Originally Posted by mstone
I am not sure what all is required to use the cores effectively. I don't usually have any problems with processes taking too long except in a few circumstances. For example when I am rendering a movie in FCP, why can't it use 100% of all 8 cores? It doesn't even come close maybe 50% if I'm lucky. Secondly Safari goes into beach ball mode far too often but is not using any significant amount of CPU % when it does.
Lots of issues with parallelizing apps. An application has to be suitable to making parallel, or multi-threaded. Frankly, a lot of apps aren't suitable. If the problem at hand is applicable, it then has to be to be coded properly to take advantage of all the cores. In many cases, all threads are not designed to max out a core and only one thread really needs a lot of CPU: so one main thread of computation with a bunch of helper/listener threads. I think this is the situation for the vast majority of consumer applications with the exception of video/audio (if one can call that "consumer"). In embarrassing parallel applications, yeah, you can max out all the cores.
In the case of FCP7 and prior, the basic architecture of the code is 10+ years old, and Quicktime was even older. Both were designed in the era when uni-processors were dominant in PCs. Obviously, there were many a multi-socket, multi-processor workstation around at the time, including PPC 604 Macs, but I imagine Ubillos wanted the biggest target Mac market, and this likey resulted in a software architecture that really only utilized one core. That's why you see such poor utilization in FCP7 on multi-core Macs.
With FCPX, Apple (with Ubillos still there I think) basically rearchitected the software for a 64-bit, multi-core environment among other things. A do over. As a result, FCPX is really an immature v1.0 product that doesn't have all the features of FCP7, but on the other hand, it can use all of the cores and the GPU. If you ran FCPX, you should see all the cores utilized. In may be possible that a prospective FCPX for iOS with a quad-core A9/A15 could outperform FCP7 running on an 8-core Mac in rendering due to this.
For Safari 5.0.x and prior, it's not that great in terms of threading/processes. Safari 5.1 however, which uses Webkit 2.0 and its multi-process model, it should beachball less, especially in regards to switching between tabs and windows. This is definitely my impression between Safari 5.0 and 5.1 on 10.6.