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Mac OS X on different hardware

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
Well, I have by now, tried Mac OS X on many different hardware configurations, and I have compiled this little list of recommendations, based on my experience

First: This applys only to machines with a MINIMUM of 256 MB RAM (OS X really needs that - at least!) and Mac OS X 10.1.X

So here goes:

Not recommendable (very slow!):
233-266 MHz G3 (iMacs and beige Power Macs, PowerBooks)

Partly Usable...slow:
300 MHz G3 (iMacs, beige and blue Power Macs, iBooks, PowerBooks)

Usable..but somewhat slow:
350-500 MHz G3 (Blue Power Macs, iMacs, iBooks, PowerBooks)
350-400 MHz G4 (Power Macs, PowerBook)

Fully Usable...but still a little sluggish in some operations:
600-700 MHz G3 (iMacs, iBook)
450-733 MHz G4 (Single and dual Power Macs, Cube, PowerBooks)

Fully Usable and fast:
Dual 800 MHz Power Mac
867 MHz Power Mac

Fully Usable and VERY fast!:
1+ GHz G4 or any G5 (well, one can always hope )

(also note that I have, of course, not tried every machine, but I have tried a lot, and think I can imagine the general performance on those I haven't tried)

EDIT: Of course OS X is "usable" on any supported machine, but when I say "usable", it means for general application use - just booting, fetching mail and writing a one page letter in Appleworks, doesn't count, sorry )

[ 12-28-2001: Message edited by: Power Apple ]</p>
post #2 of 54
agree with all of those
post #3 of 54
I don't know if my iMac was "very slow" It was slow thought maybe on the slow side of slow. Some things were a tad snappy. Like the genie effect always seemed to go rather smoothly, at least. Made me think that Apple put effort into the superficial things they want to show off in the keynote and then forget about the important stuff like basic hardware support and needed software components.
post #4 of 54
Great list! Thanks! Now I'll have a "real" reference when looking at buying new hardware and upgrading to OS X.
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post #5 of 54
[quote]Originally posted by Scott H.:
<strong>I don't know if my iMac was "very slow" It was slow thought maybe on the slow side of slow. Some things were a tad snappy. Like the genie effect always seemed to go rather smoothly, at least. Made me think that Apple put effort into the superficial things they want to show off in the keynote and then forget about the important stuff like basic hardware support and needed software components.</strong><hr></blockquote>

jeez, the genie effect works for you? on my G4/400 is always stutters with anything that is more than a basic page. nevermind trying to minimize a playing qt movie with a high bitrate. it could take seconds for it to register the click
post #6 of 54
The genie effect rarely works smoothly on my 500 MHz iBook. Even the scale effect jumps and skips. I want a windowshade option!
post #7 of 54
That seems pretty accurate. The RAM thing is no joke, I have 128mb on my iBook 600 and it's verrrrrryyyy bad.
post #8 of 54
dp

[ 12-28-2001: Message edited by: corvette ]</p>
post #9 of 54
Thread Starter 
For some reason, when I try to edit the post the text is all garbled???

Anyway...The 333 MHz iMac should be in the same category as the 300 MHz G3 (Partly Usable...slow).

EDIT: I haven't tried the PowerBook G3/294, so I don't know if it should be in the 233-266 or 300-333 MHz category...anyone care to help?

[ 12-28-2001: Message edited by: Power Apple ]</p>
post #10 of 54
Just a note: I have a 500 MHz iBook, and OS X is plenty fast . . . due to the fact that I loaded the sucker with 384 MB RAM. Similarly, even my 266 MHz beige G3 runs quite nicely. But I had to upgrade the graphics card to a Radeon and shove the RAM up to 512 MB. Memory and video cards seems to do wonders for OS X performance far greater than the CPU, which furthers my feeling that Quartz is simply too demanding on today's hardware and that OS X is a memory hog.
post #11 of 54
well, I thik he was reffering to stock hardware rather than whether it is better with new cards and a ton more ram or whatever.


you could also add a 180Mhz 604e to that list.

it ran. just really couldn't do anything though

maybe if it was able to use the 2nd 180Mhz 604e it would be sort of usable
post #12 of 54
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by BlueGecko:
<strong>Just a note: I have a 500 MHz iBook, and OS X is plenty fast . . . due to the fact that I loaded the sucker with 384 MB RAM. Similarly, even my 266 MHz beige G3 runs quite nicely. But I had to upgrade the graphics card to a Radeon and shove the RAM up to 512 MB. Memory and video cards seems to do wonders for OS X performance far greater than the CPU, which furthers my feeling that Quartz is simply too demanding on today's hardware and that OS X is a memory hog.</strong><hr></blockquote>

