rMBP Scroll Lag: ML vs Windows 8!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by CptBucky, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. CptBucky macrumors member

    Mar 2, 2009
    I just want to share my experience with Windows 8 in regards to system performance compared to OS X Mountain Lion.

    Scrolling in Retina Mode in Mountain Lion has been quite choppy. Some sites feel better than others inevitably due to how they are made.

    I first got an rMBP back in July and returned it because of the lag. That was the 2.6Ghz version. I re-bought the rMBP last week and I'm now running the 2.3Ghz model.

    I installed Windows 8 a couple of days ago, no hiccups except I had to find an updated driver for the Broadcom Wi-Fi (If anybody needs help with that just PM me).

    I updated the Nvidia Gfx drivers. I am running the Metro UI in 2x Mode (i.e Retina) and have gone a step further and checked "make everything on your screen bigger" in the ease of access settings.

    There is no lag at all. Not a single drop in the 60hz refresh/frame rate and I've been on some heavy photo sites like Facebook and Flickr all the while having music playing in the background and various other apps open like Skype and the Windows Store. I may take a video of the comparison to show how big the difference actually is.

    Going back to ML, I did install gfxcardstatus and made sure the discreet GPU was running and I still get that tremendous, unacceptable lag when scrolling.

    This thread isn't a Windows 8 vs OS X thread; I am just interested in people's thoughts on why Windows is handling this machine so much better?

    Is this bad coding on Apple's part? OpenGL vs DirectX? Maybe even the inertial scrolling feature in OS X is taking a huge toll on the GPU?

    I have set mouse scrolling settings to 1 both horizontally and vertically in Windows 8 which works well with the trackpad.

    It's frustrating to have a machine designed to work with OS X, a machine we bought to work with an OS we love, but that runs so much faster with a different operating system? What happened to the Apple "ecosystem" when it comes to Macs? :eek:
  2. stormslayer macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2012
    MORE data:

    I started the last thread on this, and I've tried some things. Here's what's worked: instead of using safari, I'm using the latest build of chrome. Scrolling is better, uniformly, across all the web pages that were giving me fits. But, and this is a big clue possibly, when I resize by dragging my fingers (not tapping, but doing it with the sweep gesture), chrome "clicks" between different zooms. It is NOT smooth / continuous, and you have only a few options it will force you into. Safari, in contrast, lets you choose any level of zoom you want.

    Chrome, once it clicks into place with what it determines is the allowed level of zoom, scrolls just fine. Safari will let you choose any level, but hangs, and then doesn't scroll fine even after it renders.


    Thanks for the win info -- what's battery life like? Any heat problems?
  3. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    Please read Anandtech's article here. You'll see that in OSX to make everything look super smooth, everything is upsampled and then downsampled to achieve the highest quality. Win7/8 don't do this.
  4. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Ok i'm going to make this really simple. In bootcamp, macs use their dedicated graphics card ONLY. In OSX, macs switch automatically between dedicated graphics (fast) and integrated graphics (slow but power efficient). In addition, if you use a scaled resolution in OSX of above 1440x900, you tax the computer even further and start rendering beyond native resolution to compensate. It is no surprise that it runs great in windows because it is running the dedicated gpu 100% of the time and does not render above native resolution. Also, You will also notice that the battery life in windows is cut in half and it runs hotter because the dedicated gpu is on 100% of the time.
  5. Purant macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2012
    That's only if you don't use the best for retina scaling. At the best for retina it doesn't upsample. Apple has messed up and they need to fix their OS asap.
  6. Rhinoevans macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    Good to know, Thanks. So if you don't care about battery life (on A/C power), it is better to go with dedicated GPU?
  7. naujoks macrumors 6502


    Jul 6, 2008
    London, UK
    How come I never notice any choppiness when using Chrome under ML?

    Also, captain, how did you overcome the buggy Boot Camp app under Win 8, which prevents one from making changes to the trackpad (enable clicking by tapping) etc? It crashes when I try to launch it.
  8. rikscha macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2010
    No, the integrated GPU is absolutely fine and easily cabable of running retina resolution. It is a driver issue which will hopefully be fixed soon. The lag IS annoying.
  9. BlaqkAudio macrumors 6502

    Jun 24, 2008
    New York
    Maybe you missed this part:

  10. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Windows 8 is simply rendering in native resolution.

    the retina display upscales everything, shrinks it back down to 2x the "resolution" you select in your display settings and then draws it on the screen. OS X icons are masively more detailed as well (zoom into some of them some time and see).

    Now i don't have an rMBP to compare, but retina mode under OS X makes the hardware do a lot more work than simply rendering to native resolution in Windows 7 or 8.
  11. Saladinos macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2008
    Not on "best for Retina" resolution - in that case it can draw "natively" at 2x and doesn't do any non-integer scaling.

