Why is Safari such a heavy beast on my 12-core Mac Pro?

PowerMac G4 MDD

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Hi,

So, I have noticed that Safari has gotten a great deal heavier in recent years. What stood out to me the most, though, is how exceptionally poorly it performs on my Mac Pro - especially after I upgraded it to a '5,1' and put in dual hex-core CPUs. I have 32GB of RAM and a PCIe-SSD as my boot volume, so I definitely don't need to worry about a browser taking up too much RAM or being slow to function in itself.

Anyway, the moment I open up Safari and try to type into the URL bar, it gives me a moment of typing lag, and it doesn't render pages as quickly as it should. I'm on 90/90 Ethernet w/ 1ms ping. Obviously not gigabit, but still fast. I take this as a performance issue with Safari - not with my computer or internet. Other than that lag, I also have typing and scrolling lag (very bad) on sites such as Facebook; and what's odd is that my Core 2 Duo 2009 MacBook Pro seems to do better on sites like that.

So, I've come to my own conclusion that Safari is very GPU-heavy, but that is NOT to say that I believe one needs a good GPU in their system. I think it has to do with the GPU being genuine and receiving stock Apple drivers. My own GPU in my 2009 Mac Pro is a non-flashed GTX 660, which performs somewhat dismally under the heavy stress of El Capitan, Apple's more recent bloated operating system. My 660 is fine under Windows (of course), and browsing in Windows is extremely fast and zippy. I'm not just talking about loading times - I am referring to the browser itself and how it responds.

Is the modern Safari just way too GPU-depedent?
 
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rawweb

macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2015
918
636
Hi,

So, I have noticed that Safari has gotten a great deal heavier in recent years. What stood out to me the most, though, is how exceptionally poorly it performs on my Mac Pro - especially after I upgraded it to a '5,1' and put in dual hex-core CPUs. I have 32GB of RAM and a PCIe-SSD as my boot volume, so I definitely don't need to worry about a browser taking up too much RAM or being slow to function in itself.

Anyway, the moment I open up Safari and try to type into the URL bar, it gives me a moment of typing lag, and it doesn't render pages as quickly as it should. I'm on 90/90 Ethernet w/ 1ms ping. Obviously not gigabit, but still fast. I take this as a performance issue with Safari - not with my computer or internet. Other than that lag, I also have typing and scrolling lag (very bad) on sites such as Facebook; and what's odd is that my Core 2 Duo 2009 MacBook Pro seems to do better on sites like that.

So, I've come to my own conclusion that Safari is very GPU-heavy, but that is NOT to say that I believe one needs a good GPU in their system. I think it has to do with the GPU being genuine and receiving stock Apple drivers. My own GPU in my 2009 Mac Pro is a non-flashed GTX 660, which performs somewhat dismally under the heavy stress of El Capitan, Apple's more recent bloated operating system. My 660 is fine under Windows (of course), and browsing in Windows is extremely fast and zippy. I'm not just talking about loading times - I am referring to the browser itself and how it responds.

Is the modern Safari just way too GPU-depedent?
Don't know if I would make that assumption, or draw those conclusions...I mean, for crying out loud, people run Safari without issue on the 12" MacBook. What OS are you running, El Cap? Is it a clean install?
 
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bernuli

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2011
616
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I think it is because Safari is written for the newer CPUs, and I would be surprised if Apple multithreaded it.

Although, I was using Safari the other day in store on a current macbook pro, and found it sluggish. Probably just as you expect, too much code.

Still it would be worth logging on as a new user under macOS and seeing how it does on your Mac Pro
 

PowerMac G4 MDD

macrumors 68000
Original poster
I think it was my installation + existing Safari (with its existing cache) bogging things down. Odd, though, because OSX installations are generally persistent. This ain't Windows.

Only making a new account greatly helped out Safari (of course, I'm not doing a fresh installation until I have the time to deal with all that).

Lastly, however, simply upgrading to Sierra and having the new Safari has helped this issue out on my current account. Both Sierra and Safari 10 are more efficient than El Capitan and Safari 9.
[doublepost=1486601291][/doublepost]
Are you sure your nvidia driver is installed and working?

That's exactly how mine performs with no nvidia web driver.
My machine basically preforms the same with or without the Nvidia web driver being used. Either way, my card isn't flashed, so it doesn't perform as well as it should.

