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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Slow OS X ... Help please !!


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etes
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Hello there

I have been a switcher for about a couple of month and here is my story/problem:

I wanted to try OS X but had almost no $$, I ended up picking up a G3 400, 512MB RAM, with the original 12GB HDD. It came with OS X 10.1.
Then I bought a copy of Panther 10.3 and slapped that on the G3. I also replaced the HDD with a brand new 40GB 7200 RPM drive.

So Panther is faster, a lot faster (10.1 was so slooow), but it is still slow and choppy for no reason. Examples:

- Safari or FireFox both will get super slow after being used for 20min, like
switching tabs or opening a link has a lag in it. (and Activity Monitor shows
they use over 100MB of memory .. what !!)
- Switching between windows becomes slow... sometime.
- scrolling is always super slow (especially in browsers and Acrobat Reader)
- Acrobat Reader 7 is just way too slow... can barely use it.
- Flash movies/clips (such as Flash ads !) look laggy and skip in browsers.
- even MSN messenger is slow !
- I open Activity Monitor and see that when things lag and the colored |
spinning ball comes the CPU is at 100%... I cant do anything at taht point
and it happens A LOT

Ok so all of these are simple apps and these things happen when just ONE thing is running (not running 2~3 progams).

I am comparing the speed of apps (like broswing) with my Pentium III-500 which has 384MB RAM (so less than my G3, but both PC100), both systems are ATA-33 drive controller, and the G3 has a faster newer drive (new 7200 rpm comapred to old 20GB 7200rpm which has longer access time). The PC has Win XP SP2 with a lot of visual effects and Norton AntiVirus (which slows down even more) ... G3 is fresh install of Panther with almost no apps installed.

Loading apps and specially loading OS X is fast ... but everything else lags and i feel as if i am using the whole thing in slow motion.

I have disabled things like the jumping icons in dock, use Scale effect (rather than the other one) and always clear cache and stuff.

What can I do ?? Why is OS X so slow ?? I am not doing anything, just simple browsing shouldnt need a 2 GHz CPU !!

Thanks a lot
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etes
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So any suggestions guys ?? Anything to improve performance .. maybe I am doing something wrong .. I mean I am new to OS X u kno !!
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killer_bites
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etes
So any suggestions guys ?? Anything to improve performance .. maybe I am doing something wrong .. I mean I am new to OS X u kno !!
I've only used it a bit - stll waiting for my powerbook. Your processor seems a little slow to expect wonders. I think apple suggest a 600mhz for some things, even still thats the lower end. Flash i have found lags a lot, macs don't seem to like alpha change, or types of motion.
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falltime
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Your machine is just too slow.

Sell it and get a Mac Mini or a cheap, decent PC.
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killer_bites
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Quote:
Originally Posted by falltime
Your machine is just too slow.

Sell it and get a Mac Mini or a cheap, decent PC.
Lol, harsh, but true it seems, just hope you can wait for 4 weeks, **** waiting - its all we ever do when apples concerned.
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dirtydog
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I would have thought his system would still run OS X better than it is doing? Things like scrolling a webpage should be smooth surely. And long pauses and sluggishness even with 512MB? As he says, light tasks like web browsing should be well within his system's capabilities.
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lonerider

 
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What OS is your P3-500 running? If it's Win95,98, 98SE, or WinME then It'll probably be faster doing just one or two things at a time because there is less OS overhead. If you tried running WinXP or Win2k on the P3-500, you'd see a significant change in the performance of your Wintel box as well. Keep in mind both the systems you have were designed for last-generation operating systems (Win98 / OS 9.2), not the new generation operating systems (OS X / WinXP).

Also, there are some OS X themes you can use that will increase performance. Some other things you can do is decrease color depth (going from 32 bit color to 16 bit can make a HUGE difference with older graphics cards, and doesnt really have much effect on the visual experience), turn off nonessential services (OS X can have a lot of stuff you dont need turned on, things that don't come with Windows, like FTP servers and web servers). You can also do things in the web browser like turning off animted gifs, and java applets, that will significanly increase your web browser speed (at the expense of a bit less animation and glitter on webpages).

