??-How Fast is FAST-?? I need mo' speed in my 933 G4-!

Discussion in 'Apple' started by BuZzY, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. BuZzY

    BuZzY Guest

    Forgive me for being dense, but I just have to ask: what do I have to do
    get my Macintosh (G4, 1 GB RAM, 933 Mz, OSX 10.2) to be as quick as
    the DELL work station I use at the local community college-? It's
    faster than I can blink. (And the DELL costs 1/3 as much, but that's
    another matter...)

    I have been a Mac guy from the beginning, owned several; I updated to a
    G4 three years ago and have finally embraced OSX; I plan to upgrade to
    Panther when I can get a few $$. All in all, this is a pretty stable
    machine and doesn't crash like the old RISC machines, but lately I have
    seen a LOT more of that Spinning Beach Ball of Death. And it's SLOW.

    I have run the Apple disk tools, new Disk Warrior; my HD is a 60 GB; I
    have used 21 gigs. I regularly fiddle around with the UNIX root screen,
    employing the "fsck -Y" diagnostic tool.

    While using Photoshop, it's disappointingly slow and squirrely lately. I
    gave up on the Mail program; it has never worked, even in Jaguar.

    SO-----as I said, I am a little dense--the Macs of old were simply magic
    and required little attention--my old 8500 was a real prize (and as
    quick as my G4, due to its Daystar chip). What am I failing to do to
    get performance out of this G4-?

    Thanks, and sorry to be so whiny--

    BuZzY, Jul 29, 2004
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  2. BuZzY

    Danny Guest

    I don't know how "fast" that Dell is, but you should not have any of the
    problems you're describing with your Mac. Are you running the
    daily/weekly/monthly cron scripts? Have you re-prebound your files?
    Permissions OK? Disk journaling enabled?

    I suggest you get a utility like Xupport or Cocktail (check them out at
    e.g. www.versiontracker.com). If any of those won't help, there must be
    something up with your system.
    Danny, Jul 29, 2004
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  3. BuZzY

    sbt Guest

    Well, the first thing I would do would be to upgrade to Panther (10.3.4
    is current). I saw a significant performance improvement on my G3
    PowerBook, G4/400, and iMac 800MHz when I made that move last year.

    Even under Jaguar, though, (where you should be at 10.2.8, btw) the
    situation you describe is atypical. I also have a 2.8GHz Pentium IV (I
    need it for cross-platform books I write and edit) and the performance
    difference between my iMac and the Pentium are minor, particularly in
    Photoshop: some things are actually a trifle faster on the iMac (mostly
    computational activities, like gradient fills) while most are faster on
    the Pentium, at more than 3x the clock speed.

    BTW, the G4 died a few weeks back and I bought a dual 2GHz G5 a little
    earlier than I had planned -- the Pentium doesn't come close to that
    baby on anything I do other than things that are too fast to measure on
    either machine.
    sbt, Jul 29, 2004
  4. BuZzY

    Greg Shenaut Guest

    To buy more RAM?

    Greg Shenaut
    Greg Shenaut, Jul 30, 2004
  5. Computers balance for three resources--memory, CPU, and I/O. Find where
    the bottleneck is in your system--it's probably either memory or CPU.
    There's not much you can do to improve I/O without buying a newer

    I don't know what options there are to upgrade to a dual CPU system or
    faster processors, but as BuZzy mentioned, buying more memory is
    probably a cheaper solution. 1 GByte total or more would give you lots
    of head room to run applications without swapping.

    And start saving your money for another system. You may have to upgrade.
    Or live with the performance you got.
    Michael Vilain, Jul 30, 2004
  6. BuZzY

    BuZzY Guest

    Thanks for the responses, guys--

    I just upgraded the G4 to 1024 Megs, and I can notice more smoothness
    hauling around a 256 M Photoshop file, but it stops to "catch up," I
    guess, with the beach ball just spinning. I'm trying to open few aps at
    one time to manage memory better. I'm certain there is a critical
    setting or adjustment I have overlooked.

    Danny mentioned:
    ....daily/weekly/monthly cron scripts?
    ....Have you re-prebound your files?
    ....Permissions OK?
    ....Disk journaling enabled?

    Oh, man--I must admit my ignorance here--I think the "permissions" are
    simply set for all to get on--not an office or server deal. I guess it's
    time for me to get educated.

    I dunno--I mean, my machine is, afer all, the most jazzed up Macintosh I
    have used, so I have no basis of reference. I read all sorts of
    accounts of Macs that are just lightning fast with no pauses--I have to
    wonder (and I am not a tech head): does 133 Mhz bus speed limit things-?

    The three slots in my board only allow 1.5 Gigs of memory. I'd love
    to get one of those sexy G5's but they are not cheap and I'm poor right now.

    thanks again----buzzy
    BuZzY, Jul 30, 2004
  7. BuZzY

    Danny Guest


    The cron scripts will remove/swap the junk files that OSX creates. The
    system is designed to do this automatically at night, but that means
    you'll need to have the machine running. It's also something Apple has
    kept pretty secret, which is hard to understand. If you don't run the
    scripts, these junk files will build up and slow down the box a lot.
    With a utility like Cocktail or Xupport, you can run them when you wish.

