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Intel MacMini + MS Office Hell

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have this godawful problem? I recently purchased two Mac Mini SingleCore machines, running MacOSX Tiger 10.4.6, and they both are running the very latest version of MS OFFICE.

Every time an old document is opened, or a new document is started (in WORD), it takes up to 5-10 seconds, with the spinning beachball.
Even the pulldown menus take forever to come down, with a several second delay, and clicking on any menu item brings on the beachball with a several second delay. The entire program feels like its waist deep in molasses.. every function takes seemingly "forever", and any action seems to bring on the spinning beach ball for several seconds. There is also a 1-2 second delay between typing, and the subsequent appearance of text on the screen.

WORD often "forgets" that it has been opened documents before... on starting up WORD, it invariably spits out an error message implying that this is "the first time the app. has been opened", and it also "forgets" all the previously opened documents. ENTOURAGE also always loses its preferences.. and both it and EXCEL run even more sluggishly and molasses-like than WORD. The only screwup that hasnt happened is a kernel panic,,,yet.

The insane thing... the same symptoms are happening on the TWO identical MacMinis, each one has (512mB RAM), and running MS OFFICE. We now have a special case assigned with both Apple AND Microsoft tech support. Neither party is admitting that it is their hardware/software at fault here, both Apple and MS passing the buck to each other.

In desperation, we resurrected our old 400mHz G4 Cube yesterday running MacOS 9 and an ancient version of OFFICE.. and it runs like a dream in comparison.. snappy and steady, and it's allowing work to continue.

Has anyone had similar nightmares with these new Macs running MS OFFICE? We're so done with this.

To add... (edit): All the hardware tests (RAM, CPU etc) check out fine.
"We've never made the case, or argued the case that somehow Osama bin Laden was directly involved in 9/11. That evidence has never been forthcoming". VP Cheney, 3/29/2006. Interview by Tony Snow
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"We've never made the case, or argued the case that somehow Osama bin Laden was directly involved in 9/11. That evidence has never been forthcoming". VP Cheney, 3/29/2006. Interview by Tony Snow
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post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally posted by sammi jo
The insane thing... the same symptoms are happening on the TWO identical MacMinis, each one has (512mB RAM), and running MS OFFICE. We now have a special case assigned with both Apple AND Microsoft tech support. Neither party is admitting that it is their hardware/software at fault here, both Apple and MS passing the buck to each other.

In desperation, we resurrected our old 400mHz G4 Cube yesterday running MacOS 9 and an ancient version of OFFICE.. and it runs like a dream in comparison.. snappy and steady, and it's allowing work to continue.

Has anyone had similar nightmares with these new Macs running MS OFFICE? We're so done with this.

Rosetta has been making my life hell too. The problem is the latest office (and in my case adobe studio) are only available in PPC format not intel. They're going to run slow. I've heard (but not tried yet) that having 1gb + ram helps, but otherwise I've had no good advice.

One thing I'd check is that in your documents folder, 'get info' on "Microsoft User Data" and check the 'ownership & permissions' tab allows you to read and write, then hit Apply to enclosed items. This may tidy up the recent files issues you're having.

Until the new versions of software hit the market, you're gonna go through hell with the intels. Unless you run boot camp + windows xp + office for windows that is.

It sucks.
I really do hope the next big thing isn't just a piece of UI garnish
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I really do hope the next big thing isn't just a piece of UI garnish
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post #3 of 10
Someone who I work beside is running the latest Office on a Mini Solo with 512MB Ram and it hung up the first time using it. I don't think there's been consistent problems with it but they only do small documents.

Nonetheless, Tag Me Back is right, Rosetta just sucks. So does Office mind you so putting the two together is likely to be hell. I'm waiting until at least next year before getting an Intel Mac.

Either that or I'd run Office under parallels. I wouldn't go with Bootcamp just for Office.
post #4 of 10
Remember that there are alternatives in the works: Both OpenOffice and NeoOffice have Intel Mac versions coming out very soon. They really are similar to Office, can edit office docs natively, and are completely free! At this point, unless there is a specific feature you need, I don't see the point in paying for an office suite.

David
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post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
The sequel to this story runs as follows:
After an enormous amount of poking and complaining on my part and nothing but 'passing the buck', with both Apple and Microsoft blaming each other, the problem was finally addressed by a helpful techie at Apple who informed me:

The MacMinis do not have a dedicated graphics card, and use up memory for graphics from the system RAM. If you are running a large app (which these days are pretty much all fashionably bloated) with not enough system RAM, the CPU will constantly be paging between RAM and hard drive, slowing things down to molasses speed... namely unusable.

