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Is Mac OS X Slow?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the it's-not-slow-for-me dept.

OS X 1229

Junks Jerzey asks: "Every time there's a mention of Mac OS X on Slashdot, there's a flurry of responses about how unbearably slow Mac OS X is. To anyone who has done software development under both Mac OS X and Windows or Linux, is there any truth to this or is it simply a knee-jerk reaction from non-Mac users who see low numbers like 800MHz. I'm talking about average priced Macs here, like the LCD iMac line, not the dual 1.25GHz machines that sell for $4500+." Having the fortune of using a Titanium Powerbook for over a month, I don't find Mac OS X that slow at all, however, there are some things that do take a little longer than I am used to, but I think these things are application-specific. For those Mac OS X users out there, have you noticed operations that seemed slower using Mac OS X compared to similar operations on other operating systems?

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HAhah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4619967)

It's fast enough for this FP!

Re:HAhah (4, Insightful)

johnpaul191 (240105) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620072)

still waiting for the windows users to post? heh

i am running an older mac... G4 400mghz running 10.2 with a gig of ram..... i think the pokeyness IS application specific for the most part. i upgraded my Rage128 card to a 7500 when i hopped to 10.2 and noticed it handles the aqua interface a lot better. there are also little things to do to zip up the OS (like under dock prefs switch from "genie" to "scale"), turn off dock magnification, don't use a 10 megapixel picture as your desktop.

obviously it's not as efficient as a very tweaked Linux or BSD box (with fast innards), but as an out of the box OS it's very usable. as always it's better running on newer machines, but i can use it on an older crt iMac G3 300mghz and not bang my head against the table. you might not want to do intense av work on that machine, but for day to day tasks (which iMacs were intended for) it will do just fine.

I would have had the first post (4, Funny)

spoot (104183) | more than 11 years ago | (#4619971)

but this damn thing is to slowwwwwwww

Answer to title. (0, Redundant)

McFly69 (603543) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620036)


Check Complete (5, Funny)

sdjunky (586961) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620046)

Your sentence.
"but this damn thing is to slowwwwwwww"
suggested grammar and spelling.
"but this damn thing is too slow"

GRAMMAR AND SPELLING CHECK COMPLETE: 15 minutes 23 seconds 67 ms

I find Mac OS X slow (4, Informative)

Adam Rightmann (609216) | more than 11 years ago | (#4619974)

but that's because most of the apps I support are only supported in Mac OS 9, so I have to wait for the OS 9 emulation window to open up, slow, slow, slow.

A good test would be with native OS X applications, compiled for OS X and not just emulating OS 9, but that's going to take a while.

Re:I find Mac OS X slow (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620020)

Mac OS X is not slow from the CPU. I'd say it is slow from the bloat, outdated ABI and emulation, which all comes down to sloppy code writing and placing marketing above quality.

Re:I find Mac OS X slow (4, Informative)

dildatron (611498) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620052)

I find it a bit slow, but I consider my hardware marginal.

I have a 500MHz G3 iBook, 384MB RAM, OS X 10.2. It is not really slow, but it is not as fast as my linux machine, a 750MHz Athlon, 640MB RAM, KDE3.

I have not yet gotten the oppertunity to use OS X on a faster machine, but I suspect on a G4 processor it would be much better. Even on my G3, it is not so slow it makes me puke, it could just be a little snappier with IE, Mozilla, and opening up a terminal.

Re:I find Mac OS X slow (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620058)

ding! what's going to take awhile? native os x apps? i run only os x native apps since os 9 is the biggest piece of crash-happy-crap i have ever booted into. Overall jaguar is pretty snappy on my ibook 700mhz. just don't resize any windows!

So load OS 9 on boot up. It's in the Classic panel (3, Informative)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620106)

It will take an extra minute to boot up but all your OS 9 apps will run immediately.

When talking about OS X 10.1 was slow on my G4 Tower 733, 10.2 is lightning fast (another reason it should have been a free upgrade to 10.1 users).

Good idea, but they're shared computers (1)

Adam Rightmann (609216) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620133)

and the others users forget to do that. I thank you for your response.

Set classic to load at login (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620117)

Then it sits idle until you need it. Startup and execution times are not noticably different on my old 400MHz iMac. About half the apps I use are still Classic apps, and I find it preferable to use OSX/Classic instead of OS9. The added bonus of not having to reboot the whole system when Word 98 hangs is worth it. Hurry up with OpenOffice already!

Re:I find Mac OS X slow (2)

Fnord (1756) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620148)

On that note, I'd be curious to see what the speed difference between Carbon and Cocoa apps are (if the dynamic typing of ObjectiveC is as big a burdon as people say it is).

