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alels

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 2, 2020
21
11
I'm thoroughly impressed with my 8gb/7gpu MBA. It runs tons of apps/windows at the same time and switches across then with zero effort. It launches apps almost instantly, etc.
The one thing that's not quite there seems to be the simpler task of scrolling, be it a web page, mail app, etc. For me it's more pronounced while using eclipse, but that's an x86 app so I'm happy to wait. However there doesn't seem to be any app with truly smooth scrolling, especially the first and last few frames of a scroll action look a bit choppy. I haven't used MacOS since 2012, so there may be a setting that I'm missing, or a big sur thing? Not a deal breaker but seeing how refined everything else is, this surprised me some. I'm sure part of this is being spoiled by 120hz on the iPad, but things like dragging windows around on the m1 feel fine, it's just the page scrolls that seem lacking
 
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Gnattu

macrumors 65816
Sep 18, 2020
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1,402
I haven't used MacOS since 2012
Then you have not used any Macs with Retina display I guess. If you have used some of the Intel based Macs with a Retina display, and without discrete GPU, you will definitely notice the scrolling is way better on M1 than it is on Intel.
Some applications have hard time handling scrolling across platform, no matter Intel or Apple.
 
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alels

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 2, 2020
21
11
Then you have not used any Macs with Retina display I guess. If you have used some of the Intel based Macs with a Retina display, and without discrete GPU, you will definitely notice the scrolling is way better on M1 than it is on Intel.
Some applications have hard time handling scrolling across platform, no matter Intel or Apple.
So when you say it's way better, is that saying you're seeing the same behavior in yours? ie, it's better than before, but still not great? Even on safari, I can't say it's smooth
 

Krevnik

macrumors 601
Sep 8, 2003
4,100
1,310
The “trick” to smooth scrolling is very responsive redrawing of content in the scrolled view, to the point where you can not only do that drawing work 60 times a second, but also have latency below 1/60th of a second.

Retina displays make things tougher, since you’re drawing 4x the pixels in the same amount of time. Some tricks on Apple’s end of things help, but no matter what, this hurts latency and gives you a smaller window to get your redrawing of content done.

Every app has to implement this on its own, and optimization of this stuff may not be easy, depending on what you are doing. Older projects in particular, or ones built on the Win32 C APIs, can have a hard time adapting to Apple’s drawing APIs on OS X, and lose efficiency that way. Having to read data from disk or the network during a draw update can certainly kill performance in many cases. Optimizing image caches is a whole thing that I’ve personally had to deal with a few times.

Web browsers like Safari/WebKit use some interesting tile-based rendering to cut down on latency, but web pages are complex beasts these days, so even the web page itself has to be well optimized to get good performance out of it. Generally web developers focus on load speed, and general “user clicked a thing, how long did it take to respond” type performance. Scroll/draw performance in particular tends to be way down there on the list of priorities.
 

Gnattu

macrumors 65816
Sep 18, 2020
1,027
1,402
So when you say it's way better, is that saying you're seeing the same behavior in yours? ie, it's better than before, but still not great? Even on safari, I can't say it's smooth
It is smooth to my eyes.
What website do you experience "not smooth" on Safari?
I got lots frame drops on Intel when I'm scrolling in Music App with tons of Album Artworks, but I cannot notice that on M1 Mac, such behavior is what I mean by "way better".
I cannot define the "perfect scrolling" for your eyes as everyone has different perception.
 

jerryk

macrumors 604
Nov 3, 2011
7,418
4,207
SF Bay Area
I'm thoroughly impressed with my 8gb/7gpu MBA. It runs tons of apps/windows at the same time and switches across then with zero effort. It launches apps almost instantly, etc.
The one thing that's not quite there seems to be the simpler task of scrolling, be it a web page, mail app, etc. For me it's more pronounced while using eclipse, but that's an x86 app so I'm happy to wait. However there doesn't seem to be any app with truly smooth scrolling, especially the first and last few frames of a scroll action look a bit choppy. I haven't used MacOS since 2012, so there may be a setting that I'm missing, or a big sur thing? Not a deal breaker but seeing how refined everything else is, this surprised me some. I'm sure part of this is being spoiled by 120hz on the iPad, but things like dragging windows around on the m1 feel fine, it's just the page scrolls that seem lacking

I am assuming you are using the on-device screen and not a monitor. Is that correct?

The on-device screen refresh rate is 60Hz so it will not be as smooth as an iPad Pro. But, most people barely notice the difference. Perhaps you are more sensitive to it. You might also check the refresh rate in the Display settings. I think, but am not sure, they may change if you set the screen to different resolutions.
 

Hiredgoon6

macrumors member
Jan 21, 2019
40
28
It's probably lack of optimization in MacOs.

