Mac OS X Mouse tracking speed

Discussion in 'macOS' started by portent, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. portent macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2004
    Many reports on the web (1, 2, 3) complain that the mouse tracking speed (or accelleration) is not sufficient under Mac OS X, especially with a large (or high-resolution) display. I set out to refute this in a verifiable and conclusive manner.

    Test Setup
    -Mouse used: Apple Wireless (bluetooth) Model A1015
    -Operating System: Mac OS X 10.4.7 "Tiger"
    -Mouse tracking speed: 6th notch; three notches shy of the "fast" setting
    -Mousing surface: Tucano Bunny (MPDEL-179) textured-plastic surface, 19.7cm wide by 22.9 cm high; ("portrait" orientation as depicted in link.)
    -Desktop size: 2048 x 768 pixels; (dual-display 1024x768, side-by-side virtual orientation)
    -Measureing device: Wescott wooden meterstick

    No haxies or alternative drivers were installed on the test system.

    Testing procedure
    Prior to testing, the bottom of the mouse was cleaned with a dry Kleenex facial tissue. The mousepad was likewise wiped with facial tissues.

    The mouse itself was positioned along the extreme left edge of the mousepad; a straightedge was used to align the mouse and mousepad edge. The mouse pointer was positioned at the extreme left of the display (The trackpad was used to move the pointer when necessary, so as not to distrub the position of the mouse.) A skilled operator* moved the mouse in a rapid motion until he determined that the mouse pointer had reached the extreme right of the display area. At this point he released the mouse.

    A measurement was taken of the horizontal distance between the left edge of the mousepad (the starting point) and the resting position of the mouse (the ending point) and the experiment was repeated an additional four times. Anomalous or unsuccessful movements were rejected.

    4.3cm, 5.4cm, 4.2cm, 5.0cm, 4.6cm
    (n.b. For us non-metrics, these numbers are between 1.5 and 2.1 inches)

    Calculation of rate
    The average (arithmetic mean) distance required was 4.7cm. Using the following formula
    r = p / d
    where r is the rate in pixels/cm, p is the number of horizontal pixels, and d is the horizontal distance travelled, the average tracking speed observed was 435.7 pix/cm..

    Among the highest-resolution displays on the market is the 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display. It has an horizontal resolution of 2560 pixels. If one assumes that the widest practical display configuration is two of these displays, configured side-by-side in a virtual desktop, the maximum horizontal distance that could it concievably be necessary to traverse is 5120 pixels.

    The mousepad used in this experiment has a width of 19.7cm. The mouse used has a width of 6.1cm. This results in 13.6cm of available horizontal space for motion. At the average rate of travel calculated above, this is sufficent to allow an operator to traverse 5926 pixels --significantly larger than our theoretical maximum--without exceeding the boundaries of a commonly available mousepad.

    The testing above applies only to the mouse and driver (the Mac OS default) examined. Presumably, other Apple mice, including the USB single-button optical and the Mighty Mouse, as well as other mouse devices which use similar tracking mechanisms and the OS X driver, would perform similarly.

    The performance is also dependent on the skill and experience of the operator. many of the complaints linked in the introduction are from people who have only recently come to use Macintosh computers and Mac OS X.

    The mouse acceleration and tracking speed under Mac OS X are sufficient to allow an experienced operator to traverse an arbitrarily large desktop without exceeding the bounds of an ordinary mousepad. If you feel you need USB Overdrive or similar products, it's cause your hand is slow, not the mouse.