Not anymore (4, Informative)

tral (223126) | more than 11 years ago | (#4619976)

OS 10.0 was unbearably slow. They improved the performance with 10.1, and 10.2 doesn't seem to have any problems.

And Speed is not the point (4, Interesting)

Faggot (614416) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620139)

When performing calculations, applying Photoshop filters, etc Macs are just as fast or faster than P4s of double the clock rate. Where Apple traded its speed is in the workings of its interface, and I think it was a good decision.

Certain things do not need to happen instantly. In addition, doing them not-instantly allows plenty of eye-candy rendering and a soft user interface. Apple has tuned their OS to be fast to the program, and soft and comfortable towards the user.

Powerbook (2, Funny)

nogoodmonkey (614350) | more than 11 years ago | (#4619977)

You should see it on my Powerbook. I have the base requirements, and it runs like Windows XP on a Pentium Pro 180.

Re:Powerbook (5, Funny)

Amarok.Org (514102) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620000)

I have the base requirements, and it runs like Windows XP

You mean it crashes all the time and sends your personal data to a marketing firm?

Re:Powerbook (2, Funny)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620024)

I have the base requirements,
Well, there's your problem.

When have any manufacturer's "base requirements" been enough for optimum use?

Is OSX slow? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4619979)


slo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4619981)

for the most part macs are slow, but often times mine will outrun me around the block...yes it's true!

I wouldn't be surprised at all if it were slower.. (0, Flamebait)

Quickening (15069) | more than 11 years ago | (#4619984)'s running a micro-bsd kernel!

HEY IM LIKE NUMBER 4! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4619988)

WOW I kept hitting F5!

The original release was slower (1, Redundant)

Roached (84015) | more than 11 years ago | (#4619990)

The original release of OS X was slower, the newest version is noticably faster.

I've never found it slow (1, Redundant)

PaxTech (103481) | more than 11 years ago | (#4619991)

Of course, I have a dual 1Ghz G4 with a gig of RAM so YMMV.. ;)

The article itself is a troll... (0, Offtopic)

JoshWurzel (320371) | more than 11 years ago | (#4619993)

Look mom, flamebait!

Moderate this Article (-1, Offtopic)

Saurentine (9540) | more than 11 years ago | (#4619994)

"-1 : Flamebait"

Put on your Nomex, kids, it's gonna get hot in here real quick!

Slow? Not compared to OS9 (4, Insightful)

Gabey (18874) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620002)

I recently installed OSX on my wife's iBook (366Mhz, 160MB RAM) previously had OS9.x on it, and it crawled. Neither of us would even want to use it, it was so bad.
After installing OSX, it's runs amazingly well, and not just for the eyecandy, etc. Compared to other OS's, I would say it's right about on target...sure, it's a little sluggish opening Photoshop or having multiple browser windows open, but most 366Mhz machines are.

I'm kind of surprised to see this question at all...OSX has struck me as very fast, all things considered.


Re:Slow? Not compared to OS9 (1)

mauztek (227918) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620122)

wow, on my ibook (500Mhz 256RAM) os 9 runs very quick compared to X. It's brutally slow while watching simpsons in quicktime and browsing the web in chimera. Going to console and renice -20 quicktime seems to improve things a little bit but i just boot back into os9 when i watch a dvd

osx is slow (1)

nsda's_deviant (602648) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620003)

OS X feels slow occasionally and it has nothing to do with the graphical whiz bang extras that apple added. if your working with 6 or 7 windows, its a hassel in OS X switching from your IM list to email to browser and so on. it just feels sluggish when i can alt tab my way across win2k and everything feels instant. i love OS X but OS X is still an amature in rendering webpages as quicklly as win2k's IE6 or XP.

Re:osx is slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620107)

Try a browser called chimera.. it's considerably faster than IE. The latest version is 0.6, so it's a bit rough around the edges... and down the middle :P

Re:osx is slow (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620118)

it just feels sluggish when i can alt tab my way across win2k and everything feels instant.
You apparently never thought to try Command-Tab in OS X, did you?

apple-tab your way across X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620131)

Ummm...10.2 is very fast and I've had no problems with speed on a lowly PBG4 400 384 RAM.

Just apple-tab to switch instantly between apps.

Its not the machines that are slow.... (-1, Funny)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620004)

It's not the machines that are slow...It's the users.


Re:Its not the machines that are slow.... (0, Offtopic)

Bob McCown (8411) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620027)

It's not the machines that are slow...It's the users.

Uh... what?

Re:Its not the machines that are slow.... (1, Flamebait)

Frank of Earth (126705) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620102)

You would have to be slow to think this chick would convice anyone to switch to a mac.

