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Darth Mole
10-18-2012, 05:51 AM
While waiting for the supposed new Macs to appear next year, I'm debating whether to drop in an SSD to speed up paging or to get a GTX570. However, while CUDA will be a definite improvement in After Effects etc, has anyone here tried it with LW (or other DCC apps) to see if it will help with OGL screen redraw/preview speeds? I still find redraw and animation preview speed to be pretty lame in OS X LW compared to PCs.

BTW, I already have a 'state-of-the-art' ATI HD 5870 installed. That's 'state-of-the-art' from four years ago, of course... Thanks Apple.

eblu
10-18-2012, 07:10 AM
I've been told by an engineering friend that he relies on SSDs as the primary speed up on macs.
his recipe:

256 - 500 g SSD to install the os and applications on.
2 @ 2 terabyte drives striped to raid level 1 (the raid that keeps two exact copies) for project files.
as much ram as possible.

I myself have been thinking about an SSD for my early 2009 mac pro. (got everything else) my only concern is shelf life. My desktop upgrade time is next year.
so, unless you intend to purchase a new machine soon, I don't see any reason NOT to add an SSD.

But, lets talk about UI speed in LW for a sec.
LW's main problem on the mac is that overall it can't make full use of the hardware in the graphics cards. There are a variety of reasons for this. lets hit the popular ones:
1. LW was written a LOOOOOOONG time ago. it still does things like they used to do them a LOOOONG time ago, when graphics cards were weak. This means a great deal of work that CAN be offloaded to the card, stays on the processor.
2. multithreading is enabled "yay". That don't mean its a good implementation. ever watch your cpu activity while using LW? its a one man circus most of the time. Bottleneck much?
3. Mac Graphics Cards are just as powerful as their PC counterparts... but the drivers aren't. its an old story. software takes longer to write than it takes to slap an extra gig of ram onto a graphics card. The card's specs are better, so its faster, right? no, the drivers have some latency issues, to hammer out. we still see this today, in fact, Apple's private estimates for complete adoption of mature and reliable drivers for graphics cards on mac os X, was something like 15 years for the market and the software to grow to the same level windows graphics drivers had already enjoyed at the dawn of OS X. This was all based on experience, with the VERY first graphics accelerator: Quickdraw.

Ok, now the fun part... But XXXXXXX has a fast interface! it does almost exactly the same thing! True, maybe. The Mac os X OGL experience is massively better now than it has been in the past, and there are ways to make a realtime 3d system on the mac. But LW doesn't do that. Primarily because of being tied to the processor, which is a legacy thing, and also is informed by the fact that LW is also living in the windows PC world.

I think the graphics card upgrade is a waste of money. you want to speed LW up? get new processors, a smaller monitor, and turn off the OGL bells and whistles. You want it to go as fast as a PC? start complaining to NT. there have been great advancements in the last few years, but there's still plenty of room for improvement:

skeletal deformation (put this on the card if possible).
morph deformation speed (put this on the card if possible).
UI redraw speed.
mouse picking accuracy, in both 2d and 3d viewports. (fix this, and there is a whole slew of curses I will never say ever again)
(this next one might be Very difficult) multithread the UI (take the OGL to another thread)
Fix my Outstanding and YET to be addressed selection Expand bug (OGL redraws once for each polygon that is added to the selection... which can quickly add up to MINUTES of wasted time PER expansion)
force a simple redraw, when a keyframe is deleted.
FIX the @#$%^&* bug in modeller that drops the active viewport when you jump from 1 view preset to another (hit the numeric zero key to jump to one view port from the standard 4, and you must first click in that viewport, before you can do anything... one of my biggest time sucks evar)
fix the critical menu selection crash bug.

and this is all just the easy, low hanging fruit, that NT can pay attention to in order to speed up the mac LW UI.


anyway, I'd go with the SSD.

Darth Mole
10-18-2012, 09:56 AM
I've been told by an engineering friend that he relies on SSDs as the primary speed up on macs.
his recipe:

256 - 500 g SSD to install the os and applications on.
2 @ 2 terabyte drives striped to raid level 1 (the raid that keeps two exact copies) for project files.
as much ram as possible.


FIX the @#$%^&* bug in modeller that drops the active viewport when you jump from 1 view preset to another (hit the numeric zero key to jump to one view port from the standard 4, and you must first click in that viewport, before you can do anything... one of my biggest time sucks evar).

Well I checked on OpenGL performance for the two cards on YouTube and BareFeats and, weirdly, very little to choose between them. I don't (yet) have enough CUDA-accelerated apps for me to care. So yeah, SSD it is then.

Totally agree about the UI bugs, but especially that one. I mean, NT have been great at fixing a bunch of really obscure things that affect, like, two people, but stuff on the UI should surely be number one priority?

Is it now time to go for a totally new interface? I assume this would make sense for LW 12 if that's the first iteration that's unified. Fingers crossed.

jwiede
10-18-2012, 12:10 PM
Totally agree about the UI bugs, but especially that one. I mean, NT have been great at fixing a bunch of really obscure things that affect, like, two people, but stuff on the UI should surely be number one priority?
Unfortunately, no. There are a number of cross-platform UI/UX issues on LW, things like allowing efficient use of multiple monitors, etc. which directly impact huge numbers of users each day (esp. professionals), harm efficiency, etc. yet despite customers asking since before 9.6, have received zero attention to date. If they're not able or willing to direct resources to fix such issues, I wouldn't hold your breath for them to fix more Mac-specific UI architecture issues (short of something like unification leading to a complete UI infrastructure redo).

Darth Mole
10-19-2012, 06:45 AM
Uh, okay... Well SSD is on order; I'll report back on if it's been worth it or not.

When RealFlow 20123 comes out it'll be interesting to see how my old ATI copes under OpenCL. Maybe that might prompt a GPU upgrade.

- - - Updated - - -

Uh, okay... Well SSD is on order; I'll report back on if it's been worth it or not.

When RealFlow 20123 comes out it'll be interesting to see how my old ATI copes under OpenCL. Maybe that might prompt a GPU upgrade.

eblu
10-20-2012, 02:00 PM
If they're not able or willing to direct resources to fix such issues, I wouldn't hold your breath for them to fix more Mac-specific UI architecture issues

they have apparently assigned someone to fix the expand selection redraw bug. I only know that because I was the first person who sent in a bug report, they contacted me directly to try to understand clearly what i meant, and then they said: "I can see your point - -will assign this to a developer."

so, in NT's defense, if you can show a bug they can replicate, they will assign it. Not to their favor however... that email was on Nov 14th, of 2011. Bug ain't fixed. its 1 year later, and it really should be a simple straightforward fix. (if it isn't then it probably comes under the heading: stuff to fix when we get around to re-writing the app)

- - - Updated - - -

here's the bug ticket:
41905_7l967nn3qd26dg3u