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Thread: Is my Mac slow?

  1. #1


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    Is my Mac slow?
    Hi guys,

    I've just converted from PC to Mac, so I still don't know what I'm talking about yet as I am corrupted by years of PC use!

    I've got a 2nd hand iMac 2ghz intel core duo 20" currently only 512 of Ram, running Leopard. My new RAM is on its way to bump it to 2GB.

    Here's my question:

    My iMac seems a little 'jittery' like the screen refresh is slow or something, it all works fine but for example, when I was running Photoshop it worked perfectly but things didn't move fluidly around the screen, there's more of a jump effect. Is this because I'm still low on RAM? My PC runs Vista with 2gb - it's like lightening, I have another PC running XP with 512 - very quick, but my MAC which I expected to beat the PC on all fronts low memory or not, seems not to run 100% smoothly with the graphics, it's not bad, I just expected better. I can't adjust the screen refesh rate so it can't be that, the only thing I can think of is the RAM. The processor is faster than any of my PCs, can anyone shed any light here, I really want to be a 100% zealous Mac convert!

  2. #2


    Member Since
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    well this could be because your running CS2 on 512MB?

    Basically CS2 was built for the PPC chips and not for the intel chips, this means that everything that hasnt got a universal binary code runs in a program called rosseta. This is basically an emulator

    Also while trying to run CS2 under rosseta you only have 512MB RAM on my MBP when i still had CS2 now and again while editing large photos i too noticed a slight slowness to it. thought since then i have upgraded to 4Gig RAM and CS3.

    Hope i helped.
    enjoy your new mac!

  3. #3


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelkiller View Post
    well this could be because your running CS2 on 512MB?

    Basically CS2 was built for the PPC chips and not for the intel chips, this means that everything that hasnt got a universal binary code runs in a program called rosseta. This is basically an emulator

    Also while trying to run CS2 under rosseta you only have 512MB RAM on my MBP when i still had CS2 now and again while editing large photos i too noticed a slight slowness to it. thought since then i have upgraded to 4Gig RAM and CS3.

    Hope i helped.
    enjoy your new mac!
    Actaully, I should have said, the Photoshop was CS3. So in that case you think it's just the RAM?

    Thanks for your time

  4. #4

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    Boost your machine up to 2GB for starters and as pixelkiller suggested CS3. Check out OWC for memory prices and type for your iMac and then shop around. Look for lifetime guarantee memory modules.

  5. #5

    rohan's Avatar
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    another thing you must take into account for the graphics being jittery is the amount of video memory you have...are you sure hat the mac has the same amount of video memory? this could explain why the pcs are running smoother...
    << i can explain it to you...but i can't understand it for you... >>

  6. #6


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    Quote Originally Posted by rohan View Post
    another thing you must take into account for the graphics being jittery is the amount of video memory you have...are you sure hat the mac has the same amount of video memory? this could explain why the pcs are running smoother...
    How do I check the video memory and can it be upgraded? My machine is MA200B/A 20" iMac T2500 Intel Duo Core 2Ghz 512RAM soon to be 2GB HD 250GB (which shows as 232.57 - GB GiB thing I guess).

  7. #7

    rohan's Avatar
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    click on the apple logo in the menu bar & select about this mac...
    then select more info...
    under hardware click on graphics/displays...see what it says under VRAM...
    you will also need to check this for your other computers but im not sure where this can be checked in vista...
    << i can explain it to you...but i can't understand it for you... >>

  8. #8


    Member Since
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    This is my PC spec for VRAM - and it's super quick with Vista

    memory : 128 MB dedicated VRAM (up to 895 MB total available graphics memory using HyperMemory™ technology with 2 GB system memory)

    My Mac RAM is also 128MB.

    Forget PS for a minute, it even seems a little 'un-smooth' when maximising a firefox browser window, it's not slow, just not 100% smooth, is this normal for a Mac, will RAM improve this. Can video RAM even be updated, do I need to? Is it just that I have spent too long using Vista which wastes all its energy being so slick.... Is it because my PC is a T5450 @ 1.6Ghz Duo Core and my Mac is T2500 2Ghz duo core?