Janie Porche []

When she says she saved xmas, I want to kick her in the face!

You're kidding? (2, Interesting)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620005)

I went to the mall and brought up IE on an 800 MHz mac faster than it comes up on my 2GHz Windows box or Mozilla on my 2GHz Linux box. Perhaps that's all cruft from having a system that's heavily used, but it certainly seemed well tuned to me.

Re:You're kidding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620145)

You must have one f-ed up Windows Box. I have an 800 Mhz T21 with 2000 here and while I don't have a mac to compare it to I am not sure how it could get much faster without opening before I clicked it.

Like they would tell. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620007)

For those Mac OS X users out there, have you noticed operations that seemed slower using Mac OS X compared to similar operations on other operating systems?

No matter if they have, no true Mac user would ever say so, and you know it.

Re:Like they would tell. (3, Funny)

The Squish (557079) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620092)

I am a die-hard mac user. 10.2 is slow. It's always been slow, since the beginning.

Get linux! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620009)

Im running KDE 3.1 rc1 on my age old PIII 450mhz box, WITH ALL THE EYE CANDY ENABLED! and its running faster than win98 that used to plauge it. KDE 3.1 is a hell of a lot faster than previous kde versions, and beats the crap out of windows xp/macosx

MacOSX **IS** Slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620013)

This is nothing new and you should not be asking for this. It is a known problem/limitation of the OS.
Have you ever tried to *resize, scroll or even change between big applications* (web browsers and other such magnitude apps)?

It is _godawfully_ slow. I have here a G4 with 1 MB L2 backside cache for it, and my Celeron runs WindowsXP a zillion times faster than OSX 10.2 runs on that G4. Linux runs faster on my Celerons than OSX on the G4.

Apple should start optimize and re-architect things if needed. I am not going to buy any new Apple hardware as long these speed problems occur even on their high end machines!

Re:MacOSX **IS** Slow (2, Informative)

soward (6325) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620109)

You must have a bum machine or maybe you only have 128M of RAM. I've found OS-X to be pretty responsive even on older hardware, at least on par with linux+Gnome or native freebsd on similar systems. The one exception may be memory. Many OS-X Cocoa apps have a large memory footprint, and once you start swapping, things go downhill fast. Similarly if you have an old slow hard-drive application launching will be slow. My 667Mhz tibook easily performs as fast as or faster than my 1G PIII laptop at virtually every task.

Re:MacOSX **IS** Slow (3, Interesting)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620149)

Uh, what kinda vid card?

My understanding is if your windows are being buffered in ram, its slow. If you have an open GL vid card and quartz starts using GL and vram to store the window buffers (its called quartz extreme, right?), much of the slowness disappears. At least until you have tons of windows open .. a problem that my win2K box encounters anyways.

Personally, if 3d/trans desktops are to be the norm in the future, every window will have to be buffered *anyway*, so I think Apple is just taking a performance hit to stay a little ahead of the elegance-curve.

Note to moderators: I might be talking shit, as I'm a former Mac head and now watch from the sidelines. Wait for confirmation from toher folks if you feel like modding my post.

Not perceptibly... (1)

SamTheButcher (574069) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620014)

I'm running a TiBook, 800Mhz, but not much of consequence besides browsers, mail and the like. For the gamers, I did download the Jedi demo, and while I've not played it before, I didn't notice any slowness or lagging.

Most of the time when I experience any slowness, I chalk it up to some interference with my wireless connection to the basement. All command-line apps work well and speedy.

In sum, it rocks!

Gotten much better (3, Funny)

evanhr (610024) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620016)

I used to have time to take a shower while waiting for 10.1 to boot in the mornings. 10.2 has it down to a few sips of coffee. Maybe it was that goddamn Happy Mac hogging memory all those years. Who'dve thought?

SO SLOW it made me sell my MAC (0)

thePredator (220152) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620019)

OS x was so slow that I sold my Macintosh over it... OS 9 was great... I hope they can bring the goods of OS 9 back in X


Slow for power users (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620022)

For web browsing and sending email - no. It's fine. I'm sure and other text based apps also function just fine.

But as a graphic designer (who reads slashdot???) I can't use it. Period. Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, all run perceptively *twice* as fast in OS 9. And they do run fast in OS9.

From what I can tell, aqua is mostly at fault.

whats the question? (2, Interesting)

mgs1000 (583340) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620023)

So what is the question???

Is MacOSX slow?
Are Macs slow?

Re:whats the question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620142)

The question (ithink) is for the OS.. X **feels** much slower on the same apple hardware.

Or (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620150)

Is it just IE that's slow on OS X?

Time is perception relative (5, Informative)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620029)

For people who want to bash and criticise OS X, then of course it's TOO SLOW.

