Sloooow animations on secondary screens.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Transporteur, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #1
    Hi there,

    Time to get rid of the stuttering window animations of my Mac Pro.
    Both my additional displays (Dell 2007FP) show very slow window animations, watching videos also lags.

    The centre display (30" ACD) is perfectly fine.
    The displays themselves are not the problem, I've tested them with my laptop and they are fine there.
    I also tested all graphics cards configurations possible:

    - only a single graphics card with one or two displays connected
    - 30" to 4870, 1 20" to 4870, 1 20" to GT120
    - 30" to 4870, both 20"s to GT120

    The latter is what is running now (and what I'd like to keep it).

    I really don't have any clue what might cause the lag.
    Did anything change in OS X?
    I never had this kind of problem with previous display setups. Everything was perfectly lag free.

    Any recommendations?
     
  2. codymac macrumors 6502

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    Jun 12, 2009
    #2
    Just curious if you've tried it with only two monitors.
     
  3. Transporteur thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #3
    ;)

    Believe me, hardware wise, I tried everything!
     
  4. mjsmke macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    im running 2 22" monitors from 1 GT120 and theres no lag. Could it be your MDP adaptor or Leads?
     
  5. Transporteur thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #5
    The miniDP adapter is fine, I also tried it on my MBP and the second screen is directly attached to the GT120 (via DVI).

    I really don't think that this is a hardware problem, on the other side I really can't figure what messes this up. :confused:

    I checked the activity monitor while playing a video. The WindowServer process jumps immediately from 1% (on the centre 30" screen), to almost 60% once I drag that window to one of the 20s.

    My system has all updates, if that matters.
     
  6. Transporteur thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #6
    No one? Really? :confused:

    It drives me crazy having spend that much dough for a system that acts sluggish for whatever reason, I really can't work with that.

    I already did the PRAM reset and repaired the permissions on my boot drive. The only other option I see, is a complete re-install of SL, but I really don't wanna go that far.
     
  7. Transporteur thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #7
    Sorry for replying to myself, but I just finished a little more testing.

    It gets REALLY weird now!

    To confirm that this is not a hardware problem, I booted into Windows 7 and everything is nice and smooth there (as it should be).

    So I figured that OS X might be somehow corrupted on my machine. I then did a clean install of SL and guess what? Same problem! WTF?

    I then disconnected the miniDP to DVI connector (which drives one of the 20s) and everything is smooth now. The second it gets re-connected, both 20s start lagging.

    :confused:

    So what is it? Not a hardware problem (tested the whole system with Windows and the miniDP adapter with my MBP), and not a software problem (since a clean install of SL didn't solve the problem)?
     
  8. Transporteur thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #8
    So, I just figured out that it definitely is not the miniDP adapter either.

    The problem are rather the graphics cards (which doesn't make sense though as I don't run more than one display from a single card for the first time).
    If I connect only 1 display to each card (no matter which monitor on which output), everything runs smooth.
    As soon as I add a second display to either of the cards, it starts lagging.

    Is there anything I can do about that? Has anybody heard about a similar issue before?

    Any help would be really appreciated!
     
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #9
    Can you get your hands on another ATI or nVidia card (keep it to one brand to test if there's a card interaction issue)?

    I'm wondering (suspect) if it's in the graphics card drivers (though works with both cards, the system doesn't "like" it).

    Given it happens to the 20" monitors split or on the same card, I don't think the memory's been limited (i.e. shift in base memory address). But the clocks may be affected (though I'd expect this to only occur on one unit when the pair are on separate cards; both would be affected in the way you describe when both are on the same card).
     
  10. Transporteur thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #10
     
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #11
    I was thinking more along the lines of borrowing one from a good friend for testing purposes. :eek:

    Have you pulled the HD4870, in order to see if the GT120 is fine with the pair of 20 inchers?

    Given that the HD4870 was fine before, it could be the card is going, or that the driver update has a problem (should be more likely).

    Try to think back; when the 4870 was fine with a pair of monitors (30" + 20" I presume), was it on a previous driver version?

    If the configuration was different then, the details may help.

    I don't think this is the case either, but I was referring to the start address being moved higher (offset) from the actual base address, resulting in less memory being used on the card.
     
