6502

    Nov 17, 2005
    Halifax, Canada
    What is your two year old Dell? How many threads does the javadoc generation use?

    As for the screen - assuming you're running at the correct resolution, I don't know what to tell you. Borrow a friend's LCD and test it out? maybe you got a wonky video card.
  6. BConvery macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2009
  7. sjivan thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2009
    The Dell has : Intel Core2 Duo Processor E6600 (4MB L2 Cache,2.4GHz,1066 FSB), with 2GB RAM. Not a 100% sure how many threads javadoc is using. Will look into it.

    I have configured the Mac to run at the native resolution of 2560x1,600. Should the sharpness technically be the same when running with a 24" or a 30"? I can't imagine that would be a factor given that I'm running at a high resolution.
  8. gzfelix macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2007
    Charlottetown, PE
    I don't see any real advantages for you to develop Java applications on a Mac Pro than on a two-year-old Dell desktop, unless you're working on HUGE Java server apps and need to run a highly-threaded-super-intensive server.
  9. sjivan thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2009
    I was hoping that compile times and such would improve significantly. I guess that was wishful thinking. Plus I liked OSX from working on my Mac AIR and got carried away by the new Mac Pro hype. I have the reevaluate if the ~$5K investment is worth it for me at this point. If the display was as good as my Dell, I'd still keep it.. but the fact that I'm not seeing a significant speed increase for my work and the display is all blurry is making me reconsider.
  10. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Might be OS X and the current calibration profile you are using causing issues, how does it look when running Windows on the Mac Pro?
  11. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
  12. sjivan thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2009
    I haven't run windows on it yet, but that's a good idea to narrow down the issue. I checked the calibration profile and it had picked up the correct model : Dell3007WFP
  13. filman408 macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2006
    San Jose, CA
    The former is for online sales, which is where you purchased yours since it is CTO. Octo 2.66 cannot be bought in the store.
    The latter is for retail sales, hence the title "Retail Purchase Policies". CTOs cannot be bought in the retail store, so the no return would not apply.
  14. sjivan thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2009
    You're right, I went to my order status page and clicked return item and it came back with a message "Items on this order are not currently eligible for return."

    I guess there's no turning back now. I really hope that the blurry display is not how things are by default in OSX and that I get a fix for it soon. I'll try calling apple care tomorrow.
  15. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    I think its the text style that OSX differs from windows that your used to.
  16. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Even though it comes up as the correct model, the generic ones that come with the machine tend to suck.

    Always try running one for the display yourself, or downloading one that others say work OK with that display, or even try downloading and using the SuperCal.app
  17. PeterQC macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2008
    Your screen doesn't have the right resolution, that's why it's so blurry. Try it at the highest you can do. LCDs are really bad when they are displaying an picture with a smaller resolution then the one than their native.

    Also: your Java compilation might not use the multiple cores, which is why it's not any faster then your dell. You should check with the developer if they will add this feature in their next release. If it ever happen, you will see a great boost in performance.
  18. nemodomi macrumors member


    Jul 6, 2008
    I disagree. I can't imagine you not being able to eBay it for a winning bid greater than the 90% refund that you'd get from Apple were you eligible.

    Also, see post #6 in this thread.
  19. t4cgirl macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2008
    I too was a Mac Air switcher and got a Mac Pro later -- though I have a 2008 2.8octo -- but I also drive (two) 3007WFPs with it. (The 2600XT can do some things the 4870 can't...) I just wanted to chime in to say there's certainly no difference in sharpness between them being attached to my dual core PC and my Mac.

    ClearType and anti-aliasing settings affect text rendering, if you're concerned with sharpness/crispness of text.

    I wouldn't put it past Apple/ATI to have issues with the dual link DVI connections on the new cards... [implying such things would never happen with a wonderful DisplayPort]

  20. sjivan thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2009
    Good to know that the 3007WFP's are able to display sharp on OSX. I tried tweaking all the font smoothness / hue / anti-aliasing settings that I found on google but no avail. I'll try picking up a DisplayPort cable from a local store and see if that helps. Has anyone experienced better display using the DisplayPort vs DVI port?

    I can also see how the display is on a 30" ACD at the store for a comparison.

    Do you have a custom calibration profile, or did you use the default one it set up?

    PeterQC : I am running at max / native resolution of 2560x1,600.
  21. dusanv macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2006
    It's the resolution. The Dell 3007WFP on my MP is as sharp as I've seen a monitor. To the original poster: crank it all the way up to 2650x1600 in System Preferences.
  22. sjivan thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2009
    I installed VMWare and XP. So XP displays fine, and its just that the OSX fonts / display suck and appear really blurry. I'm having a hard time understanding how people think this is fine or don't care.

    Attaching a screenshot with OSX and XP explorer side by side. The second image below just illustrates more of OSX blurriness.

    Attached Files:

  23. Dreamail macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2003
    That's quite funny. Now I understand you better. Thanks for the shot! It helps a lot.

    It really comes down to what you are used to.

    It's simply that OSX uses font smoothing to do accurate letter spacing - while Windows doesn't by default.

    To me Windows fonts always looked 'plain' and 'unsophisticated', like 'stuck in the 90ies', Windows 3.0 style. But that's because I am used to the Mac's 'correct' (according to font-metrics) letter spacing. This results in a 'blurry' look however when letters need to be positioned just between 2 pixels drawing half a letter each. Personally I prefer the correct spacing to a non-blurry look as I find the slightly shifted letter spacing to avoid drawing half-way between 2 pixels (when font smoothing is off) irritating.

    But I can totally see your point. If you come from the Windows world and are used to the thin outlines of non-smoothed (but wrongly spaced) text, then you would find the Mac text to be blurry and unacceptable.
    And who is to say what is more wrong? Letter spacing that is off or blurry letters?

    If anything it just proves that people would like to stay with what they are used to. Applies to you as to me.
    And even while OSX intentionally blurs text to retain exact font-metric letter spacing, and from my perspective this is perfect and there's nothing wrong with it (it is even wanted!) - this might not be the preferred choice for others who are not used to this.

    Here's something you can try:
    In System Preferences -> Appearance set 'Turn off text smoothing for font sizes' to the biggest option, '12'.
    Then swap to Safari and press Apple key + minus (or use View menu -> Make Text Smaller). This should push text to 12 point size or smaller and completely turn off the smoothing.

    Voila! Windows style text!

    I wonder if there is a hidden configuration that allows you to populate this popup with values higher than 12. In your case you probably want 13, 14 or 16.

    Alternatively there could be a config file where this point size is set and which you perhaps could set via the terminal window to sizes higher than 12.
    Worth asking in an OSX discussion forum.

    I attached a screenshot. This is how Safari can look with above setting at 12 and hitting Apple + minus key.

    Yet to me this looks way 'too plain' and just wrong. Definitely not what I would want.
    But it is really what you're used to.

    Attached Files:

  24. sjivan thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2009
    Thanks for your response and the tip. I'm glad you get my perspective on this. Yes, if a config option to set a value of 14 or 16 would be great. I also wonder if this will "fix" the rendering across the OS like in Finder, native apps etc.
  25. sjivan thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2009
    I found a tool that allows me to not only change the font size value, but also change the default fonts used system wide. Its called TinkerTool. I need to play with it some more tomorrow and see if I can tweak to match my XP display.

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