All that said, as long as you are just running one thing at a time, a G3 400 should be ok for typical web pages. You'll probably see some choppiness on web pages with tons of images and , like cnn.com and such.

-Lonerider
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etes
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first I am disappointed to see people who dont even understand the problem, and just say "get a faster computer" ... ( I have a AMD64 3400+ .. fast enough !! )

For this case, I am talking about general office use, web browsing, instant messaging, and simply the way OS X is acting itself.

I am happy that there are at least people who understand a 400MHz PPC with 512MB and a new 7200rpm HDD should be enough for these simple tasks.

Lonerider: Thank you for your reply. First of all my PIII is running windows XP, with all the effects (so NOT classic look) and with extra effects too (extra software) plus antiVrus software, which makes things slower in general. Browsing is 100x better on the PIII, and things at least run smooth, or adequate at worst cases (say photoshop). No sluggish choppy stuff.

What other things (services) can I disable to get a more responsive OS X ??
What themes ?? doesnt themes require extra software ??

Just a note: I googled for OS X speed and it came up with loads and loads of "speed improvement" guides and articles. Plus there were a large number of people who werent happy with OS X speed on older system.
Remember, thses older systems are being used for general use, not doing photoshop and video encoding !!

Thank you all
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Graphite

 
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Cocktail this may help.
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lonerider

 
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Well, really a G3 400 should perform similarly to a P3-500 given you're running WinXP. It may be a tad slower as far as the interface (Aqua is more demanding than XP's interface), but it shouldn't be significantly slower. I think we can assume that there is some optimizing that needs to be done to your Mac.

Some of the themes for Aqua turn off certain effects, and are hence geared for performance. Aqua is also really meant for a Mac with a 3d graphics accelerator, and it's quite likely yours doesnt have one (or has one with minimal benefit). That said, there are things you can do to help it along, check here :

http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/OSX/os_x_....html#storytop

Personally I would start with reducing color depth and turning off smooth scrolling, maybe even reducing resolution. If those alleviate the problem noticably, you know you have a slow video subsystem that's having trouble with all the graphics power that the Aqua interface requires. Remember, Aqua is a real 3d interface that uses 3d acceleration, even has real shadows cast on the background.


And finally, try opening a terminal window and running 'top' and 'df -P'. Use top to see how much processor power is being used just sitting there, and what processes are the main CPU users, as well as how much physical memory you're using up.

'df -P' will tell you what partitions you have and what % utilization they are at. Even if your overall hard drive has lots of free space, a single partition being 'cramped' for space can cause slowdown.

-Lonerider
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witeshark

 
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etes
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I will look at all of them, and will try them when I have access to my G3 (not at home right now .. for couple of days)

As for seeing how much CPU and RAM is being used with system just sitting idle, well CPU is low, and RAM has Active and non-Active proceses ...
What exactly should I look for ??
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lonerider

 
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FWIW I found something that help significantly with my ibook G4, and probably will help a ton with your G3.

It's called shadowkiller, turns off window shadows. you can get it from :

http://www.unsanity.com/products/free


It's free.


-Lonerider

Quote:
Originally Posted by etes
Thanks for all the suggestions. I will look at all of them, and will try them when I have access to my G3 (not at home right now .. for couple of days)

As for seeing how much CPU and RAM is being used with system just sitting idle, well CPU is low, and RAM has Active and non-Active proceses ...
What exactly should I look for ??
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D3v1L80Y

 
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As was mentioned before, the Aqua interface of OS X is true 3D. It is very graphics intensive and if you are running a 400Mhz G3, it is very likely that you only have an 8MB VRAM video card. At best, a 16MB if the computer is a G3 Tower. The 3D interface will run slow on a card with lower VRAM. Anyhow, even after you run optimizers and repair permissions, it will still seem "slow" because of the lower VRAM. I have two 400Mhz iMacs that are running 10.3.8 and some older PowerBook G3s. All of these have either an 8MB VRAM graphics chip...or less. They run fine for the most part, but every now and then they will "hiccup" and stall on graphics. The ShadowKiller program mentioned is great and you will notice a jump in the speed of some apps with that enabled.

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