  12. Transporteur thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #12
    I have no friends... :( ;)

    Nah, seriously, I really don't know anybody with a Mac Pro (I might work in the wrong industry as all my colleagues are Windows only. :rolleyes:)

    I haven't tried the 120 alone as of yet, but I'm in the process of testing right now (read below).
    Actually, I don't even know how to look up the installed driver versions. But given that the OS update (6.4) came out in july (IIRC), the previous configuration was possibly on 6.3. The hardware is pretty much the same (20 wide vs. standard now but that shouldn't matter).

    Now it gets complicated. :D And to be completely honest, I've got no idea what you're talking about. :D:p

    As mentioned before, I'm testing the system right now.
    Another clean install of OS X might have done the job (kind of). This time, I installed the OS with both cards installed. The 20/30/20 config with two displays on the 4870 and a single on the 120 works flawless now, but as soon as I connect both 20s to the 120, it lags again on both 20s.
    The system is still 10.6.3, but I'm updating right now to check whether the update screwed this up.

    What I'm thinking is that OS X might have a problem with various display configurations. Reason for this being the fact that the OS remembers every display that has ever been connected. Given that I plugged all displays randomly to either card, this might have screwed this up (again).

    Anyway, in case that it stays this way (2 on the 4870 and one on the 120) after I finish re-installing all my other hardware and software (including the OS update), I'll definitely not touch it again.

    Edit: All right. OS update to 10.6.4 results in lags of the second screen on the 4870 again. Boy am I pissed. Clean install again, hey!
     
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #13
    Give this a shot, and see what happens between 10.6.3 and 10.6.4 as well.

    I know it's a PITA, but it's thorough, and arms you with more information to help narrow things down at worst.

    Off hand, I don't either, as I spend my time under Windows (primary OS), or Linux (secondary OS). :eek: :p

    Think of a marathon; the distance run = memory capacity. Now imagine the runner is starting further down the route (this is an offset in computer terms). As a result, the distance run is shorter now, which is equivalent to less memory available on the card.

    You end up with unused memory the system's not aware of, because the starting location was moved away from where it should have been (base address = beginning memory location) in order to use the entire memory capacity.

    Hope this makes sense.

    Keep me posted, as there's possibly other configurations that will need to be tested.

    BTW, a clone of a bare-bones OS would be a good idea (single graphics card, one monitor would help). Restore the clone between tests (should help with the display settings that get logged in a configuration file somewhere <"remembered">).

    Ouch.

    You're going to have to spend some time on this (potentially have to test out every possible configuration). Not fun, but you'll get there.

    I've a feeling it may mean you have to roll back OS X to 10.6.3 with what you've posted so far, but the testing isn't complete. So this could easily change. :rolleyes: ;)

    Good luck (hopefully you've the weekend available to do this). :)
     
  14. codymac, Nov 5, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010

    codymac macrumors 6502

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    #14
    How? I see that you've connected your MacBook to it and it works, but have you completely eliminated it from the Mac Pro while three displays are connected? (Can you beg/borrow a display that you can connect without it to test?)

    With what you've tried so far, I see the possibility of either card interaction causing issues or the miniDP adapter causing the card(s) to go "wonky" for some reason, either of which may or may not result from an update.

    You still gotta try the 120 alone, if you haven't yet.
    ;)

    Probably want to keep a spreadsheet or some notes of the test configurations and results (and post them). Off the top of my head, I'm already close to a dozen possible combinations with at least two displays hooked up (and that doesn't count the miniDP adapter).

    FWIW, I'm running three displays on two Nvidia cards (9600 & 9800) on a fully up to date hackintosh and don't experience the issues you're describing. All are connected via DVI and I can move them around as I please with no adverse affects.
     
  15. Transporteur thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #15
    It does. :)

    Yeah, tell me about it. Normally I keep several bootable backups of my systems, but right now I don't have the resources to do so. Bummer.

    Actually, I was mistaken to say that I'm back to 10.6.3. The system disc which shipped with my Pro is 10.6, so this is what I'm testing with.

    Well, the displays work with the miniDP adapter on several cards on OS X and Windows, but the table below should clear things up.

    Excellent idea!