I can't argue with your feelings, I can only try to reason with you

266 MHz G3 runs quite nicely?...well, maybe for very simple tasks, but not for general application use compared to what you can do with such a machine in Mac OS 9 (Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing Mac OS X - I really like it's stability and have played with it since public beta, bought 10.0 the day it came out and used it since 10.1 but let's get real about speed)

I have tried both an iMac 233 and beige G3 266 with 256 and 384 MB RAM (but no Radeon, however the graphics card doesn't make THAT big a difference in Aqua - I have upgraded a blue/white G3 from Rage128 to Radeon and the difference was mostly notisable in games and video - but 2d seems rather unaccelerated in Mac OS X. Of course, since you went from extremely slow graphics to a fast graphics card, the difference is bigger in your case) but I can't honestly recommend the experience.

EDIT: your machine with Radeon and 512 MB Ram, would probably climb one step up the ladder and join the "Partly Usable" category

(edit2: the iMac had 288 MB, not 256 - installed them myself for a friend. btw, don't forget to update firmware when installing a 256 module in a revB (233) iMac - I didn't know at first...grrrr )

[ 12-28-2001: Message edited by: Power Apple ]</p>
post #13 of 54
I can't agree with the list, here are my reasons:

1st - Does not factor in video upgrades which have a huge impact on performance and can be made to Beige G3s and B&Ws.

2nd - Claims only the highend works very well, simply not true I get very good performance on a couple of non-G4 systems [Beige G3 400 with 384MB and Rage128 and a Pismo] and on what the above list would claim a low end G4 system [PB G4].

3rd - The list doesn't factor in RAM, and let me tell you 128MB on a 400+ G3 it is slow, but with 384MB+ it is zippy. UNIX loves RAM.
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post #14 of 54
I would classify OSX on my G4-450 (dual) as "Fully Usable and fast" actually, but maybe extra extra extra RAM (in my case 1gb) bumps you up one category.
post #15 of 54
Thread Starter 
[quote]<strong>Originally posted by Bogie:

I get very good performance on a couple of non-G4 systems [Beige G3 400 with 384MB and Rage128 and a Pismo] and on what the above list would claim a low end G4 system [PB G4].</strong><hr></blockquote>

Well, I simply disagree with you. I set up a PowerBook G4/400 with 384 MB RAM for a friend and installed Mac OS X 10.1 (clean).

For his needs (Office, Explorer, Mail, iTunes, DVD Player etc.) it was usable - absolutely! but it still felt "somewhat slow"..considering how fast the machine really is.

(EDIT: actually, DVD Player is not that usable on a PowerBook yet (at least not for my friend), since S-VHS out is not yet properly supported under Mac OS X (hope they fix it real soon!))

[ 12-28-2001: Message edited by: Power Apple ]</p>
post #16 of 54
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by Bogie:
<strong>I can't agree with the list, here are my reasons:

1st - Does not factor in video upgrades which have a huge impact on performance and can be made to Beige G3s and B&Ws.
</strong><hr></blockquote>

Well, The list assumes the machines are fitted with the standard video. I really can't say how big the difference is on a beige G3

But a video upgrade does NOT have an overall huge impact on a blue G3 using Mac OS X (except for games and QuickTime, of course).

my home machine is blue/white G3/400 with Radeon, 576 MB RAM, 40 GB (fast) 7200 rpm HD and 10.1.2, so I speak from experience - but of course I can only speak for myself (btw, I have sold it, but keeps it until my new machine arrives - I'm waiting until MacWorld to place my order (I should mention that I sold it to an organisation that had to spend the money this year, so I'm not cheating anyone, I'm just lucky ) )

[ 12-28-2001: Message edited by: Power Apple ]</p>
post #17 of 54
I played with the QS 867 at an Apple store and I was surprised how slow the window resizing was. Even on an 867 there was something to complain about with X. I hope we won't all need 1.4ghz + to run X at descent speeds. Think 10.2 will be noticably faster then 10.1.2?
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post #18 of 54
Did you check the RAM at the Apple Store?

For some reason alot of those machines come stock...they don't pack the RAM in like proper Mac OS X-heads should...

saddest thing I ever saw..a DP 800 with 128 MBs of RAM at Fry's. I almost wanted to pull the plug on it...
post #19 of 54
[quote]Originally posted by Power Apple:
<strong>

Well, The list assumes the machines are fitted with the standard video. I really can't say how big the difference is on a beige G3

But a video upgrade does NOT have an overall huge impact on a blue G3 using Mac OS X (except for games and QuickTime, of course).
</strong><hr></blockquote>

What your not considering is that the Rage II/Pro/LT doesn't have 2D/3D acceleration in OS X. So upgrading to a Radeon will make a big difference since it does have accel. Going from the Rage 128 to a Radeon probably won't yield any performace increase in the finder since their both supported in X & their not the limiting factor.
post #20 of 54
Well, as far as general use ... [DVD works excellent on my Pismo 400 with 384], games run reasonable, runs OS X native stuff very fast, now is it going to be as fast as a dual 800? Course not, shouldn't be close, but fact is I think that generally people's perception of usable with OS X are skewed, fact is we didn't complain like this over the fact that 9.1 sucks on a 7200/120 ... and that is just as supported, and performs as bad or worse than OS X 10.1 on a Beige G3 233.

