New CPU doesn't feel faster than old computer

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by arogge, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. arogge macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    #1
    I'm working with an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and I have to say that I'm not too impressed by the performance of the computer. The tasks that I have tried so far include:

    Batch processing camera RAW files to JPEG
    Cropping and straightening image files
    Viewing and scrolling through JPEG thumbnails
    Facebooking and using other Web 2.0 pages

    The system doesn't feel much faster when viewing bloated Web pages and Facebook applications can bring the Web browser to a Spinning Beachball stall, the rendering of thumbnails is still not instantly-quick until I preprocess and load them all into RAM, and the JPEG file output is the same speed as on a G4 system. The cropping function is actually less responsive than it was on the G4 system.

    I assume that this is a problem with code optimization, because there's no way that a new Intel CPU can possibly be the same speed as a 6-year-old Motorola CPU. Apple says that the Megahurtz Myth is over now, so I expected that a 2 GHz Intel CPU would outperform a 1.5 GHz G4 CPU. The system doesn't feel hot after several hours of use, so that indicates that the software isn't fully using the CPU. What does make it hot is Adobe Flash, but that's another issue.

    I wonder if I really do need to buy an Arrandale-based system to finally get better performance. I could blame the software developers for not optimizing their code, or I could get excited about the rumors about the new Arrandale laptops from Apple that should have been released months ago. Rumor watching! :D
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #2
    Are you using a UB version of whatever software you're using to do the photo editing?
     
  3. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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  4. arogge thread starter macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    #4
    Yes, it's for both PPC and Intel.
     
  5. Strobe macrumors member

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    #5
    This is just a shot in the dark since there isn't much details provided on the specs of each machine and I'm a new Apple convert, but a few of those tasks seem very hard drive speed related. I have been building PC's for a while and over the years as new CPU's and faster this and that come out, nothing makes a HUGE difference. The few machines I built with an SSD were just a total mind blowing difference. Hard drives are the only thing that haven't gotten much faster imo. I bought a 7200RPM drive more than 5 years and ago and thats still the majority of drives spindle speeds. A higher end SSD such as the Intel models would yield results that would make your jaw drop.
     
  6. alent1234 macrumors 603

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    #6
    There is more to system performance than CPU. Different tasks will be limited by different bottlenecks in the system. Ram, network, IO, etc
     
  7. Strobe macrumors member

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    May 28, 2009
    #7
    That was my thoughts about it too. Batch files with photo editing that are hitting the hard drive with opening and saving would have an astronomical effect with low latency and high IO's of a SSD. The webpages like facebook and stuff though are just flat out slow even on my Mac Pro and they run no slower or faster on my Macbook Pro either. Internet speed has some play with that, but a lot of it comes down to flash not being optimized.
     
  8. arogge thread starter macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    #8
    I'd considered that HDD bottleneck, but none of these tasks are leaning on the HDD too much. You hear a few clicks from the HDD when the image files are queued, and then it's wait-wait-wait-wait-wait for a response from the CPU. Then there's another few clicks as the files are written out. The performance hit is during the CPU action.
     
  9. Strobe macrumors member

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    #9
    Hmm. Well I've done a few batch files with images around 400x400ish in size that were car wheels and I put watermarks and resized them etc to make them uniform and there was about 6700 image files in various file formats. I watermarked and JPEG'd them all with CS4 automation and it took a couple hours on my Mac Pro, but I had a kind friend let me borrow his SSD for a weekend to check it out and I ran the same automation on the files and it took 25 minutes. It was an X-25M SSD vs. my 300gb Velociraptor.
     
  10. arogge thread starter macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    #10
    This SSD thing sounds interesting, but Apple wants a lot of money to get SSD preinstalled in a laptop. Can these SSD drives use SCSI or SAS to get increased throughput performance? I'd like to see a performance comparison between enterprise hard drives on SAS with an SSD drive.

    Anyway, I just upgraded to Bibble 5 for image processing and it's a big difference. Thumbnails are almost instantly displayed, RAW file conversion is about 4 seconds faster, zooming and image processing tasks are also almost instantly done. Bibble has the look of Apple's Aperture, with the Brushed Metal interface, and this software is a lot better optimized.
     
  11. JoeG4 macrumors 68030

    JoeG4

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    #11
    The MHz myth thing still applies! The i5 and i7 are lower clocked, and generally faster than their c2d counterparts. :)
     
  12. polotska macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Strange. I haven't used a 1.5 GHz G4-based machine in a very long time, but I know that Macs in that ballpark speed-wise felt extremely slow to me compared to Intel-based PCs of the same vintage. I'm very surprised that the 2 GHz Core 2 Duo machine doesn't seem far faster.
     
  13. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Needs*a*faster*HD,*aka*a*SSD.*Try*the*OCZ*Vertex*LE,*that'll*give*you*a*good*boost..

    also*more*memory!
     
  14. arogge thread starter macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    #14
    I looked into the SSD options and the only drawbacks are price and lack of large capacity. Maybe Apple will release new laptops this week and make SSD something of a regular choice. I'm following the rumor threads closely! :eek:

    More memory? How many GB do you want to open a 13 MB file? Streamline the code first, then ask for more system resources. It's amazing how much faster an optimized application runs when compared to an application that isn't optimized. Try Folding@home for my first experience with the lack of code optimization on the Mac. No PPC support meant that an older Intel CPU could do the job much faster. It was the Megahurtz Myth in reverse!
     
