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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Mac Pro - Quad core Xeon? Doesn't feel as fast as it should


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CaptSaltyJack

 
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Maybe the hard drive is bottlenecking stuff. But.. it just doesn't feel as zippy as I had expected.

My Athlon64 4400+ dual core WinXP machine loads up Firefox faster than my Mac Pro does! And I'm talking after a fresh reboot (Firefox isn't precached in RAM). On the Mac Pro, I run Firefox after a boot, and the hard disk works & works.. for about 6-8 seconds or so, then it comes up. On a quad core Xeon, I would've expected it to come up in just a couple seconds.

What gives? Is there a Java based (platform independent) benchmark app I can run?
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Aptmunich

 
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Firefox isn't really a great OS X application... there are some processor specific optimized builds out there though, so possibly look for that.

Besides, in my experience most apps launch faster under Windows. I think it's to do with the way the apps are tied into the operating system (specifically the registry), which they aren't under OS X... the tradeoff is greater stability.

I normally just launch my regular apps once when I first boot up and then never quit them... (and I hardly ever reboot).

Check out Camino though: Mozilla goodness with more OS X spit & polish than Firefox.
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The memory bandwidth is a limiting factor. You have two times as many cores yet the same memory bandwidth.

Also, not many applications take advantage of 2 cores, let alone 8.
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CaptSaltyJack

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aptmunich View Post
Firefox isn't really a great OS X application... there are some processor specific optimized builds out there though, so possibly look for that.

Besides, in my experience most apps launch faster under Windows. I think it's to do with the way the apps are tied into the operating system (specifically the registry), which they aren't under OS X... the tradeoff is greater stability.

I normally just launch my regular apps once when I first boot up and then never quit them... (and I hardly ever reboot).

Check out Camino though: Mozilla goodness with more OS X spit & polish than Firefox.
I'll take stability over load up speed Besides, once you run something once on Mac OS, it's cached in RAM.

Camino looks sweet, but, no Firefox extension support I can't live without my extensions.
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Check out BonEcho, a private build of the open source Firefox code base, specifically optimized for various processor types (G4, G5 and Intel). It is NOTICABLY faster than the stock Firefox, and behaves in every way like Firefox, including extensions (after all, it *is* Firefox - it is the Firefox source recompiled for specific CPU types, with all type specific optimizations enabled).

Check out www.beatnikpad.com

Despite the odd name, that is where this gem lives. I used it daily (I use a mixture of Safari and BonEcho) and have been very pleased with it.

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CaptSaltyJack

 
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BonEcho is the next build of Firefox, looks like. It's in alpha stage.. so.. not sure I want to use a pre-release browser.
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No, BonEcho is the name for any "non-official" build of FireFox...

That includes custom build with tweaks as well as pre-release alpha and beta builds...
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CaptSaltyJack

 
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Ah, ok.
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jonnyd

 
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I got a quad 2.66 a couple of months back, and for a lot of things it's not particularly fast. Seems the more it needs the hard disks, the less you notice the power.

But for some things it absolutely rips. Encoding from say AVI to Mp4 on my old G5 would run at about 11 - 15 frames per second. So a 2 hour movie would take maybe 4 hours.

The Pro will do it in about 20 - 30 minutes. It does it roughly 10 x as fast.

Needless to say you have to stuff it full of RAM to get the best out of it. Apples still seem to ship with about half the amount they really need to run properly.
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I forgot the name of the OS loader, but the one used in Fedora Core 3 used compressed files so that it boots faster. It is actually faster to read then decompress a file, than it is to read an uncompressed file.

If you're using very file system intensive work, the hard drive will be your limiting factor. 8 billion Mhz and 50 cores doesn't mean much if you cant get the data off the drive any faster.

I bet if you up your ram considerably, you'll notice a difference. That way more data can sit in ram, and your system wont have to go back to the hard drive to retrieve anything.

Also try defragmenting then boot/run DiskWarrior. You'll definitely notice a difference.

schweb This has to be one of the best threads ever in MF history...
Cherokee This gets my vote for most innovative thread on Mac-Forums... ever.
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gilesjuk

 
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Disks are always going to limit performance when it comes to loading things.

You need to consider RAID 0 or 1 to increase performance.
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CaptSaltyJack

 
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Thanks guys.

RAID 1 won't increase performance, only reliability. RAID 0 is an option.. just gotta plan out what I'm going to do with these four HD bays.
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Firefox starts up in 1 or 2 secs on my 1.67ghz powerbook g4, after fully booting into the desktop. Seems like theres a major bottleneck, and not something to do with CPU or memory. Try having a look at the system info and looking for anything thats wrong. It could be something like the buffer on ur hd has gone, though thats almost unheard of. Do other apps start fine? If so, its firefox, and you may need to do something like reinstall, update it or something. Only the most recent version will run properly on a mac pro, i imagine.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptSaltyJack View Post
Thanks guys.

RAID 1 won't increase performance, only reliability. RAID 0 is an option.. just gotta plan out what I'm going to do with these four HD bays.
RAID 1 can produce increased read performance with some OSes:

"RAID 1: Mirrored Set (2 disks minimum) without parity: provides fault tolerance from disk errors and single disk failure. Increased read performance occurs when using a multi-threaded operating system that supports split seeks, very small performance reduction when writing. Array continues to operate with one failed drive."
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CaptSaltyJack

 
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Wellll then, I stand corrected. Interesting. Do you think RAID 1 will get me a performance boost on OS X? Would RAID 0 offer faster read performance than RAID 1? Or the same?
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