I could attribute certain slow-downs to my card, but I guess it's mostly that my Safari - in this account and on this installation - is simply bogged-down. Safari 10 on a new account is just fine. At that point, it's ONLY my GPU slowing things down.
 

Slash-2CPU

macrumors 6502
Dec 14, 2016
380
254
Either way, my card isn't flashed, so it doesn't perform as well as it should.
Flashing GPU's only really enables the boot screen; performance once drivers are loaded should be identical(at least as far as I understand it).

Check that WebGL is enabled under Safari Preferences->Security.
 

Ph.D.

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
548
465
Are other browsers similarly slow?

The problem with the intertubes these days are the web sites, which the browsers are forced to try to keep up with. Every site is designed by a team of geek engineers whose goal is to pack in as much unnecessary chrome (fancy but useless cr*p), trackers, auto-loading trash, etc., as possible regardless of its impact on performance, just because it's "cool" (in the eyes of geek engineers) or feeds the wants of third parties, etc. The browsers then have to try to cope with and compensate for all the malicious and/or eggregious cr*p by sandboxing, etc., which destroys performance. You can fight back to a degree by using various blockers.

That said, my I7 linux box with a GTX 1070 is vastly faster at loading and rendering pages than my 3,1 with a 280X.
 

bernuli

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2011
616
349
Are other browsers similarly slow?

The problem with the intertubes these days are the web sites, which the browsers are forced to try to keep up with. Every site is designed by a team of geek engineers whose goal is to pack in as much unnecessary chrome (fancy but useless cr*p), trackers, auto-loading trash, etc., as possible regardless of its impact on performance, just because it's "cool" (in the eyes of geek engineers) or feeds the wants of third parties, etc. The browsers then have to try to cope with and compensate for all the malicious and/or eggregious cr*p by sandboxing, etc., which destroys performance. You can fight back to a degree by using various blockers.

That said, my I7 linux box with a GTX 1070 is vastly faster at loading and rendering pages than my 3,1 with a 280X.

This is so true! When I used to do websites my #1 goal was fast loading with minimal bandwidth. I don't see anyone doing that now.

Sites like apc.com are particularly annoying where it takes 5-10 seconds to load a product page when it should be 1 second or less IMO.
 

azentropy

macrumors 68020
Jul 19, 2002
2,427
1,583
Surprise
I've had the same issue with Safari on my 12-core as well. One area I really notice it is typing/replying in forums like this. What is odd is that I also use Safari technology preview and have no such lag issue. One day I really need to sit down and take some time to figure it out.
 

Auggie

macrumors 6502
Jan 21, 2017
288
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I think it was my installation + existing Safari (with its existing cache) bogging things down. Odd, though, because OSX installations are generally persistent. This ain't Windows.
Unfortunately, my experience with OS X has shown that corruption is now more prevalent than before that has caused severe performance degradation, stability, GUI glitches, and/or annoying irritation with settings not persisting. My only recourse has been a completely clean install with NO migration whatsoever; meaning, I had to manually reinstall applications, reset all my preferences, re-enter registrations/serializations/accounts.

I've had to do this now with almost every major OS X iteration going back probably to at least Mavericks. In fact, I had to do a fresh install with Sierra 10.12.3 after aggravations with preference settings. And I will probably do it again to confirm that my Finder window settings of the Application and Utilities folders still doesn't persist across restarts (these folders always open in List View, 16 point (normal text size should be 12, and I want these folders to default to Icon view).

The days of maintaining the same underlying settings, preferences, applications through OS X upgrades for me has long since passed with my new reality that it really is becoming more Windows-like in that sense (but I won't ever abandon OS X so long as Apple Inc remains in business).

Anyways, original 2012 5,1 2x3.46 with stock 5770 and haven't experienced any performance issues with Safari whatsoever in Sierra, El Capitan, and Yosemite (multiple CLEAN OS installs on different drives).
 
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pastrychef

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Sep 15, 2006
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Unfortunately, my experience with OS X has shown that corruption is now more prevalent than before that has caused severe performance degradation, stability, GUI glitches, and/or annoying irritation with settings not persisting. My only recourse has been a completely clean install with NO migration whatsoever; meaning, I had to manually reinstall applications, reset all my preferences, re-enter registrations/serializations/accounts.