For people who enjoy and love OS X, then it's not all that slow.

There is definitely a class of people who need or want speed but don't have it, and they think OS X is slow. The hard part is figuring out whether their views and circumstances resemble yours so that you know whether to accept or discard their perception.

My view: OS X on a 400MHz G4 is fine. Applications my have a performance constraint due to slow CPU speed, but actual navigation of the OS is not a problem.

I also run OS X on a 933MHz G4. With a GeForce2, 768MB ram. Runs fine.

Slow always depends on how you define fast. Web browsing rendering is a tad slower and less optimized than under Windows, but on the flip side the HTML engine isn't integrated into the OS either.

And you really can't trust Microsoft to create a better browsing experience under OS X than under Windows XP, can you?

I use Mozilla just fine, though.

As I recall... (1, Flamebait)

drhairston (611491) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620031)

I remember using a Macintosh, it was called the 'SE'. I found that while it presented a nice graphical interface, it was far slower than a PC, and I've been a PC user ever since.

How is this news?

Re:As I recall... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620096)

Mac OS X doesn't run on a SE. Only G3s and higher.

Re:As I recall... (1)

Ixohoxi (170656) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620101)


Sounds like you're on the platform ideally suited to your "level". How is that news?

What about as a server ? (2, Interesting)

NinjaWorm (462108) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620038)

Is MAC OS X slow as a server as well?

I was thinking of getting one in at work to test it out as a web server, but I will not bother if it is slower than Linux.

Re:What about as a server ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620119)

But doesn't all the beep-beep-beep-ing get in the way of your daugher's big project?

Re:What about as a server ? (1)

PeekabooCaribou (544905) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620138)

Personally, I prefer Linux for server stuff. The hardware is less expensive and more customizable, the OS is free, and I know I can update software packages without breaking anything. There's also less overhead from the rest of the system. (I don't know about yours, but my web server doesn't really need an Aqua GUI.)

os x, linux (5, Insightful)

Aniquel (151133) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620044)

I use both os x and linux pretty extensively. I've used linux on macs as well (yellowdog and linuxppc). Linux *is* faster, from a user experience point of view and from a systems standpoint - However, this is on older (400mhz) G4's. The new iMacs (and by extension the new PowerMacs) are *much* snappier, but they would be in linux too. Harkening back to a post from a few days earlier, os x has about 85-90% the raw speed of linux on identical hardware. Considering the UI and application base, that's good enough for me. Besides, if you wanted straight-up hardcore power, you wouldn't be using a ppc. You'd be using a .357.

Depends on hardware ... for the most part (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620048)

If you have a G3 (as I do) there is no question Mac OSX is slower than OS9. Now Jaguar is faster than 10.1 but not fast enough to overtake OS9 on G3 hardware. Most of this seems to have to do with the GUI. One good example is to try resizing any window. Due to the live resizing the window stalls, stutters and gasps to catch up to the cursor. Why they didn't give up on live resizing and use an outline is beyond me. Another example is scrolling. Open up a really long text document and scroll. For me, in OS9 it moves much faster.

In general everything seems to be a few split seconds behind. Now I know I don't have the latest "G4" hardware or Quartz Extreme, but I ask the question ... how fast would OSX be without all the "Aqua" GUI eye candy? If they had toned down the NEED for graphics accelleration how cool would it be? My only answer is it's all a plot to get us to by the latest and greatest Apple hardware. If OSX ran great on a G3 there'd be less reason to upgrade.

VERY Slow (5, Funny)

avandesande (143899) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620049)

I asked my mac to get me a beer from the fridge, and I am still waiting.....

Eh, maybe. (2, Interesting)

philibob (132105) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620050)

I use alot of machines from both sides of the war (Win/Mac) at school, but I've never really seen any two systems that are worthy of comparing. Obviously my desktop with an XP2100 starts/runs Photoshop much faster than my friend's TiBook (we both have 1gb ram) But then again, the new imac is shockingly snappy out of the box for what it costs and those two machines combined are easier to carry around than something housed in a full-sized Antec. Speed can be achieved by anything as long as you have the cash for it, and alot of the bottlenecks that show up in the sort of applications that I run on a daily basis are more dependent on the video card than the OS.

duh (3, Funny)

be-fan (61476) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620051)

You'd think, with all the informative stuff that's been posted on Slashdot about how Mac OS X is slow, people would get a clue by now. Is Mac OS X slow? Is Mac OS X slow? That's like asking, is RMS hairy!

