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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?" :)

do macs lock up much?

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Member Since: Aug 02, 2007
Posts: 38
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I understand that pretty much everyone here is biased but I figured it would still be the best place to ask. I really want to get a 24" iMac after leopard comes out but I have my concerns. I've never owned a mac before and so the only time I've ever used them is in the library at Uni. They have the 17" iMacs with 1.83GHz core duo 2's, 1GB RAM and the built in intel graphics chip.

I've noticed that applications on these ones do seem to lock up every now and again. This would be understandable if I was running a number of different apps but it happens when running just firefox. Its usually not for very long (maybe a few seconds) but it is still annoying.

If/when I get one Im planning on getting the CPU upgrade with at least 2GB of RAM and the graphics card upgrade. I figure it is probably the specs of the Uni's Macs which is making them lock up but I still want the opinions of others.

Ive been running linux and on the occasion bsd for the past 2 years and due to this Im not used to anything crashing or going wrong. I also have gotten used the idea of not having to worry about spyware, viruses, trojans etc. which means tat there is no chance of me ever going back to Windows.

I understand that nothing is perfect and that no matter what type of computer I get its going to do this sort of thing every now and again. So yeah, in your most objective manner could you give me some idea of how stable Macs really are. thanks.
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The only "unstable" app I use is Firefox, which is gradually getting worse with each release. If apps lock up then there is an issue with them (Application Enhancer-based apps are an example of inherently unstable programs), or a wider issue, but OSX is not in itself inherently unstable. You may experiences delays and slowing down if there isn't enough memory - I'd say 1Gb of RAM is an absolute minimum.

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OSX itself is VERY stable. Once in a while an app might crash but not the OS itself unless there is something wrong with the hardware. My systems are DEAD stable. I have a lot of experience with different flavors of Linux and have had a few apps from time to time crash but never Linux itself. OSX is very similar in that respect.

Actually on a PROPER system XP can be very stable but I see more actually OS crashes in XP than OSX, but it really depends on the Hardware XP is installed on. I have had XP go 2 years 24 a day with not one OS crash. Firefox went a few times in that 2 years but never the OS on a WELL designed system. That is one thing about OSX, since Apple controls both HardWare and Software, it helps a lot as the hardware is made around the OS. I use OSX, XP and Linux here and am not against any of them.
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ive used my new mac with firefox multiple hours a day for 3 weeks now and firefox only locks up when its loading afaik and it recovers after a few seconds. the os has only locked up once due to some wierd thing i did and closing and opening the lid. it is very stable, if it werent for boot camp it couldve had an uptime of 3 weeks, something i cant imagine with windows - forum for fun people

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Member Since: Aug 02, 2007
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OS X is very stable. To the extent it still uses MACH it's even more stable. At times there's some funky things going on in framework land but it's hard to say what that is. I suspect shared memory where there shouldn't be any.

But these machines in the library: remember OS X is still supporting a lot of hybrid things and it's that kind of software can play havoc on a system. When you sit down at a box in the library you should count on the previous user doing everything possible and impossible to screw it up.

You got PPC binaries running through translated, you got PEFs running first through the Carbon layer, then through the PPC layer, then through the Rosetta layer - who knows what they can do.

But when you have your own box it's a different story. I think "perhaps" the threading and task management on BSD and Linux can be somewhat better but I'm also guessing Linux gets more kernel panics than OS X gets. And for my many years experience with OS X I've only once seen a kernel panic - and that was because of a hardware failure only. And I use my machine from 10 - 15 hours per day every day.

Darwin might be yesterday's FreeBSD but FreeBSD, last I checked, was still the most widespread Unix out there and even yesterday's FreeBSD is good.
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understand that pretty much everyone here are biased
Actually we're not being biased, this is a mac forum. If it was a computer forum, yes we would be biased. Everyone here is going to be in favour of macs as it is a mac forum and "mac haters" wouldn't join a mac forum.
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I have been a mac man for over a year and I use it everyday. I have had about 2 crashes and both were using firefox, I dont use it anymore. I stick to 1st party apps and I have no problems.
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I have to say also, that firefox is not the best browser on a mac. If your Uni allows it, or if you can get a tech to do it, you might ask them to install Camino, also a mozilla browser that works very well with OS X. But, just use Safari unless there is some odd reason you wouldn't want too...maybe a special page that just won't load in Safari.

My iMac 24" Core 2 Duo has only done a kernel panic (crash) once, and it was because I was trying out an unstable release of software, which upon reboot was trashed immediately.

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Let's see....I teach Windows, ran exclusively Linux at home for three years, and have been on a Mac for a year. Which has the fewest problems? The Mac. That's why I am here. Firefox locks up on all three operating systems. I used it from the beginning and still use it at school. The Safari browser on a Mac is better in my opinion. It took me about six months to realize that it was better that way. Safari is definitely faster. It has the controls I like.

I now recommend the Mac to most folks. The only folks I don't recommend it to are those that are going to constantly do their updates and are heavy into programs that do not have Mac equivalents. I thought software would be a big expense on my Mac but I have only purchased a couple of programs such as Quicken for my Mac. The things I wanted that did not come with the Mac were available through open source programs so it kept my cost down.

I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

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I believe FireFox isn't a Cocoa app; it's adapted from code developed for other platforms. It runs, but it doesn't take advantage of everything OS X has to offer.

If you use apps built from the ground up to be fully OS X compatible, you should see little to no issues (of-course any app can have it's quirks... they are written by humans after all).

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I have yet to see osx freeze, and have yet to see a program that came with osx freeze. I have seen third party apps freeze, but "force quit" always works for me, where as control alt delete often times did not work with pc's.

OSX is based on the unix core, so it is rock solid.

The single most frustrating thing about windows is when everything locks up solid, and you have to do a hard restart. Ugghh....

Biased? Well, I suppose we are mostly here because we think macs are better. But I would bet that many here have plenty of windows experience, and say macs are better for logical reasons that they have seen first hand after using both os's.

That is a far cry from the windows only people who slam macs all the time, even though they have minimal or no experience using them.

Just yesterday the GM of our company saw my macbook and asked why I used apples. After explaining he said "you are the first person I have heard say anything good about apples".

That shows I think that soooo many people are out there slamming something they know nothing about.

I haven't heard very many mac owners talk bad about their mac. Yet somehow public opinion is that they are inferior somehow.

Macbook 13" / 320GB 7200 RPM HD 16MB / C2D 2 GHZ / 2GB / Snow Leopard / Boot Camp / XP PRO SP3
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I've gotten like one Kernel Panic in the past 6 months. I think it was after a firmware update.
App crashes... Firefox sure but it's my favorite browser and it crashes rarely, once a month maybe. Every once and awhile iTunes or iChat locks up and but most frequently MacTheRipper is on my annoying list (2-3x a month).
Apple in my opinion is the most stable OS. If I could, I'd never use a Windows machine again. It's lack of frustrastion is well worth any amount of money.

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Safari would be the cantankerous app on my Mac, but it only beachballs if it's been up for awhile with many tabs (which is all the time) and I quit it (which happens about once or twice a week.) Have to kill it with Activity Monitor.

I've had whole OS lockups on a few occasions, but they are infrequent and I chalk it up to "it's a computer, they do that regardless of OS" so it isn't anything I obsess over. This both in the form of Kernel Panics, and it just stops responding. I think it would be five or six KPs and two whole OS lockups in the 8 months I've had it.

The rest of the time I can expect very good reliability, and I work it very extensively.
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