    Prebinding is kind of an optimization (which some utility apps prefer to
    call it). It's usually done by OSX automatically when e.g. installing a
    new app. But re-prebinding your system will also usually increase speed
    a lot.

    Each little file has its ownership and permissions. Unfortunately, they
    might change here and there as time goes on. If you don't run a script
    to check/fix them on a regular basis, your machine will get a bit

    Disk journaling is not really improving the speed of the system per se.
    It's a "recording" of the system preferences and set-up and will make
    the machine boot faster - in particular in case you've shut it down with
    the "panic button" or had a power cut.

    Xupport will fix all the above for you. Cocktail, too (but I'm not sure
    it'll help you enable disk journaling, though). Both also ships with
    other features, i.e. a few hacks for the dock, to force empty trash,
    etc. You *must* get one of them - or a similar.

    BTW: There are several sites designated to help you maintain and/or
    speed up your Mac, not least www.macfixit.com and www.xlr8yourmac.com.
    But also, take a look at www.macattorney.com/tutorial.html - a gem for
    people on Jaguar. Last but not least: upgrade to Panther (faster) or at
    least 10.2.8


    Danny, Jul 30, 2004
  8. BuZzY

    BuZzY Guest

    Thanks again----I just downloaded and installed a trial copy of
    Xupport--now I have to figger it out--things have really advanced since
    the days of my old IIx (the damned thing cost 4 grand in 1990-!)

    bed time

    BuZzY, Jul 30, 2004
  9. BuZzY

    Danny Guest

    I use Xupport myself. If you have any Q, just ask and I'll be happy to
    help as much as I can. O rbetter yet: Use its excellent "help" files.

    Good luck and post back to tell how it goes!

    Danny, Jul 30, 2004
  10. BuZzY

    l Guest

    The problem is not at all about your processor type or speed, you are
    very likely just consuming more RAM than you have, therefore using the
    disk for a sorry imitation of RAM.

    How are your Photoshop memory/history settings? If the total RAM in your
    machine is 1024MB, you cannot avoid swapping, and therefore, delays,
    when running Photoshop with the default settings and working with files
    that are 1/4 your total RAM in size. This is true with any machine
    running Photoshop under Windows just as well. The default history
    setting is 10 states plus "automatically create first snapshot". This
    means that after 10 operations, Photoshop will have not only one, but
    _twelve_ different versions of a file stored in either RAM, or if
    there´s not enough of that, on disk, for undo´s. Multiply this by the
    number of open documents in Photoshop, and you can easily see how much
    you need RAM for a single document. In your case, 256x12 with stock
    settings is 3GB per document, so no wonder it feels slow. Add something
    like 512 or 768 for the OS and Photoshop, and if you have any other
    programs running, something for them and their documents. There are not
    a that many stock desktops on the current market that can handle files
    that size without hitting the disk with Photoshop´s default settings.

    What you can do (besides maxing out your RAM or getting a machine with
    4GB or more RAM) is:
    -Set the history states to a minimum (and learn to make no mistakes ;] )
    -Disable automatic creating of first snapshot, because that means it
    will create the snapshot _when the file is opened or created_, and when
    that data is pushed to disk, it will be just as fast or slow to refetch
    it as it would be to just use File > Revert on it.
    -Allocate as much memory as possible for Photoshop, even if that means
    swapping all your other open programs with their open documents to disk,
    and try to avoid jumping between programs when working with those 256MB
    files. Else, every time you move outside Photoshop, it will have to
    swapped, causing a noticeable delay.
    -Work with only one such a document at a time, as keeping another one
    waiting in the background will also consume RAM.

    l, Jul 30, 2004
  11. BuZzY

    Danny Guest

    Yes, they will. At 3:15 a.m. if I don't remember wrong.
    Disclaimer: I have always shut off my boxes at night and have never
    experienced this myself, only read it somewhere and through a friend who
    had a noisy G4 that woke up the family each night.

    But you should get one of those small and relatively cheap system
    utilities like Xupport, Cocktail or SystemOptimizerX. They're good to
    have anyway.
    Danny, Jul 30, 2004
  12. BuZzY

    Tom Stiller Guest

    No. Nothing runs if the processor is sleeping.

    There are 10 kinds of people in the world:
    those who understand binary, and those who don't.

    Tom Stiller

    PGP fingerprint = 5108 DDB2 9761 EDE5 E7E3
    7BDA 71ED 6496 99C0 C7CF
    Tom Stiller, Jul 30, 2004
  13. BuZzY

    Danny Guest

    Then I'm glad I added that disclaimer in my previous post.
    Mea culpa. My assumption was wrong.
    Danny, Jul 30, 2004
  14. BuZzY

    gp Guest

    no, they won't.
    gp, Aug 1, 2004
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