Re:duh (1)

jmu1 (183541) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620125)

Hey, I resemble that hairy remark! lol this article (5, Informative)

jukal (523582) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620053)

Mac OS X 10.2 Makes Fast Break [] at eWeek. I don't know anything about Macs but those rare people I kow using it, have said the same as the article:

There were some speed improvements in Mac OS X 10.1, but this latest Mac OS version wrings significantly improved performance out of Aqua, courtesy of Quartz Extreme. This Apple technology offloads rendering of windows and other screen elements onto the graphics processing unit in a system's video card, which in turn lightens the load on the system's main processor.

No problems here. (2)

diverman (55324) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620056)

I ran OS X (from 10.0 to 10.2.1) on a dual 533 G4 PowerMac, and a 550 PowerBook.

Both run just fine. 10.0 was a bit slower. I don't know what people are talking about when they say that 10.0 was unbearably slow. I didn't think so. I think that mostly it was people in the OS 9 world that were just used to the app you are on getting 100% of the resources. So, in that respect, it might have been a bit slower. For me, I thought OS 9 was a slow hunk of junk as I couldn't do anything else while running an install or some process I would normally background.

So... yeah... it's all good. I can do what I want... no significant lag. And starting up apps are pretty quick.


LCD iMac (5, Interesting)

Triv (181010) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620057)

I have an LCD iMac, and no, it's not slow - meaning: it does everything I need it to any I rarely notice the CPU usage go above 70% (unless I'm burning/Ripping a CD or, oddly, dialing in to my ISP). Personally, that's all that matters - I don't care how it compares to a PIII or whatever. It works great and that's that.

However. I WILL say that OS9 is noticably faster (albeit WAY more unstable), particularly when gaming. Q3:A runs great under OSX but is a damn sight snappier booted into 9. Same thing with DiabloII, Starcraft or Baldur's Gate II.

However (again). That could be because 3DFX support in OSX is a wee bit buggy - DII or BGII will run with 3d acceleration on but unplayably slowly. Don't have that problem in OS9. Go figure. :)


Slow. Very slow. (2, Troll)

cscx (541332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620060)

I run Windows XP w/ themeing disabled, and Windows GDI is amazingly fast. I also think MacOS9 is fast (until a process hangs...).

I've tried OS 9 and OS X running on the same lamp-y LCD iMacs. OSX is SLOW. Sure it may look cool, but just think of all the processing power required to render all that shiat!

I went to open a csh Terminal, and I seriously had to wait about 30 secs till I received the % prompt. Ridiculous. Plus the font smoothing is overkill. The video seems to choppy as well, probably due to all that complex rendering. Yuck. OS X, you can keep it, thank you. Mac OS X is what made the Mac as popular as it is. Unlike WinXP, however, you can't disable the new overkill GUI and revert to a "Classic" style.

Re:Slow. Very slow. (2)

cscx (541332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620099)

Mac OS X is what made the Mac as popular as it is

I meant MacOS Classic. And too, not to.

Only 'feels' slow (1)

Eowaennor (527108) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620063)

I recently just installed 10.2 on my old blue & white g3 300. To me just the gui interface seems a little sluggish, not SLOW persay, but sluggish in resizing windows etc. This compared to the os 8.6 installation it replaced.

OpenGL performance is lacking (2, Interesting)

Clock Nova (549733) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620067)

There are still some functions that OSX does not seem to handle as well as its Classic predecessor. OpenGL performance is at the top of that list. I have many games that run significantly faster in OS9 than in X, some even in Classic.

I'm not sure what exactly is the problem, but it does appear to be gradually improving. For example, upgrading from 10.1.4 to 10.2.1 allowed me to run Jedi Knight II with 4x FSAA and all settings at max in 800x600, rather than 640x480. If I turn FSAA down to 2, I can run it in 1024x768, but it looks better in 800x600.

The system itself is much faster in 10.2, probably at the level it should. But OpenGL needs work.

On my B&W G3 with Jaguar... (2)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620068)

Things are slow when I'm simultaneously adjusting 50 3MB Photoshop docs, fink updating 5 applications, and running Chimera, Mozilla, Omniweb and IE at the same time. Oh, and going over a bunch of files with BBEdit.

I'm so ashamed.

Course, it's still faster then the Optiplex NT 4.0 box I use at work.

Runs fine on three year old 400 Mhz iMac DV SE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620070)

I have added a bunch of RAM. You want to have at least 256 MB RAM to run this puppy. The only time I have been unhappy with the speed was when I compiled GNOME. That took too long :).

History (1, Flamebait)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620075)

I've had the fortune or misfortune to use many Macs from many eras, it is perfectly clear that Apple has always stressed features over (even ridiculously poor) performance. Macs have always been unbearably slow. It's kind of a cultural thing, Mac users are simply willing to wait. What sticks in my mind the most is the Quadras of the 90's that just dog slow, even the top of the line ones we had (6-9k each). That being said it wouldn't surprise me if OSX is slow, although I personally haven't used it enough to render an opinion.