Oh, and as far as video goes, on a Beige G3 it makes a massive difference.
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post #21 of 54
[quote]Originally posted by mslee:
<strong>Did you check the RAM at the Apple Store?

For some reason alot of those machines come stock...they don't pack the RAM in like proper Mac OS X-heads should...

saddest thing I ever saw..a DP 800 with 128 MBs of RAM at Fry's. I almost wanted to pull the plug on it...</strong><hr></blockquote>

You know, I didn't even think about cvhecking that. Funny tho, I checked the system profiler for the speed but forgot to look down to the ram, lol.

Still, I hope 10.2 is a lot faster.
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post #22 of 54
I have a quicksilver G4 733 with 640 mb of RAM. Everything is perfect! Window resizing, genie effect and whatever else runs just dandy.

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post #23 of 54
[quote]Originally posted by X704:
<strong>

What your not considering is that the Rage II/Pro/LT doesn't have 2D/3D acceleration in OS X. So upgrading to a Radeon will make a big difference since it does have accel. Going from the Rage 128 to a Radeon probably won't yield any performace increase in the finder since their both supported in X & their not the limiting factor.</strong><hr></blockquote>

1.) is that our fault? hell no. it's apple's fault. we should not have to buy a 250 dollar graphic card to see "acceptable performance"
2.) the radeon really doesn't do much difference except in QT and gaming.
post #24 of 54
[quote]Originally posted by Bogie:
<strong> Course not, shouldn't be close, but fact is I think that generally people's perception of usable with OS X are skewed, fact is we didn't complain like this over the fact that 9.1 sucks on a 7200/120 ... and that is just as supported, and performs as bad or worse than OS X 10.1 on a Beige G3 233.
</strong><hr></blockquote>

1.) I think your perception of "fast" and "usable" is skewed. But I can understand why it would be, after all, you're a mac user
2.) 9.1 may "suck" on a 120 Mhz processor. but its nearly 7 years old. we are talking about OS X sucking on year old hardware and not running smooth as silk on cutting edge current hardware. it's a big difference
post #25 of 54
[quote]Originally posted by Strider:
<strong>I have a quicksilver G4 733 with 640 mb of RAM. Everything is perfect! Window resizing, genie effect and whatever else runs just dandy.

Strider</strong><hr></blockquote>

yawn... play a DV stream QT file in QT Player. minimize while playing and watch your machine come to a crawl.
post #26 of 54
[quote]Originally posted by sizzle chest:
<strong>I would classify OSX on my G4-450 (dual) as "Fully Usable and fast" actually, but maybe extra extra extra RAM (in my case 1gb) bumps you up one category.</strong><hr></blockquote>

I would hope that a dual 450 would be able to be clasified as "fully usable" in OS X.

yet you have to admit that there are still areas where OS X just sucks performance wise.
post #27 of 54
See below for my machine specs. I agree with the above chart.
post #28 of 54
My iBook (500MHz with 384MB RAM) is fully usable with 10.1.2. Even the Genie Effect is very smooth.
post #29 of 54
Thread Starter 
I knew this list would spur some debate. It is, after all, a subjective list based on my personal observations.
And it's interesting to see how opinions differ, some people think I'm being too hard, others not hard enough and others again that it's right on.

I'll stick to my view. But I respect your personal opinions.

But I'll try to explain a little more what I mean by "Usable" and "Fully Usable". The difference between the two is in the detail - as always.
"Usable" is, of course, fully usable, but the heavyness of the system, detracts a little from the releasing the full potential. Mind you, this is not all the fault of Apple, many of the "general" applications are poorly optimized and should see a speed-up in the future. Office X and Explorer 5.1 springs to mind...but even Appleworks some times feels a little clumsy when working with large documents. Finder and Preview can be annoyingly unresponsive (especially Finder) and Acrobat Reader is REALLY bad! DVD Player, on the other hand is way better than the OS 9 version. I think the overall keyword is responsiveness (or lack of)

Details, yes. But isn't details an important part of Mac OS X?

I could also explain in a different way:
For any machine falling in the "Fully Usable" category, I would not hesitate to recommend going full time Mac OS X as soon as your main apps are native.

