Virtual PC slower on 1.5GHz PowerBook than old 1GHz SDRAM eMac

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by bradz_id, Sep 30, 2004.

  1. bradz_id macrumors member

    Nov 16, 2002
    Tasmania, Australia

    My old machine was a 1GHz eMac (Radeon 7500 model) with 768MB RAM, Mac OS X 10.2.8 and Virtual PC 6.1

    On this machine, I set up a Virtual PC with 384MB RAM, 16MB VRAM, no networking, no USB and no dock integration. I installed Windows XP onto a 5GB fixed size image on a defragmented drive (from using TechTool Pro 4) so that 5GB is not fragmented in any way. I then installed Service Pack 1 for Windows XP then I tweaked the windows side of things a bit for a bit more performance then I installed Virtual PC additions. Whenever I use Virtual PC, I quit everything else, even Finder for maximum performance. This system ran perfectly and when I went to System Information in Windows, it read the processor at about 535MHz each time.

    My new machine is a 15" PowerBook G4 with 512MB DDR333, Radeon Mobility 9700 with 128MB VRAM and a 60GB Hitachi 7200RPM hard drive. It runs Mac OS X 10.3.5 and Virtual PC 6.1.1. Processor Performance is on Highest and it is always plugged into the power when I use Virtual PC.

    On this machine, I set up a Virtual PC in exactly the same way as the other machine, but with 288MB RAM and Windows XP Service Pack 2, rather than 1. In this System, it seems slower and the Processor reads 285MHz in System Information.

    Does anybody know why this is or what I am doing wrong?
  2. brap macrumors 68000

    May 10, 2004
    Well - if you're just using system information as a guide beware, the clock speed changes dynamically to suit. Download a copy of H-ODA's WCPUID (or whatever the new one's called) and look at the realtime clock checker in there.

    Memory - quantity over quality, I'm afraid. And why on earth are you using Windows XP?! Lay your hands on NT4 or 2000, and you'll see a marked improvement. Also, the dynamically expanding drive (if you're using it) adds yet more disk overhead to an alreay slow subsystem. Streamline it - get rid of all the processing tasks you don't require like OS eyecandy. It's not so hard to do, and afterward it will feel very snappy.
  3. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Methinks the smaller amount of physical RAM in the PowerBook is the problem (but it is just a SWAG).

    Most likely you are running into the OS X's Virtual Memory manager and are having quite a few pageouts, and it's running into a bunch of memory page swaps to the HD.

    Something that'll make a faster system with less memory, a whole heck of a lot slower that a high memory lower clocked OS X machine.
  4. vga4life macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2004
    brap has good advice to which I'd add you should consider buying more RAM for that powerbook. 1 GB SODIMMS are down to ~$150, or so I hear.

    Create a new virtual pc image with a fixed-size drive, 512 MB RAM (once you've upgraded the PB's ram, of course), and run Win98se or Win2k. You'll find it much snappier.

  5. atari1356 macrumors 68000


    Feb 27, 2004
    One thing to try if you haven't already:

    1. Open System Preferences

    2. Click on Energy Saver

    3. Click on the "Options" tab

    4. Go to the Processor Performance pulldown and select "Highest"

    I've found that to be better than the "Automatic" setting when running processor intensive things like Garageband and games.
  6. bradz_id thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 16, 2002
    Tasmania, Australia
    I only ever use Virtual PC after a fresh restart then quitting Finder. I have allready disabled half of my startup items in OS X and it only has what it needs to run. In activity monitor, there is plenty of free physical RAM. I have a 5GB fixed size drive image. I agree, dynamically expanding sux! Once you disable a lot of useless crap and tweak Windows XP a bit, it is actually much the same as windows 2000. I just have a retail version of Windows XP so i don't want to go buying any more.

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