  15. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #15
    I am sorry but you wanted to open more then just a single 13 mb file. You said batch file. That implies more then one file. I am sure your system can handle one 13 mb file just fine. But put 100 or so 13 mb files up and start converting them then you might start seeing some lag.
     
  16. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Capacity comes with a price. Sorry about the stars, my Webkit is bonkers...

    Aren't you opening a lot of files at once? Like rhett7660 said, the more you open, the more memory it takes. Also opening a 13mb file doesn't mean the program only uses up 13mb of memory to view it..
     
  17. alent1234 macrumors 603

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    #17

    SSD has a performance hit with large files

    if you want faster HD than replace the HD with a Western Digital Raptor or Velociraptor. forget the current name. it has NCQ on board and will run a lot faster. it's SATA but the internals are like an enterprise hard drive.

    the whole 5400 vs 7200 RPM is BS. almost no difference. you need a fast hard drive with it's own controller chip. the iMac and PC stock hard drives rely on the CPU for control and that adds a lot of latency
     
  18. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    What? Performance hit with large files???
     
  19. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #19
    No, not at all!
    The most SSDs these days make 250-260MB/s sequential read. The fastest mechanical drives (2TB 7200MB/s, Raptors are slower) only reach half of that speed.
     
  20. chown33 macrumors 604

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    Aug 9, 2009
    #20
    Use Activity Monitor.app (located in Utilities) to monitor actual CPU and HD usage. Listening for clicks and a feeling of wait-wait-wait is subjective and error-prone.

    Also use Activity Monitor to make sure the app you're measuring is really running as native Intel code, and not accidentally as PPC code. There's a column in the process list table for this (the Kind column). I have occasionally been surprised.

    Also, if your OS is 10.6, it may be your photo app is 32-bit only, not 64-bit, and thus incurs some extra cost in loading 32-bit libs and such. Again, this is identified in the Kind column of the process list.
     
  21. arogge thread starter macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    #21
    The batch processing refers to the program function, batching instead of individually saving one file at a time. The way I have the program configured, it always loads the thumbnails of all the images in the directory. What's loaded into memory during batch processing are the development conditions, a minimal overall cost to the RAM. I have the program configured to process each file individually, not simultaneously. There is no difference in performance between processing multiple files in a batch and using the Save As function.

    The disappointment, although not unexpected because of a previous experience with a Mac Pro when they first came out, was when I took the same image sets that were being processed on the G4 machine and tried to do the same tasks on the Core 2 Duo machine. The software isn't much faster overall, on a machine with twice the RAM and 6 years newer. The problem is obviously the software because when I run the same image sets through the optimized Bibble 5 application, the response from the editing tools is almost immediate. Bibble 4 was so slow that it was ridiculous. You'd try to adjust the exposure or some other basic thing and the software would render the image preview all over again.

    One frequent example of the problem I'm hitting is when I try to zoom an image to 100%. Bibble 5 renders the image instantly, even animating the zoom without difficulty. The older application from another company takes up to 4 seconds to render at 100%, which is about the same speed as on the G4 machine. RAW to JPEG conversion takes up to 4 seconds less time per file with the latest version of Bibble 5. Bibble really is what the company claims about fast file conversions, as long as you have an Intel CPU. The PPC support apparently got dumped with this latest version.
     
  22. arogge thread starter macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    #22
    Also, unlike a RAM drive, the SSD isn't volatile memory. Now I really want one of these things in a laptop. That would be an incredible performance boost for me!
     
  23. iBunny macrumors 65816

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    Apr 15, 2004
    #23
    Im not really sure what the problem might be.. but

    I went from a iBook G4 1.33GHz / 1GB Ram, to a original Core Duo 2Ghz / 2GB RamiMac and it was Leaps and bounds faster... then i went to a current gen MBP, Core 2 Duo 2.8GHz / 4GB Ram and it was leaps and bounds faster than that...

    So im not really sure.

    I put a 800$ 250GB OCZ Vertex SSD in my MBP and it was the single best upgrade for any machine I ever did. :D And I will always, always have a SSD from now on. Even at a premium price.
     
  24. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

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    #24
    When I am doing everyday tasks, i.e. web browsing, iTunes and email, my G4 iMac with 1 GB of RAM and Leopard feels the same as my Mac Pro 2.8 Octo with 8 GB of RAM.

    Now of course for video and photo processing, the MP runs circles around the iMac, but the obsession here with bigger, faster, stronger is just dumb most of the time.
     
  25. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #25
    Do this. If, during the hangs, at least one CPU core is pinned at 100%, then you can say that the CPU is the bottleneck. If nothing is getting pinned, then the bottleneck is elsewhere. Likewise you can look at the drive transfer graph to see what the load pattern looks like; if it spikes to 50+MB/s and stays there until done, you're disk throughput limited. If there's barely any data coming off the drive, probably not, though you should also check the I/Os per second to make sure it's not huge (I'd expect you'd hear it if it were seeking that much, though).

    You can also check RAM usage there to make sure one of the processes in question isn't chewing up massive amounts of RAM.

    Of course, assuming it is the CPU, then like you're guessing it's almost certainly poorly-written software. Throw the fastest computer in the world at crappy software and it'll run dog slow. Even running emulated PPC code a newer C2D should be faster than a G4 of that vintage. The only exception I can think of is if the activity was heavily optimized for the vector unit in the G4, though even in that case modern Intel chips have somewhat similar dedicated processing units.

    Of course, as noted, a lot of web browsing is entirely network-limited. Certain things, particularly Javascript heavy pages or things with very complex layout, can hit the CPU a bit, but most things render quickly enough even on a 600MHz iPod once the data is through the pipe, so to speak.
     

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