Interesting Observation...

Discussion in 'MacRumors News Discussion (archive)' started by MacRumors, Apr 30, 2001.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001
    Even with the recent OS X v10.0.1 upgrade, we're at a rather early point in the life of OS X. We can expect a bit of additional speed with each minor upgrade Apple releases, I'd wager. But I was surprised to note that, in working with my NeXTSTATION Turbo Color workstation (68040 @ 33Mz, 32MB RAM, running NeXTSTEP v3.3) this weekend, NeXT applications and the OS in general do indeed feel significantly snappier on this machine than OS X and its apps do on my b&w G3 400 (256MB RAM, UltraWide SCSI). This is especially interesting to me given that I've recently been working with a PowerMac 6100 (PowerPC 601 @ 66MHz, 32MB RAM, 1MB L2 cache, running MacOS 8.6) which just feels super-sluggish. And it's CPU is much faster than a 33Mz 68040, and OS 8.6 is far less complex than NeXTSTEP--one would think individual apps would feel faster, but they do not.

    OS X has its sluggish Aqua, NeXTSTEP has it's sluggish Display PostScript. They both run a Mach-based BSD implementation. Lots of interesting angles here. Perhaps in relative terms, the NeXT hardware was more on-target.
    What do you think about that?
  2. Ghost Guest

    Yes it's true. The old NextStations are more responsive... at times. The first thing I noticed was my 25Mhz NextStation with 32megs for RAM booted alot faster than my Powerbook 233 with 512k cache and 160 megs of RAM.

    Applications start faster and do not seem to be much slower in responding. Sometimes faster. I've tested Mail, Previewer, Terminal and Preferences.

    To start the NextStation to the login screen takes 1min 6sec. The mac takes 2min 36 sec. The NextStation takes 17 seconds to login and another 20 seconds for the drives to stop chattering. The mac takes 30 seconds to login and another 15 seconds for the drive to stop chattering.

    Logging out is twice as fast on the NextStation. Shutting down NextStation takes a lot longer.

    My Overclocked 375MHz Celeron Intel box running OpenStep is even faster. OmniWeb is faster on the Intel box. Gee, I thought Apple told us G3's were up to twice as fast as top of the line Intel P3's!

    My hope is that Quartz isn't as optimized as Display Postscript in NextStep and OpenStep, debug code people keep saying is in the release will be removed, and further serious optimizations are on the way. If true, then we can expect great speed in the future.

    The question is, when will the consumer see the speed increases?

  3. blakespot Administrator


    Jun 4, 2000
    Alexandria, VA

    My first NeXT machine was a 486-66 fabricated specifically to run NeXTSTEP. Had this superfast massive-thruput videoboard called the Wingine that had a proprietary slot. Since Display PostScript did not use 2D cards' line draw accelerators and the like, you got the most boost from just fat bandwidth to the card. Pure framebuffer. This worked great on NeXT hardware given the excellent DMA architecture, but most PC's had problems--not the Wingine. Still...this NeXTSTATION Turbo Color is faster than that 486-66 was.

    I recently purchased a 68060 50MHz accelerator for a ( ) towered Amiga 1200---just great for demos, etc. I'd love to see a 060 accelerator in the NeXT. Apparently there is a 50MHz 040 accelerator, but it's REALLY hard to find--not a lot were made. When NeXT stopped hardware production, they were designing a RISC version of their machine, which would have been quite a thing to experience.


    [Edited by Macrumors on 05-01-2001 at 09:59 AM]
  4. Blah Guest

    OS X is NOT NeXStep

    OS X is essentially a completely different OS than NeXSTep is/was.

    There is no OpenGL in NexStep, no QuickTime, no redesigned core audio features, no I/O Kit (like in OS X) and most definately no Quartz.

    Quartz is a home-brewed PDF internally rasterizing graphics engine/window server.

    Aqua does not make the OS "slow" - its all the PDF rasterizing that is being done on the CPU that is the problem.

    Windows are buffered and they repair themselves instantly, can be dragged around in solid form and to a degree can be resized quite well considering that there is very little graphics card utilization.

    Apple HAD to ship OS X so that there would be a reason to make software/hardware work with it. It also locked in a feature set, setting a line in the sand, for developers so they could get started.

    Not every feature was "done" or where Apple wanted it, Audio is a big area that is waiting to be filled. Mostly by OEMs who need to make new drivers and supporting software since OS X is so radically different in that respect.

    The rest of the issues will be addressed. Mac OS 9 did not spring forth as-is one week after Apple was shipping Macs. It took a very long time, a lot of refining and raw human effort to make it as polished as it is.