To solve the seemingly intractible problems (as detailed in the start of this thread), Apple send me 2 gigabytes of RAM to see if that would solve the problem. It did appear to speed things up a little, although the ancient G4 Cube still trounces it running Microsoft Office. However, this has caused another problem: The amount of current drawn by, and/or heat given off by the extra RAM now causes the cooling fan to blast away all day without respite. Now I have a machine which is marginally more usable than useless, but now sounds like a taxiing Boeing 747 .

What seems illogical is that Microsoft Word, which is just a glorified text generator, should bring a modern machine to its knees! It may work "satisfactorily" on MacBook Pro or iMac but on a Mac Mini... don'even go there. It's a farce.

Did Apple not test these damn things out with the most commonly used software suite on the planet? Does Microsoft's Apple software development department not have any liaison with Apple, and vice versa? Or are we all now unpaid corporate beta-pigs? It looks as if Apple, in order to keep profits as high as possible, has cut one too many corners in a classic case of making false economies.

"We've never made the case, or argued the case that somehow Osama bin Laden was directly involved in 9/11. That evidence has never been forthcoming". VP Cheney, 3/29/2006. Interview by Tony Snow
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"We've never made the case, or argued the case that somehow Osama bin Laden was directly involved in 9/11. That evidence has never been forthcoming". VP Cheney, 3/29/2006. Interview by Tony Snow
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post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally posted by sammi jo
The sequel to this story runs as follows:
After an enormous amount of poking and complaining on my part and nothing but 'passing the buck', with both Apple and Microsoft blaming each other, the problem was finally addressed by a helpful techie at Apple who informed me:

Either totally an amateur or a devilish little idiot trying to hide siome very important fact from you; YOU are running a PowerPC app in an x86 computer. That's 2 different architectures. Apple includes this little computer-language translator from a company called Transmeta that translates the PPC code to x86, but its slow as a donkey and sucks up RAM like Coca-Cola.

More RAM will definitely help, but not much. Either be patient until Microsoft releases Office in a PPC + x86 format, ot use some alternative. OpenOffice comes to mind.
'L'enfer, c'est les autres' - JPS
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'L'enfer, c'est les autres' - JPS
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post #7 of 10
I think something else is going on. It shouldn't be THAT slow. And beachballing is due to the app waiting for something, not computation.

Ask the Apple rep if you can send them a Sample. When the app is spinning, you have Activity Monitor open with the Office app double-clicked and in its own window, and then when you see the spinlock, you click the Sample button.

There is a utility called Spin Control from Apple that does this automatically, but I think it requires the Developer Tools.

Aside from that, I would just make sure that there aren't any weird apps or utilities that you installed on both machines that would interfere with things like network access, disk I/O (Virus Scanners could do it) etc. - spinlocking is frequently related to the app waiting on some kind of I/O process to complete.
--Johnny
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--Johnny
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post #8 of 10
I think Rosetta does use an awful lot of CPU though. I ran the Photoshop installer and the CPU was at max. It reminded me of how Virtual PC does things.

Have you ever tried out Pages btw?

I'm really getting into iwork. I needed to show this media presentation recently and I was trying to get Powerpoint to run at 800x600 but it kept scaling the Quicktime movies and then it lagged like hell. Then I looked online for how to do this and it seemed like I had to set the screen size in the printer page setup menu (wtf?), which you set to use the screen size and then put your desktop resolution down to 800x600. Ok it stopped scaling the movies but it still lagged like hell.

I then created my 70 or so slides in Keynote in about half an hour and it worked prefectly. Totally stable over a 1 hour presentation, no lag or anything and we're talking playing 36mbit/s Pixlet streams inside the slides on a powerbook.

I don't know how advanced Pages is but what do you really need a word processor to do? From playing around with it, it seems to be pretty good. Office has always been slow and buggy for me and open source equivalents worse - openoffice has no native font support and it stopped launching for me. I got Neooffice but OS X Java apps are so slow. It takes forever to do things. iwork is a long overdue addition to Apple's software lineup IMO.
post #9 of 10
perhaps the fact that's a single core mini?

I thought rosseta was multi-thread-thingy... and perhaps that's what it makes it so slow on the Solo Mini vs Core Duo

well... i don't know.. My experience with office is that it has always been slow...
The only thing that it does fast is quiting... command+q is fast as lightning... I'm running it on an Intel iMac + 512 MB ram
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally posted by sammi jo
The amount of current drawn by, and/or heat given off by the extra RAM now causes the cooling fan to blast away all day without respite. Now I have a machine which is marginally more usable than useless, but now sounds like a taxiing Boeing 747 .

On the front of the mini there is a wire that plugs into the motherboard. Most likely when you installed the ram you forgot to plug it back in. Fix that and the fan will be quiet again.
Registered: Nov. 1999 - The first time
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Registered: Nov. 1999 - The first time
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