(flamers and other retards, please note this is not an endorsement of MS by counter-example)

It's all in the perspective (1)

ruprechtjones (545762) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620077)

It may seem slow if you used OS 9 for a long time, then made the switch to X on the same machine. Windows and menus don't seem to "snap" as quick, and Classic will seem a little slower than native OS 9. So there's no real general answer here. Give me a dual-1.25ghz with Jaguar and native applications on it, and it'll seem very fast compared to my every day Pismo. During tight deadlines, sometimes I reboot to 9 since I can blast through menus and windows and it feels like the machine is working at "my" speed. But it really isn't a necessary thing for me to do.

Almost as slow as Windows! (1)

PeekabooCaribou (544905) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620079)

Just kidding. But now that I have your attention:

Mac OS X 10.2 runs slow on every G3 I've seen, including my iBook (which, admittedly, is only 500MHz with a 67MHz bus). G4 Macs are a totally different story. On those machines, I've found OS X to be snappy and responsive. Even the 450MHz G4 tower I use at work runs well.

well (5, Interesting)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620081)

"have you noticed operations that seemed slower using Mac OS X compared to similar operations on other operating systems?"
Simple answer, yes. Complex answer: Those systems aren't running Windows. Mac OS X is always RESPONSIVE. If a splash screen comes up, you can still pull another application in front of it. If an app is running a huge calculation, you can still web browse. iTunes doesn't skip. You can play DVD on your background (you have to set your background color to a specific value, start up the DVD, then hide the DVD player). You put a really pretty fish tank OpenGL screensaver as your background. Running many mpeg4s at the same time doesn't choke the system. It keeps going, in fact if you just add ram, like with any Unix system, you can throw any number of big jobs at it, and it will keep going.

That being said, you have to wait for the genie effect to take place. Because it's a friggen animation. Same with icon removals from the desktop. If you aren't running QE (which from what I know is most of the OS X installs today), you get a big CPU hit on moving windows, resizing, and putting in dock. But it still keeps going. I'm really quite amazed at how well it works, day in, day out.

Am I unpleased, no. Do I even consider other OS's. Not anymore. Can it be made faster, sure.

Jaaaagwire on a ~400mhz G3 (2, Interesting)

ascii (70907) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620082)

I am fortunate enough to be using a 400-something mhz G3 with around 384MB RAM and OS 10.2 at work.

I use it primarily for hacking in php, perl, mysql and the likes, which doesn't really require a lot of computational power. I use a lot of photoshop aswell, which is a somewhat different story. I am able to outperform photoshop in using keyboard shortcuts. That is, I experience a (sometimes significant) lag after keying in a keyboard shortcut sequence.

This has however little to do with the performance of the OS itself, which I find perty darn smooth. To me OS X has always been very responsive in all situations though programs (photoshop, golive etc.) take can take some seconds to start up. Apart from this the overall filehandling and mucking about is done with ease.

My two mere cents.

Moshe Bar compares OS X to Linux (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620083)

Moshe Bar has written an article [] at Byte [] in which he benchmarks and compares performance between Mac OS X and Linux at various tasks on the same hardware.

Slower than NextStep (1)

nonos (158469) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620086)

OS X on a 1.25 GHz machine is slower than NextSTep 3.3 on my old 25 MHz NextStation (16 MB ram).

Just Need Enough Memory (3, Informative)

ab (5715) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620088)

I run OS X on several machines. The one I'm using now is the slowest I really use (a 400MHz G3), and it's fine with 512MB of memory. With 128MB it's slow. More didn't make much difference for common stuff.

In fact, it's deceptively responsive. I use a G4 733 at home, and sometimes forget how slow this thing is- until I do a big compile or something. :-)

For ordinary GUI stuff, it's OK, but some programs that aren't really OS Xish (like Mozilla) sometimes have noticeable screen updates.


Mac is Crap (-1, Flamebait)

First_In_Hell (549585) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620091)

Actually I have used many apps and they DO run slower on a Mac, there is a reason for that. . . Apple's elitest attitude that they can do whatever craziness they want, and their feeble niche user base will follow nonetheless. Why release a new OS that is not compatible with 95% of your existing software and force users to run it in a crappy "emulation" mode.

You cannot tell me with a straight face that a $1500.00 P4 or Althlon Rig runs Photoshop (the only thing fringe Mac champions run anyway) faster than a $1500.00 MAC.

Lets say it all together (you'll feel better). . . OS X was just an excuse for Apple to justify to their shareholders the ridiculous buying of NeXT for over $150 million dollars, when nobody would touch that company with a 50 foot pole.