    OS X should not be compared peer-to-peer with OS 9 or Windoze 2000 or even NeXStep - its a completely NEW Operating System that happens to share a lot with NeXT and Apple OSes.
  5. fetter macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2001
    I think it's horse ****

    After reading that I want to go out and by a Gateway PC, a mini van, and sell my soul to the devil.
  6. thyl Guest

    I am not so optimistic about performace as "blah". Under OPENSTEP, I have seen dereasing speed, not increasing speed, due to added functionality. There was no such thing as an "initial" slow version, iirc. I also do not quite see why there should still be debugging code in the 10.0.x release. I am afraid that the PDF rendering and all the visual effects have just lifted us to a new level of complexity, with a hefty speed penalty. The switch from CLI to GUI has raised the required speed of the hardware by a factor of about 10. Maybe we have to expect an increase of a factor of 2-3 this time.

    Is it worth it? I am not sure, in particular since some of the really time saving features of OPENSTEP, like right click menus, vertical menus etc, are also gone.

  7. blakespot Administrator


    Jun 4, 2000
    Alexandria, VA

    Hmm... Perhaps the best platform is indeed finding a 1GHz PC with a compatible (read: old) video board running OpenStep for Mach (the latest version). I played more with the NeXT last night--it is astounding to note the speed, taking into account the CPU used (040 @ 33MHz), the fact that it only has 32MB of RAM, but yet it's running a rather complex operating system. I did gain a bit of speed when I replaced its old 400MB SCSI drive with a 2GB Seagate UltraSCSI drive (not that the NeXT utilizes UltraSCSI speed--but it's a faster drive even on a SCSI II system). An 040 40 Mac running OS 8.5, etc. would feel nowhere near as fast. But then the general architecture of the NeXT is a thing of beauty and perfection (well...).

    Got that machine for $250 from a place in Frederick, MD that sells refurb NeXT systems. An ADB-based unit that came with 32MB RAM, 400MB HD, and a 21" color NeXT monitor. Not bad.
    Take a look:

    ...and the QuickTime VR is here: (at the bottom)

    (yes, I am sad...)

  8. 717 Guest

    Sluggish OS X

    What i ’ve heared, from someone at Apple, is that the OS X GUI is not yet hardware accelerated, and all the nice dock effects are done by the CPU...

  9. #9
    An 040 40 Mac running OS 8.5, etc. would feel nowhere
    near as fast.

    An 040 Mac is not able to run 8.5. It can run 8.1 though.

    X is looking good, but it needs better browsers... I hope iCab, Omni and Opera KILL IE/M$ :)
  10. SkipSteuart Guest

    Don't forget that SMP is coming. Apple has been hinting at 4 and more processors in the near future, and it will take a new OS like OSX to efficiently use SMP. IMHO the secret to a snappy interface is in a clean SMP OS/HW design. I expect Apple to begin delivering snappy 2 and 4 processor OSX systems by the end of the year. Until SMP boxes are out I think everybody should be quiet about speed.
  11. rob. Guest

    Needs dual processors?

    You've gotta be kidding me. OS X *needs* dual processors!? Why do people expect so little from Apple? I want this to be snappy on my G3/400, and I *expect* it to be.
  12. abc Guest

    apples to oranges

    You can't compare OS X to an old OS like NextStep!

    How absurd!!

    Hell, I have a IIsi running 6.1 that boots up in a few seconds (literally!) but does that mean it's faster than OS X? Gimme a break!

    Just because something is 'snappy' doesn't mean it's faster, and more importantly, it doesn't mean it's *better*.

    Jeeeeeeeez.. if we all wanted to make apple to orange comparisons, I'll whip out my old Time Sinclair 1000 and show everyone, look, there's no boot time at all!!!!!
  13. #13
    I totally disagree with the claim that NeXTstep on a 33 Mhz '040 is faster than OSX on virtually any hardware. I have turbo color NeXTstations in both my work office and home office ; both have a fair amount of memory and run NS 3.3. My OSX machine is a beige G3 with a 400 MHz card, 2 rage 128 cards and 256 megs or memory.

    Dragging windows (opaque dragging) is *much* faster on the OS X machine. Response to menu events is similar on both machines. Launch times are at least similar for some things, but most things launch more slowly on the NeXT (OmniWeb, for example). With my system, booting seems much faster in OS X, though I haven't timed it.

    I am doing quite a bit of Objective C programming on both machines and Interface Builder and Project Builder are *much* faster on the OS X machine. There is simply no comparison.

    Has anyone run OmniWeb on both machines? Again, there is no comparison - OW on a NeXT is painful to use compared to an OS X machine.

    I think all the performance complaints about OS X are getting a little absurd - it might not be as fast as one would like, but it is much faster than a similar (and simpler) OS on a '040.
  14. RevAaron Guest

    OW on NeXTSTEP

    I must agree, OmniWeb is painful on my 25 MHz '040 NeXTcube. OmniWeb on my G4/400 isn't paricularily plesant (compared to IE on OS X, or IE or iCab under Mac OS 9), but it's certainly better. However, OmniWeb *did* feel faster under Rhapsody DR2 on my 350 MHz K6-2. Actually, Rhapsody DR2 and OpenStep 4.2 both felt faster on my K6-2.
  15. Rudy Guest

    Is it the Java junk?