I've been testing an M1 Air vs. 2018 iPad Pro 12.9. Having retina resolution is irrelevant because the iPad has a higher resolution but its scrolling is buttery smooth. The Air chokes while scrolling on medium websites and on large PDFs and apps like OneNote. The iPad is astoundingly smooth in these basic tasks. We're talking about the 2 year old A12X vs. the latest M1 so you'd expect the Air to fly.

I also have the M1 Pro in for testing. Scrolling on it is noticeably smoother than on the Air. Maybe it's the extra GPU core? Who knows, just wanted to share my findings.
 

acidfast7_redux

Suspended
Nov 10, 2020
567
521
uk
I don't use iPads or tablets (other than my Xiaomi phone being a phablet.)

I scroll between 8 and 14h most days and don't notice a problem.
 

CMMChris

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2019
850
793
Germany (Bavaria)
Haven't faced scrolling performance issues either. The M1 actually feels a tad smoother than my Radeon VII powered Hackintosh when scrolling large sites in Safari. And the difference between my old retina MBP Mid 2014 is night and day.
 

acidfast7_redux

Suspended
Nov 10, 2020
567
521
uk
Haven't faced scrolling performance issues either. The M1 actually feels a tad smoother than my Radeon VII powered Hackintosh when scrolling large sites in Safari. And the difference between my old retina MBP Mid 2014 is night and day.
Yeah. I should state the my m1 replaced a broken ealry-2013 rMBP.
 

Krevnik

macrumors 601
Sep 8, 2003
4,100
1,310
I am assuming you are using the on-device screen and not a monitor. Is that correct?

The on-device screen refresh rate is 60Hz so it will not be as smooth as an iPad Pro. But, most people barely notice the difference. Perhaps you are more sensitive to it. You might also check the refresh rate in the Display settings. I think, but am not sure, they may change if you set the screen to different resolutions.

The M1 mini I received is hooked up to a 3840x1600 monitor and is driving it at 120Hz. Does a very good job keeping up with it in Safari.

I also have the M1 Pro in for testing. Scrolling on it is noticeably smoother than on the Air. Maybe it's the extra GPU core? Who knows, just wanted to share my findings.
It is possible, about 15% more power there, but still seems like a bit of a bug if that's the case?
 
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wyrdness

macrumors regular
Dec 2, 2008
247
268
I think that there is a slight issue with smooth scrolling in Safari. I spotted it immediately I started using my MBA. Scrolling in Mail seems perfectly smooth though.
My MBA gets stuck when scrolling YouTube comments. I see that with both the Magic Mouse and with the trackpad, though it's worse with the trackpad. Has anyone else noticed this?
 

bill-p

macrumors 68030
Jul 23, 2011
2,929
1,587
Some websites have special iPad/iPhone/Android/mobile layouts that reduce processing and resource requirements, so they are inherently lighter and more responsive on an iPad. I know this for a fact because I myself do that with my own website.

Some sites are a bit... heavier on resource usage on the desktop side. There is no way around this, and Apple cannot do anything at all to help the situation. Chief among these websites is... Facebook. Go to Facebook and scroll. Or scroll to the bottom and scroll back up to the top. Heck, even Apple is guilty of building certain websites that are hard on resources. For instance, the Mac Pro page loads a lot of images, and if you scroll too fast, scrolling will lag a bit.

So the iPad has 120Hz screen plus a lighter website overall to load. That's the reason why it'll always scroll faster than a MacBook.

P.S.: Just for the record, though, this is an industry-wide problem. I don't want to denigrate many web developers out there... but a good number of them transitioned over to web dev from non-technical backgrounds like being a photographer or designer. So they lack the foundational knowledge to better optimize their work. And honestly, it's not even their competence that's the main issue. The main issue is that many companies just want to get a website out, and as long as it looks "somewhat" close to how they mocked it up, that's good enough. They don't give a **** about performance. It makes no sense to the folks in marketing and administration that engineering has to spend 1 extra week to make a static website scrolling go from 45fps to 60fps. The end result is what you see now.

How do iPhones and iPads escape that vicious cycle? Well... for one, they're both treated like "mobile devices", so inherently, "standard practice" is to not try and do too many fancy things on them. Plus they typically have a completely different layout that's somewhat more inherently efficient than the desktop counterpart (which has to scale along with the window and then with screen resolution, by the way...).
 
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matrix07

macrumors G3
Jun 24, 2010
8,226
4,893
My MBA gets stuck when scrolling YouTube comments. I see that with both the Magic Mouse and with the trackpad, though it's worse with the trackpad. Has anyone else noticed this?
I don't have any problem scrolling YouTube comments on my Air.
 

wyrdness

macrumors regular
Dec 2, 2008
247
268
I don't have any problem scrolling YouTube comments on my Air.
Thanks, I'm not sure why mine does. I've only had this issue with YouTube and only with trackpad or Mighty Mouse. Scrolling using the keyboard is fine.
 
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