For a Usable machine, I think Mac OS 9 runs better in some cases and Mac OS X in others - it is definitely "Usable", and if stability is a problem when running OS 9, then by all means go Mac OS X (again assuming your apps are native). This is the "grey" zone, and depends on your use and taste.

For a "Partly Usable" machine I would only recommend Mac OS X if you really need it.

A 233 iMac should stick to Mac OS 8.6...


On a side note; I would love to see one more speed improvement in Mac OS X that would make all the machines climb one step up the ladder. Then everything would be perfect (speed-wise)

[ 12-29-2001: Message edited by: Power Apple ]</p>
post #30 of 54
I think hard drive speed should also be taken into account. Maybe have a whole other chart for laptops because laptops are supposed to be slower.
post #31 of 54
I saw on ResExcellence someone had a screenshot of OS X on a 604e and then someone had X running on an iMac with 64 MB RAM.

I don't know. I really wanna start using it but I have a feeling my ancient beige G3 just can't handle it.
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post #32 of 54
[quote]Originally posted by EmAn:
<strong>My iBook (500MHz with 384MB RAM) is fully usable with 10.1.2. Even the Genie Effect is very smooth.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Hmm... I thought all the Apple apologists were on MacNN. Try booting to OS9 on your machine and see the dramatic difference.
post #33 of 54
[quote]Originally posted by Kestral:
<strong>

Hmm... I thought all the Apple apologists were on MacNN. Try booting to OS9 on your machine and see the dramatic difference.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Yeah, I know OS 9 is faster than X. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that my iBook is fully usable in OS X. I don't have any problems or complaints about the speed, but in a lot of things OS 9 is still faster.
post #34 of 54
[quote]Originally posted by EmAn:
<strong>

Yeah, I know OS 9 is faster than X. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that my iBook is fully usable in OS X. I don't have any problems or complaints about the speed, but in a lot of things OS 9 is still faster.</strong><hr></blockquote>

EmAn, thanks for being civil - my previous words to you came out sounding a little harsh and you could have turned it into a flame war but didn't. Thanks.

As far as the speed goes, I'd be curious to know what apps you use. Have you tried Office X on your iBook? Because imo Word is slow as molasses.
post #35 of 54
[quote]Originally posted by Kestral:
<strong> Because imo Word is slow as molasses.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Really? I found the speed is okay
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post #36 of 54
Man you guys and girls need to just learn to deal with stuff. You complain about the limits of 9.x an other older Mac OS's but when Apple releases OSX you complain becuase it's not 100% perfect. How can you expect them to make a totally new OS with out killing off older slow machines?

There has to be a cut off point, your luckie you can run OS X on any thing older than a year old. Point is you can't make everyone happy if you try you will go under. You have to turn your back on people with machines that are old than Xxxx date to make the OS better for future hardware.

You complain when they do new stuff you complain when they don't. So no matter what Apple does your not going to be happy. If someone tells you to use a windows machine you get pissed. Give them time OS X has been out less than 1 year and they have updated the thing more than most Microsoft OS'es.

Do you relize how hard it is to code an OS? let alone try to make everyone happy with out making older hardware go away? You can do new things without changing things, that's why they are called new things.

I know you are all going to get pissed over this and flame me but who cares. Hold your breath and whine like little babies because Apple didn't optimize they're new OS for your older hardware. Did you ever think maybe there is a reason it run faster on the latest hardware? Maybe they have some really fast machines coming out that will make OS X scream? It's not like Windows Xp or 2000 runs great with 128MEGS you know?

I don't usally get this upset but god get a grip on realitly. Things take time the old Mac OS has been around along time you know, OS X is very new.

Would you be happier if Apple pulled the plug on OS X because they can't make it run ultra fast on a 233 or 333?
post #37 of 54
Apple Apologist
post #38 of 54
I'm not making excuses for Apple, I'm just stating what is clear as day. Many things are to come soon give them time, its all about timing and marketing...

Also OS X will be a greater OS than it is today. Atleast it does not have the security bugs that XP does .

:cool:
post #39 of 54
[quote]Originally posted by Kestral:
<strong>
Have you tried Office X on your iBook? Because imo Word is slow as molasses.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Yeah, I've used Office X on my iBook. It's not the fastest but I think the speed is acceptable.

[ 12-30-2001: Message edited by: EmAn ]</p>
post #40 of 54
[quote]Originally posted by EmAn:
<strong>

Yeah, I've used Office X on my iBook. It's not the fastest but I think the speed is acceptable.

[ 12-30-2001: Message edited by: EmAn ]</strong><hr></blockquote>

My benchmark for it's acceptability is this: I can type faster than Word can display what I type. The fact that I can type faster than a 500 mhz G3 is pretty embarassing on the machine/OS, and I know it's not the machine because in Word 2001 in OS 9, it's can more than keep up with me.
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