I've had to do this now with almost every major OS X iteration going back probably to at least Mavericks. In fact, I had to do a fresh install with Sierra 10.12.3 after aggravations with preference settings. And I will probably do it again to confirm that my Finder window settings of the Application and Utilities folders still doesn't persist across restarts (these folders always open in List View, 16 point (normal text size should be 12, and I want these folders to default to Icon view).

The days of maintaining the same underlying settings, preferences, applications through OS X upgrades for me has long since passed with my new reality that it really is becoming more Windows-like in that sense (but I won't ever abandon OS X so long as Apple Inc remains in business).

Anyways, original 2012 5,1 2x3.46 with stock 5770 and haven't experienced any performance issues with Safari whatsoever in Sierra, El Capitan, and Yosemite (multiple CLEAN OS installs on different drives).
Holy moly!! That's pretty insane. When do you find time to actually use your Macs?!?

I haven't done a clean install since my transition from PowerPC to Intel which was about a decade ago. I didn't even do a clean install when I switched from my MacPro5,1 to a hackintosh.

If I had to do a clean install for each minor macOS update of which there are 3-4 a year, I would seriously be looking for another OS to use. Ether that or I would make one clean install with all my apps, clone it, and put it aside. Then only boot to it when it's time to do an OS update and repeat putting a clone of this clean OS aside. For me, the amount of time re-installing all the apps we use and looking for/re-entering all the serials/keys is just too much of a PITA to do so often.
 

Auggie

macrumors 6502
Jan 21, 2017
288
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If I had to do a clean install for each minor macOS update of which there are 3-4 a year, I would seriously be looking for another OS to use.
Well, it's not every minor update; but typically something goes awry during the full term life cycle of a major version (e.g. sometime during the evolution of El Capitan for instance) that I haven't been able to resolve unless I did a clean install with no migration (a Migration Assistant move would propagate the issue). As I mentioned earlier, it began I believe with Mavericks on my 2008 MP, but it may be even earlier than that, such as Lion. Even though I upgraded the existing system all the way up to Yosemite, I did a clean install/no migration when I finally installed an SSD as my primary boot volume, but kept the original Yosemite on the now backup boot volume. Eventually I bit the bullet and did a clean install and manual app install/pref resets on that hard drive when it just became too unbearable booting and dealing with that mucked up system (it's still on Yosemite, BTW).

I don't think I had any problems during Yosemite's life cycle, but I did have to do a clean install somewhere along the evolution path of El Capitan. Then again somewhere early on with Sierra (this is still with my 2008 MP).

I recently got my 2012 5,1 and did a clean install of Sierra 12.3 and now I'm experiencing that irritating aforementioned problem with my Application and Utilities folders not abiding by my view settings across restarts (as I have an Apple 27" I want my Finder window settings to be a certain way and individually customized).

Now, I must qualify these problems I'm experiencing with the fact that I've been on the Apple OS seed program since Yosemite, though I can't recall the problems occurring during a beta version (the problems, IIRC, would manifest during a "release" version, but I never did a "clean" install after a beta cycle nor made a separate "test" system because I just would not use a separate test system enough to come across bugs; it had to be my "live" production system).

Could it be an issue with one my essential gaggle of apps and utilities that I always install? Or a very obscure hardware issue with my EVO 850 2TB SSD I had in my 2008 then moved to my 2012 (erased entire contents and did clean install) that leads to corruption? Perhaps.
 
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haralds

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2014
1,211
363
Silicon Valley, CA
Hi,

So, I have noticed that Safari has gotten a great deal heavier in recent years. What stood out to me the most, though, is how exceptionally poorly it performs on my Mac Pro - especially after I upgraded it to a '5,1' and put in dual hex-core CPUs. I have 32GB of RAM and a PCIe-SSD as my boot volume, so I definitely don't need to worry about a browser taking up too much RAM or being slow to function in itself.

Anyway, the moment I open up Safari and try to type into the URL bar, it gives me a moment of typing lag, and it doesn't render pages as quickly as it should. I'm on 90/90 Ethernet w/ 1ms ping. Obviously not gigabit, but still fast. I take this as a performance issue with Safari - not with my computer or internet. Other than that lag, I also have typing and scrolling lag (very bad) on sites such as Facebook; and what's odd is that my Core 2 Duo 2009 MacBook Pro seems to do better on sites like that.