    I think it's a driver problem, but I suppose it could also be a WebKit bug. Chrome could just be better optimised (pre-rendering etc). I definitely think its fixable with a SW update; I'm just less sure if Apple will actually do it or not.
  12. Barna Biro macrumors 6502a

    Barna Biro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Zug, Switzerland
    It will be more interesting to see "when" they decide to do it if they eventually decide to fix it and not consider it a "non-issue" ( it's something "normal" ). I doubt they can avoid it forever, eventually, they'll have to optimize it...
  13. nontroppo macrumors 6502


    Mar 11, 2009
    Apple have been terrible at keeping their graphics drivers up to date, I have little faith they will fix things that are just about good enough. The visual perception research community used to choose OS X as the best OS with which to do research, but a growing collection of OpenGL bugs is causing more and more scientists to abandon OS X. These bugs are logged on Radar, but unless a big user like Adobe or Valve complains, GPU bugs just sit unfixed.

    As most complaints seem to focus on web browsers, lets hope this is just optimisation of the way image decoding occurs during page layout, rather than anything lower level. Luckily I don't see any lag or stutter...
  14. CptBucky thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 2, 2009
    I wish you would actually read what I've said and not just the first paragraph ;)

    Windows 8 (RT/Metro interface) has *full* support for retina mode. It doubles the resolution of the tiles, and in ease of access settings you can even make make it 3x.

    About the retina-made Apple icons, they've always been high resolution ever since Tiger.

    The desktop in windows 8 is a separate "app" and the metro UI is what windows actually is now.

    In Safari you can go full screen which doesn't show the dock. This pretty much discounts the theory that lag is because ML has to render everything else in retina at the same time during web browsing.

    Text rendering maybe different, but cleartype in Windows looks good to me. If OSX is rendering text differently I don't think it's worth the lag. But as people have said, it's often websites with heavy amounts of photos that cause scroll lag.

    I think what some of you are saying about the gfx drivers could be true. Games never run as well as they do under Windows. My best bet is that the underlying issue is OpenGl v DirectX. Apple said that they updated ML to offload some of the rendering to the GPU instead of CPU to make scrolling smoother remember?


    I followed this tutorial, worked like a charm (no pun intended :p)

  15. CptBucky thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 2, 2009
    Going to post a video tonight showing the difference
  16. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    There are some software bugs through browsers which result in lower performance in OS X HiDPI mode. There has been some threads (which I can't find now) quoting known Chrome bug reports which explained the issue (had something to do with image cache - for some websites, Chrome would perform some very expensive operations for no real reason when in HiDPI mode). Similarly, may applications are badly coded (slow UI buildup) - Apple's own App Store is a prime example for this. As previously mentioned, OS X uses a supersampling approach, so its more sensitive to these things than simple scaling as done by Windows. And its still possible that OS X itself has some bugs which result in lower performance. There are probably still plenty of opportunities to further optimise it.
  17. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    My experience is that Safari scrolls much more smoothly than Chrome on my rMBP.
  18. Hoolig4n macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2012
    Also, I'm an avid Chrome user and I promote chrome to clients. But, using newest safari pretty much eliminated the scroll lag on my RMBP. I have 2.3/16gig version and have had it since 2 weeks after launch and I can say safari is ALOT smoother(if that is even a word).
  19. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
  20. KurianOfBorg macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2013
    These high resolution displays really bring out the difference between Windows and other OSes. Windows has been architecturally superior for years and Windows 8 has improved performance even further. It has the lowest input to output latency of any OS by far. It never stutters or freezes ever even on a mechanical HDD, while OS X stutters even on an SSD. It's 5 years ahead of everything else, like iOS was 5 years ahead of everything when it launched.

    The only apps which lag on Windows are substandard apps like Chrome. IE scrolls at 120 fps. All Adobe tools are vastly superior on Windows performance wise. If you want a quality laptop, buy a MBP and install Windows 8. All other non-Apple laptops are utter garbage with pathetic battery life, horrible proprietary drivers and hardware with OEM PIDs/VIDs, hideous design, etc.
  21. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Yes Windows is faster and at full res has to render just as many pixels. The down scaling OSX does should not require any significant resources. That is a cheap operation processing wise and especially wouldn't spike, it is constant load.

    But Windows on multiple displays is still not great. The ground work is there but developers don't fix their programs with high res displays still being such a small percentage of sold notebooks. Apple changes their line up and every dev tries to fix their stuff. It is the only line sold.
    While there are quite a few high res options now, in volume they are still few and many programs (on the normal desktop) don't play nice.
    In Chrome you have to set the hiDPI setting in chrome://flags to get it to render correctly, which still doesn't switch on on its own for some reason.

    Performance on OSX isn't always what it should be but it does work better overall. Not really anything Microsoft can change other than lay the ground work but still the fact remains. Modern UI is great in performance and resolution independence but it still isn't Windows it is just a tablet mode that has limited to no use to most people because it isn't as productive as the desktop side with its much better programs.
  22. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    This is an old thread.... Mavericks eliminated what was left of the scroll lag with the 10.9.2 update.

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