Steve Jobs is still a pompus ass, he just now puts his PCs in pretty cases.

I made the switch (2, Interesting)

dbuttric (9027) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620093)

from Windows to OS X, because of the UNIX underneath.

Let me just tell you that the networking is faster on the Mac than on windows, I can play higher quality streams without the constant re-buffering that I had in Windows.

I've got Mozilla, Chimera, and IE on theis machine, I use Mozilla the most - but that is changing, I like the look and feel of Chimera a lot it is growsing on me.

I do alot of surfing, and web development, and I am finding the mac to be faster in starting up applications than the windows boxes I've used...

Just my $.02

seemed fast to me (1)

Lobster Cowboy (605052) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620094)

I used it on a two year old Power Book, and the speed seemed comparable to a Windows XP notebook with similar specs.

Java is Really Slow (1)

shadymike (623907) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620098)

Hello. I use jEdit on a permanent basis. I have one of those 800mhz iBooks. I notice that its runs a lot slower than on my work laptop (1gz dell). Using Metal over MacOS Adaptive helps but its still not as fast and I lose the menubar at the top. my 2c.

yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620100)

yes it is slow.

Chug, chug, chug... (0)

payndz (589033) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620105)

... the times I've used it, it's been like a damn drinking game! Some native apps seem okay if not especially zippy, but since I work in publishing, where the absolute key application is Quark XPress, converting to X is currently about as likely as Osama Bin Laden announcing a goodwill tour of the United States!

Love my iBook... (2)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620111)

... but it can be slower (not to mean its unusable) for certain things, mostly to do with graphics. Web browsing for instance. Some of the browsers are better and some are worse, but from my experience all are noticably slower than browsing with IE, Netscape, et al on Win or Linux.

Part of the reason may be that I'm running a Rage iBook and don't have the ability to take advantage of QuarkGL. And things are getting faster with each OS update.

Having said all that my iBook is my primary machine. I wouldn't trade it for the world (except for a faster one, or a TiBook)

Slower thab yellowdog linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620113)

I run both on an iBook 500 with 256MB RAM. It is slower.

The Best Answer (1)

repetty (260322) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620114)

Here's the best answer you are going to get on this question:

On fast Macs, OS X is fast. On slow Macs, OS X is slow.

I'm experienced in this matter and I'm not trying to insult anyone, but there it is.

Slower because of file-based swap? (2)

uncleFester (29998) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620123)

Anyone have opinions/stats on the idea that OSX might be slower because of file-based instead of device-based swap? From what little bits I've read/seen, OSX is using a swapfile instead of your typical direct-to-char-device swapdisk. And I do know file-based swap can be slower because it's going through both the filesystem and drive io layers.

Is there a vmstat? Can anyone confirm/deny? Every time I see X speed questions/concerns this is the first thing I wonder. Or has someone an idea where to find swap comparisions between PPC/Linux, PPC/BSD (I presume there is such a thing) and OSX? If nothing else, I'd satisfy personal curiosity.


Memory (3, Informative)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620124)

OS X is fairly memory intensive. Anyone interested in speed should, IMO, max out their memory. After all, moving from the minimum amount of memory (128mb) to the maximum (640mb) on the low-end iBook costs you $200 and is well worth it.

Also, with Quartz Extreme adding additional amounts of video RAM seems to make a difference, since the graphics card is doing a lot more work in day-to-day life. 32mb seems to be noticably better than 16mb, with diminishing returns expected as you go up.

Just my opinions, yadda yadda...

For a computationally intensive application (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4620127)

In my experience with one computationally intensive scientific application, a 800MHz MacOS X machine completed a task in 3 days that took around 4 days on a 1.2MHz PC running Linux and 5 days on the same PC running Windows 2000.

Is it Slow? (1)

blueforce (192332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620129)

I posted this comment from my Mac... I hit the submit button on Monday.

Moderation -1: Flamebait (1, Flamebait)

option8 (16509) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620130)

can i mod this story as flamebait?

I just switched... (1)

Phydoux (137697) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620135)

I fell in love with Mac OS X when Jaguar came out. I decided that it was worth it to make the switch to the Mac.

Granted, it's a dual 1 GHz PowerMac, but I don't find it slow in the least. I created my first DVD movie using iMovie and iDVD just last night, and I was very pleased with how easy and fast it was. The resulting DVD played great on my Sony DVD player and the picture was superb.

I realize that I'm not using the "slower" Macs you're asking about, but I certainly don't feel like my PowerMac is any slower than an AMD or Pentium 4 system. In fact, my Mac is much faster at ripping music from CDs than any Intel based system I've used. Creating my DVD wasn't slow to me, either. I believe Apple has really optimized for the AltiVec extentions in the G4.