    [SIZE=-2]* The operator (me) has over a decade's experience manipulaing mousing devices attached to Macintosh computers, and over 15 years' experience working with mousing devices in general.[/SIZE]
    EDITED: for sppellnig
  2. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    Yeah all that work you did is sweet but it isnt the OS thats slow but what good is it if you have a apple mouse or mightymouse? I have a mac mouse and it is slow,even with its settings maxed out.
  3. Hytower77 macrumors regular


    Nov 9, 2005
    Some random place outside of Fort Worth, TX
    This made me giggle...that means I too have 15 years working mousing devices. I'm damn near an expert...:p
  4. Thanatoast macrumors 65816


    Dec 3, 2002
    For a short while I got a wireless Kensington Mouse/KB combo and I had to take it back because I couldn't get the damn twitchy mouse to land where I wanted. I slowed everything down to the minimum and still couldn't land the pointer where I aimed.

    In conclusion - I like the way the Apple mice move.
  5. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
  6. portent thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2004
    If you didn't giggle, you're taking it too seriously. :)

    And yes, I do have a lot of time on my hands....
  7. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    What about Logitech mice? Are they using steroids? Gasp!
  8. Hytower77 macrumors regular


    Nov 9, 2005
    Some random place outside of Fort Worth, TX
    I second this as well.

    I can't hardly stand this p.o.s. dell mouse I have at work after getting used to my BT Apple and Mighty Mouse at my house*.

    *Writer has a little over 1 minute of rhyming experience.
  9. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
  10. Hajaman macrumors newbie


    Jul 3, 2006
  11. lOUDsCREAMEr macrumors regular


    Mar 30, 2006
    Safari desert
  12. raelkid macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2006
    Hi! I am very new to Mac OS, and I have a question about the mouse movement. I want the mouse pointer to move the same distance when I move my mouse, indepedent of the speed I move the mouse. That was how my mouse moved on my previous computer and that's how I like it most... Does anyone of you know how to configure my mouse that way?
  13. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    So what your saying is no matter how fast you move the point from point A to B on the mouse pad it should move the same distance on the screen no madder how fast you move it? If so thats what it does now, how fast you move your mouse just changes how fast it move the mouse to that point :confused:
  14. dylan macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2005
    Incorrect. If you move it quickly it goes farther.
  15. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    wow I never did know that. I played around with my mouse for a little bit measuring and such and it does. I never knew that before you learn something new every day. :)
  16. dpaanlka macrumors 601


    Nov 16, 2004
    Not sure if some people aren't getting what this means, but...

    Lets say you have a 17" MacBook Pro (or PowerBook), and you move your finger slowly from one side of the trackpad to the other, the mouse cursor will only move less than halfway across the screen. If you move your finger quickly across the trackpad, the mouse will move from one side all the way to the other with trackpad space to spare.

    If your coming from a PC, you have to train yourself to use this effectively. Once you do, you'll find that it is much better than the PC style, and it allows you to be more effective when working with the mouse in different situations.

    In other words, it's not a "problem" - it's actually a fairly advanced feature. This is also nothing new, and goes back to the introduction of the first PowerBooks with trackpads over ten years ago, during the System 7 era.
  17. cschreppel macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2006
    Boston, MA
    Yeah. Good point about the speed on the trackpads of PowerBooks. Seemed completely natural to me when I first started doing it. Chances are, if I'm moving more slowly, I'm trying to be more accurate.

    Same thing applies for my Mighty Mouse.
  18. phuong macrumors 6502a

    Aug 16, 2006
    i'm using a MX Rev and MX900, both are so different from the mighty mouse. i dont know what method of trackign calculation they are using, but with the logitech mice, i always can reach any side of my screen (3200x1200) easily.
    i know that with the mighty mouse, if i move faster, i will make it travle farther. but when i tried taht with the logitech ones, they do the same thing.

    in fact, with the mighty mouse, i often find myself misclick on, for example, a button, because when i make small movements, it doesn't seem to move at all, and when i tried to move a little farther, it went way cross the button and i misclicked again. imagine how frustrated i am.
    so, my mighty mouse is now sitting on my bookshelf (i can't sell it because i'll need it when i'll sell the MP)

    P/S: this isn't relevant but, the MX Rev is also much lighter than any other mice that use 2xAA batteries.

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