    So many annoying questions I know, Rohan, keep explaining it and I will eventually understand it myself.

  9. #9

    rohan's Avatar
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    video ram can be upgraded on desktop computers but it depends on a lot of other factors...mainly whether your motherboard will support it or not...at the moment i'm not really sure why this is happening because 128MB of video memory is enough for your operating system to function smoothly...maybe 512mb of ram isnt enough for leopard...1 gb is recomended...maybe things will be better after your new ram is in...
    anyhow...dont worry...its not annoying...but however i seem to have run out of ideas...does anyone else have any ideas here about why his system is acting sluggish?

    (btw...i'm not too sure if this applies...but your system may be acting stange if leopard wasn't a clean install..ie. it was installed over the previous OS without formatting the drive...i'd wait for comments from more experienced members before exploring this possibility)
    << i can explain it to you...but i can't understand it for you... >>

  10. #10


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    I getting a bit scared now. I just visited a friend who has exactly the same Mac as me, only more RAM. The only difference is he is running 10.4 os x. Everything on his machine moved so slickly and smoothly, on mine it's jittery - it's not speed, the speed is fine, it's a lack of smoothness in its movements. He said his was 512 RAM a few weeks ago and that he has really noticed any differences in the way it moves. Could it be 10.5 on 512? Maximise a minimised application and it sort of judders up - very quickly mind.

    Have I bought a knackered mac?

  11. #11


    Member Since
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    i dont know weather it will be worth you ding this but if it is possible to humor me, would you be able to video your screen while doing the normal taks, either using a video camera or a screen grabbing program like snapspro or somthing, and try and upload to a site like vimeo to get the best quality.

    If anything just to see if it looks like its something abnormal.

  12. #12

    rohan's Avatar
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    no need to get scared...i dont think its a problem with hardware...10.5 is pretty heavy on the resources so that could be making things appear sluggish...i have seen this problem on windows machines when the display drivers are not installed...all the graphics seem to move slowly..in steps almost...but since i haven't experienced the problem on the mac...i'm not sure how to solve the issue...did u get all the driver & installation disks when you bought the computer? you will need them incase you have to start afresh....
    << i can explain it to you...but i can't understand it for you... >>

  13. #13


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    You have all been great in helping me here, a paranoid new to mac boy. I've been doing some further tests; I think my problem is definitely RAM. You will all laugh at me here, but I will be totally honest - I realised that genie wasn't selected on from the system prefs, I know this is just eye candy, but comparing the quick no frills flyout to genie, I can see that I am a candy freak! My genie works well! :-). I noticed that opening certain heavy on the RAM programmes slowed the system down and made the movement staggered, RAM again. Front Row is totally smooth, stacking from the dock is very neat until there are large items in the stack, and many of them (images) and it's less slick - RAM. My spaces works fine - I think it's a RAM issue. I do have all the original disks, both tiger and leopard, I did do a fresh install.

    A further test I did tonight was to set my mac up next to my PC, I opened PS in both and compared the 'delay' or 'staggering' in movement. There wasn't a lot in it, I think I've been a little paranoid - forgive me!

    I guess I didn't know what to expect, my PC is very powerful, my Mac needs a RAM boost.

    I'll update you all on my progress when my RAM comes - when I know enough to help others, I promise I will (have done many times with PCs).

    Thanks.

  14. #14

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jobborrow View Post
    I getting a bit scared now. I just visited a friend who has exactly the same Mac as me, only more RAM. The only difference is he is running 10.4 os x. Everything on his machine moved so slickly and smoothly, on mine it's jittery - it's not speed, the speed is fine, it's a lack of smoothness in its movements. He said his was 512 RAM a few weeks ago and that he has really noticed any differences in the way it moves. Could it be 10.5 on 512? Maximise a minimised application and it sort of judders up - very quickly mind.

    Have I bought a knackered mac?
    Did you install all the updates for Leopard? There was a Graphic update not to long ago. Be sure all the updates are installed. Just a though in case.

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