The fact that I can get good Open Source software, commercial software, and (in my opinion) the beautiful OS X interface makes me a very happy new Macintosh user.

Speed (5, Interesting)

WatertonMan (550706) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620136)

OSX is a memory hog - even worse that XP. So if you are running it with less that 3/4 of a Gig of memory, invest in the memory. I think you'll change your opinion on speed then.

It still isn't as fast as Linux or XP (IMO), but has enough polish that I still prefer using it. There are some things that count more than speed. I think OSX does well on those.

I must ask though why these rather generic OSX discussions keep coming up on Slashdot. They seem more appropriate for some forum rather than "news for geeks." Don't get me wrong, I love OSX. I can't wait for 10.3 which will probably be the final reason to pick it over other OSes. But does it really justify all these topics?

Before it gets ugly in here... (4, Informative)

macthulhu (603399) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620137)

As I'm sure many of the people about to post here do, I use several different OSs during the course of my day. Once I leave work, I rely on OSX for me personal machine. Even with 10.1.5, almost everything seems faster than any flavor of Windows that I come into contact with. My home machine is a "lowly" Dual 533 G4 with a Gig of RAM, and it consistently performs better than any of my other machines... ranging from a dual 600 Pentium w/ NT4 to 2GHZ AMD w/ XP. I am running mostly Multimedia creation software, so maybe that's where the results come from... Anyway, OSX is plenty fast... except for some strange spinning beachball zone-outs at weird times. To be honest, even though I am one of those Mac people that will break a bottle on the bar and hold it to your throat for bad-mouthing my system... I am perfectly functional with Windows going all the way back to 3.11. Bottom line: OSX on a sufficiently pumped up G4 will get the job done, and get it done pretty quickly. Now back to the impending flame war...

OS X IS slow (1)

bahamat (187909) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620143)

I've used Linux and Mac OS X on both PPC G3 and G4 systems, and OS X runs considerably slower on both chips. It's not just about clock speeds here, because back in the day I ran YellowDog on an iMac 333 which ran smooth enough for having the wrong Linux video drivers installed. But with OS X on the same hardware I can hardly drag windows around. OS X needs a hefty G4, and plenty of RAM for Aqua to chew on or you really aren't going anywhere. Just try launching the Terminal with only 128M.

Not to say that OS X is a bad system, or that PPC hardware is inferior to x86. They're both really good systems, but Mac OS X just isn't optimized to run smoothly (and this has been admitted by Apple). The real problem is that they need to go back and redesign some things to bring back the speed. Right now all they've been caring about is appearance.

I haven't used Jaguar though, so I don't know how it compares. Besides, OS X is new, and it has it's issues. Speed is a major one. Hopefully they'll bring it in line in time for people to give it a decent chance. I'd love to switch my whole family off of windows and onto a stable, easy to use system like Mac OS X, but they aren't willing to buy a computer at double the clock speed of their PC and running apps slower.

Depends... (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620146)

I find startup to be slower, but then again I reset my ibook maybe once every three weeks when it downloads updates and requires a restart. Of course programs like blender don't run quite as fast as my Linux box, but its comaparing Apples (no pun intended) and Oranges. My iBook is a newer 14.1 700Mhz with 256mb ram and a 16MB video card, my Linux box is a dual 1.2Ghz AMD box with a 64MB video card and a Gig of ram... But honestly, OS X is a little slow on startup, even slower going into 'classic', but for everyday use, I don't seem to notice anything.

10.2 isn't bad (2, Informative)

timothy (36799) | more than 11 years ago | (#4620147)

My family is mostly Mac now -- my mom and sister have them, and I have one in part so I can follow their explanations when troubleshooting by phone.

And overall, now that I've made the switch (from 9 to X) more-or-less permanently wrt time spent on my iBook, I've stopped caring. The system is nice, and with Chimera and Mozilla (giving me browsing and IRC), I no longer feel any great need to boot into 9 for the speed.

Yes, it is slowish -- my old 366MHz ThinkPad 600 with 128MB RAM is *snappier* running Windowmaker or even KDE than my 500MHz iBook (with 384MB) running OS 10.2, but I find the speed differenceis not terribly annoying. And 10.2 is noticeably faster than 10.1, and esp. faster than 10.0.1

The Apple keyboard I could do without, but that's not really the OS's fault.

I prefer (for various reasons) any of several Linux desktops for day-to-day use, but the iBook, even this slow one, makes a nice station for editing home movies, 802.11 access, etc. (I wish other companies would license that airport space inside the machine ... it's nice to have it in there full time, no card-edge to worry about snapping off ...)

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