So, I've come to my own conclusion that Safari is very GPU-heavy, but that is NOT to say that I believe one needs a good GPU in their system. I think it has to do with the GPU being genuine and receiving stock Apple drivers. My own GPU in my 2009 Mac Pro is a non-flashed GTX 660, which performs somewhat dismally under the heavy stress of El Capitan, Apple's more recent bloated operating system. My 660 is fine under Windows (of course), and browsing in Windows is extremely fast and zippy. I'm not just talking about loading times - I am referring to the browser itself and how it responds.

Is the modern Safari just way too GPU-depedent?
I am seeing the same decline. Part of it is that they run each Safari tab in its own sandbox. In many ways, this is like running multiple instances of Safari. It's a memory hog despite shared code. I see a lot more beach balling on all systems, which might be caused by blocking TCP threads. When you type, the autocorrect also takes its toll. It do see it worse on my 4GB MacBook Air.
Do not pin tabs. It looks like they all stay open.
 
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PowerMac G4 MDD

macrumors 68000
Original poster
I've had the same issue with Safari on my 12-core as well. One area I really notice it is typing/replying in forums like this. What is odd is that I also use Safari technology preview and have no such lag issue. One day I really need to sit down and take some time to figure it out.
Exactly! I get lag when typing within Facebook and such. Also, when I first open Safari, it takes some time for me to be able to type into the search bar, lag-free. I have a feeling that having a better (and flashed) GPU would make this a little less painful.

That having been said, I actually ended up making a new user on the side, to see if it was just that my own user was bogged down. Whelp, it looks like Safari performs much better on that user; however, it's still not performing as well as Chrome does in Windows 7. However, otherwise, lots of the lag has been cut down. It feels as fast or faster than the Safari Tech Preview does on my main user.

I really gotta do a fresh installation sometime. It's just annoying to do because, since I want it to be VERY fresh, I'm probably going to have to re-do lots of preferences and such. Migrating my user back on wouldn't make sense for me, as the base installation isn't all that's at fault.
[doublepost=1488526796][/doublepost]
Flashing GPU's only really enables the boot screen; performance once drivers are loaded should be identical(at least as far as I understand it).

Check that WebGL is enabled under Safari Preferences->Security.
A non-flashed GPU may not perform 100%. This thing should be much better in OSX than it is now.
 
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howiest

macrumors 6502
Aug 16, 2015
302
119
Left Coast
Hmmm, I'm not seeing the same lag issues in OS 10.12.3 with my lower spec Mac Pro. Although I do religiously delete unimportant cookies daily, and I delete the Safari cache once a week or so. (using the app, Cookie)
I have a 4 GB GTX680 (flashed) but I don't really think that Safari is depending on the video card that heavily with the majority of web pages..
I also only run a couple of extensions, uBlock Origin and Stylish.

I must say though, installing Samsung 840 and 850 EVO SSD's (quite a while back now) made this Mac Pro a smooth and responsive machine. When I boot from a WD Black clone HD to perform maintenance routines, I'm reminded that there's simply no going back to mechanical HD's for every day use. Just not happening.
 

steveOooo

macrumors 6502a
Jun 30, 2008
737
89
UK
I've probably done 2-3 clean installs of el crapitan one instance I had a beach ball for 5-10mins when starting up safari (or 'wadding through African tiger dung') so try that
 

Chicane-UK

macrumors 6502
Apr 26, 2008
431
970
It's interesting you mention this, as I'm not sure if it's just me, but are browsers getting steadily more lardy and slow in the last 12-24 months or so?

I built myself a pretty decent, high performance home PC a few months back - i7 6700K, 16GB RAM, (decent) SSD storage throughout, high end GPU yet somehow the browser is still regularly freezing up on my machine. I find this repeated across multiple browsers on multiple platforms / computers both at work and home - Edge and Firefox on Windows, Safari and Firefox on OSX.

Overall I currently find Safari one of the quickest if I'm honest. Edge is OK if it's been fully shutdown and restarted but any time you've had the browser open a couple of days and opened and closed multiple tabs, it gets really stodgy. Firefox feels like it's getting consistently slower too.

I do think Flash may have a lot to answer for. Need to try completely disabling it and seeing if it makes a difference.
 

PowerMac G4 MDD

macrumors 68000
Original poster
It's interesting you mention this, as I'm not sure if it's just me, but are browsers getting steadily more lardy and slow in the last 12-24 months or so?