    Yes, my 200MHz notebook with OpenStep 4.2 responds way faster than OS X. I think there are two points of which one has been mentioned:

    a) The Display Postscript under OpenStep was heavily optimized. I have high hopes that Quarz will be at least as fast as that, in the future. People were originally very pessimistic about the DPS, but it worked better. And yes, you can compare NeXTstep/OpenStep with OS X. A lot of the core stuff is very similar. At least the DPS / Quarz, the kernel, BSD, the frameworks ...

    b) I am more worried about the fact that some apps might be written completely in Java. Do you think that Java could be an issue? I personally would only write apps in Cocoa using Objective C, not java.

    Cheers, Rudy
  16. Chuck Guest

    BeOS would have been a better choice

    Apple chose the wrong OS.
    Gassee tried to rip Apple off and now we get to suffer. Apple should just buy BeOS now for a couple million before Microsoft thows a number at them and then shelves it.
  17. SkipSteuart Guest

    Re: Needs dual processors?

    For 20 years computers have doubled their horsepower every 18 months. It's up to the software to figure out how to use the hardware. It's a waste of Apple's time to tune OSX for outdated hardware. Today on eBay I found an Apple B/W G3 400 with 512 MB RAM and a 9 GB drive for $620. For $2,500 you can go to the Apple site and get a dual G4 533 MHz that with the proper OS and app could be 2 to ten times faster than a G3 400. If Apple wants to gain marketshare and become relevant they need to focus on SMP and high end systems to beat the pants off of the NT and Wintel crowd. I might put OSX on my 500 MHz powerbook G3 for fun or proof of concept, but I don't expect it to be snappy. I also don't want Apple wasting any time optimizing OSX for old systems.

    Apple should put ALL of their effort behind rolling out the hotest SMP boxes in the world, and I hope to buy one this Fall/Winter. In 3 years even Apple's entry level systems will probably have 2 processors, run OSX, and deliver a kind of snappy you've only dreamed about. At that time I'll probably have an 8 (or more) processor box doing amazing 3D work.
  18. blakespot Administrator


    Jun 4, 2000
    Alexandria, VA

    I used to lust after BeOS--I almost bought a 'BeBox' (dual 66MHz PPC 601's) but got a car instead... BeOS is nice, but it would NOT have been a better OS than OS X. Now we've got a Unix core, and a good one at that. Nothing would've been gained by going to another protpietary OS. We can directly benefit from the core of the open-source movement, the Linux crowd.

    Praise Unix.

  19. sbarton macrumors regular

    May 4, 2001

    I've got a Turbo Color Cube running Openstep. This is basically the fastest Next black hardware that was released. I also have a 450Mhz B&W G3 running OSX 10.0.2. Anyone that wants to see the difference between the two, then drop me a line when your in Denver. There is a HUGE difference between the two systems performance wise. As one would assume, the Mac runs rings around the cube. I could surf 3 web sites with Omniweb before the cube can even start that app. Same goes for all of the apps I have on the Cube which are now available for OSX. The original post to the contrary is just plain wrong.

    Also, everyone moaning and bitching about the sluggishness of the Aqua interface. I don't find it sluggish in the least. Yes, it is not as "snappy" as OS9's, but aren't you people taking into consideration all of the additional things the interface is doing? I mean come on. Were getting a fully rasterized, real-time display system and people are bitching that it's not as fast as OS9 on the same hardware. Well....NO ****!

    The benifits are obvious if you care to look. Just open a website in Omniweb, then open the same one, side-by-side in Explorer on OSX.

  20. Marshall Guest

    NeXTSTEP wasn't doing quite as much with DPS

    IIRC, NeXTSTEP wasn't doing anywhere near as much alpha blending as Aqua is. Everything in Aqua is anti-aliased, every window frame has a translucent shadow, the dock is partially transparent, the menus are partially transparent, the icons are scaled in real-time...

    All DPS had to do most of the time to render the UI bits was blast rectangular bitmaps to the screen. The only transparency I remember seeing was the alpha channel on the 48x48 (fixed-size) icons. Now, this is after having not used the OS for a while, so my memory might not be serving me right. The fonts under DPS weren't anti-aliased either, were they?

    I think it'd be neat to see a UI drawn using Quartz that didn't make such heavy use of alpha blending and check out its speed then. I'm sure it would make Quartz feel a heck of a lot faster...but then we'd be stuck with a more boring look-and-feel for who knows how many more years... :)

  21. nick.carrasco macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2001

    I've used every version that there has been from NeXTStep 3.1 to Rhapody to OS X, and by far the performance of OS X has been disappointing. Yes it can handle alot more that the old NeXTStations, but in most cases I'd rather not have to wait. Currently my system choice is OS X Server 1.2, and I'm really hoping that when the new Server comes out (the one based on OS X) it doesn't kill the performance.

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