    Done and ready for the analysis. :D

    So here we go, I know the results are more than odd, but that's what it is. :eek:

    [​IMG]

    I think I've got every possible configuration covered there.

    What I read out of that table is that the problem is based on the portrait mode. Whereas in 10.6 only the GT120 has a problem with it, 10.6.4 doesn't like the portrait mode on both cards.
    Going to non-portrait all the way is no option for me since I've paid a fortune for those 20 inchers.

    Since you can't really do any driver related work in OS X, I think I stay with 10.6 and two displays on the 4870 plus a single on the GT120. Eventually 10.6.5 solves the graphics problems of 10.6.4 (after searching the Apple forums, there are several people having graphics problems with this OS version).
     
  16. Transporteur thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #16
    I just updated to 10.6.5 and the problem is still present, once the display connected via miniDP to DVI (no matter which graphics card), is rotated to portrait, the animations on that screen start to lag.

    I've got no idea what Apple changed from 10.6 (which I'm playing back in right now) to later versions of OS X, but it renders my screen setup pretty much useless. :mad:
     
  17. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #17
    I have badly noticeable lag when I use my Mac Mini with a monitor in portrait mode, and it uses a completely different GPU than you have (ATI x1600 I think).

    I haven't tried my MP/5770 in portrait, but I'd assume at this point that portrait mode in OS X is messed up.
     
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #18
    Ouch. :(

    ActionableMango's comment seems to be the case (somewhere in the graphics driver, likely due to code that keeps getting recycled).

    BTW, when did it start showing the problem?
    Might be useful to others as well as in a bug report (might want to find others with this problem and send as many reports as possible to get some attention for the issue).
     
  19. Transporteur thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #19
    I can't really narrow it down to a specific OS version since I don't have any clones of 10.6.1 to 10.6.3. The software update skips these old versions and goes directly to the most recent one (bummer!).

    Maybe it is the graphics cards I use that don't get any further support by Apple (wouldn't surprise me to be honest).
    Would be great if someone else with a triple screen setup could check if portrait mode (in any configuration) actually works on the new cards (5770/5870).
     
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #20
    That sucks. :(

    I guess if you were willing to find out you could (update one at a time, clone, and test between each), but it would be a lot of work. So if you're unwilling, I completely understand. ;) :p

    Hopefully someone can help you out.

    As per support, it's possible they've dropped the HD4870 and GT120 already. Especially given recent trends, such as dropping OS support for features that actually work, such as with the iPhone 3G.

    But I truly hope not, as that's way too soon IMO (combined with the fact that they don't offer many choices to begin with, and are slow to release them; HD5870 certainly comes to mind....).
     
  21. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    #21
    I can test the 5770 in portrait this weekend, but I only have one screen.
     
  22. Transporteur thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #22
    :D I am indeed. I'd rather buy a 5770 and test it with 10.6.5. If even that doesn't solve the problem, 10.6 seems to be my OS of choice (even though it has some issues such like volume control).

    I sure don't hope that as well, but the times in which Apple supported "old" hardware have been over for years. Maybe they will realise that people can't drop $5000 on a new workstation every year, but then again I think that they won't stay in this market that long. ;)

    That would be great, although with a single display, both the 120 and 4870 run well with a portrait display, the problem arises when two displays are connected.
    Which connection does your display use? DVI?
     
  23. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    #23
    Yeah, I know. It's all I can do though. Well, I suppose I could buy two MDP to HDMI adapters, then hook up my girlfriend's monitor, and drag my big screen TV into the office for a third display... but I don't like you that much. :)

    DVI to a 24" Dell Ultrasharp 1920x1200x60
     
  24. Transporteur thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #24
    :eek::(

    :p
    I'm looking forward to your result in portrait mode, although I'm almost certain that there won't be a problem with both 10.6.4 and .5.
     
  25. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #25
    Neither do I. :(

    The market's getting too expensive for enthusiasts to stay in the MP line (people may like OS X, but there's limits to what they will/can spend), and the market share is shrinking as a result.

    And if the loss of the XServe line isn't a major clue, then I don't know else is... ;) :p

    She might do you in if you did (horns, fangs, and tail sprout, pitchfork materializes out of no where, breathes fire ... next scene: the neighbor stumbles across the carnage and has to dial 999). :eek: :D :p
     

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