I built myself a pretty decent, high performance home PC a few months back - i7 6700K, 16GB RAM, (decent) SSD storage throughout, high end GPU yet somehow the browser is still regularly freezing up on my machine. I find this repeated across multiple browsers on multiple platforms / computers both at work and home - Edge and Firefox on Windows, Safari and Firefox on OSX.

Overall I currently find Safari one of the quickest if I'm honest. Edge is OK if it's been fully shutdown and restarted but any time you've had the browser open a couple of days and opened and closed multiple tabs, it gets really stodgy. Firefox feels like it's getting consistently slower too.

I do think Flash may have a lot to answer for. Need to try completely disabling it and seeing if it makes a difference.
The issues you are having may be related to your boot disk. Do you use an HDD as your boot disk, or are you using an SSD? Things shouldn't be terrible, with an HDD, but an SSD is way better.
[doublepost=1488708908][/doublepost]
Hmmm, I'm not seeing the same lag issues in OS 10.12.3 with my lower spec Mac Pro. Although I do religiously delete unimportant cookies daily, and I delete the Safari cache once a week or so. (using the app, Cookie)
I have a 4 GB GTX680 (flashed) but I don't really think that Safari is depending on the video card that heavily with the majority of web pages..
I also only run a couple of extensions, uBlock Origin and Stylish.

I must say though, installing Samsung 840 and 850 EVO SSD's (quite a while back now) made this Mac Pro a smooth and responsive machine. When I boot from a WD Black clone HD to perform maintenance routines, I'm reminded that there's simply no going back to mechanical HD's for every day use. Just not happening.
I agree. On my main machine, I'd never be able to go back to an HDD. While my '09 did feel properly fast enough on an HDD, it benefited greatly from my SATA SSD (which began its life in my 2006 Mac Pro). By now, I have a PCI-e SSD as my boot disk, which is even faster. I replaced my Windows HDD with the SATA SSD, and now all my boot drives = some type of SSD. Only my backups and such are stored on HDDs.

*sigh* I guess I should empty my cache more frequently, but also just re-install the OS completely. Perhaps I do this during the summer. It would be much easier. Perhaps I can just keep my Safari passwords off to the side, and maybe I can import them later. As I mentioned above, I'm likely going to add things back manually, save for maybe the applications. If I use Migration Assistant and bring too many things over, I'll pretty much have the same bogged-down user once again.
 
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smirking

macrumors 68030
Aug 31, 2003
2,626
2,288
Silicon Valley
Is the modern Safari just way too GPU-depedent?
I don't know enough about the technical aspects of this kind of thing to answer that question, but I can share my experiences upgrading from a mid-2012 MBP Unibody running El Capitan to a maxed 15" 2016 Touchbar MBP.

So far Safari on my mid-2012 is smoking the experience on my shiny new 2016. My 2016 is much faster at rendering pages, but it takes several times longer thanmy 2012 to autocomplete URLs, usernames, passwords, etc. Part of this probably has to do with some issues with the Keychain app. That program is 10x slower on my new MBP than my old one and Safari is accessing Keychain data all the time.

If everything is slower going from a somewhat outdated 2012 MBP to a max spec 2016, I don't think the GPU is the main culprit. I'd guess it's primarily a software issue.
 
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h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
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Hong Kong
I don't know enough about the technical aspects of this kind of thing to answer that question, but I can share my experiences upgrading from a mid-2012 MBP Unibody running El Capitan to a maxed 15" 2016 Touchbar MBP.

So far Safari on my mid-2012 is smoking the experience on my shiny new 2016. My 2016 is much faster at rendering pages, but it takes several times longer thanmy 2012 to autocomplete URLs, usernames, passwords, etc. Part of this probably has to do with some issues with the Keychain app. That program is 10x slower on my new MBP than my old one and Safari is accessing Keychain data all the time.

If everything is slower going from a somewhat outdated 2012 MBP to a max spec 2016, I don't think the GPU is the main culprit. I'd guess it's primarily a software issue.
Possible iCloud issue. Did you try to use keychain only, but not iCloud Keychain?
 

Zenithal

macrumors G3
Sep 10, 2009
9,658
10,791
Ah. Mr. Neiman Marcus! So good to see you again.

From the sounds of it, you may have to disable hardware acceleration in Safari. Older GPUs can wreck havoc with modernized systems. They're not just a bottleneck in games anymore. Certain extensions can also slow down your browser. Try Chrome x64 and see how it behaves. Your GPU's nVidia software should also come with a power mode if it's anything like the Windows configurator.
 
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