go faster

Dear Lazyweb, my iMac is 17 months old now. I'm ready for it to be twice as fast. The new iMacs appear to be only 40% faster. What happened to this "Moore's Law" I've heard so much about?

Also, still only 4GB RAM? WTF, am I the only person who wants to be able to run Photoshop and Safari at the same time?

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31 Responses:

  1. rapier1 says:

    I long for the day when a few hours of wbe surfing won't allow Safari to consume 1.2G of virtual. Sure, its only virtual but with only 768MB of RAM I spend half the day swapping. Not that firefox is any better...

  2. diggets says:

    Whatever, I got 2 in my MBP and it's just gravy. If you need 4 GB you're either editing HD video (in which case get a Mac Pro) or else your Photoshop files are way over-sized (like, raster billboards.)

    I'm a professional designer and I run CS2 on my PowerPC G4 tower with 2GB and it works fine.

    • telecart says:

      Adobe have failed miserably at optimizing Photoshop for intel macs in CS3. It hogs the system fer shite. I have an MBP with 2GB and photoshop will eat my system (which is why I use Skitch for my puny drawing needs)

    • babasyzygy says:

      Not so much. I suspect that you don't tend to keep many windows/tabs open in Safari.

      I'm more at the other end of the spectrum: I open a ton of related links in tabs, and then read a prior window while the tabs load. This is especially easy if you've got loads of RSS feeds in a menu and use "Open in Tabs."

      With this kind of usage pattern, Safari becomes a Katamari covered in memory pigs - it doesn't release the memory once the windows/tabs are closed. Right now, my Safari has a 1.88 GB footprint - and that's with two windows with two tabs each currently open (1a: JWZ RSS, 1b: this item. 2a & 2b: my user profile pages on two other sites - more were open earlier, but I haven't been reading up on anything particularly aggressively this session).

      If my disk is close to full, I reboot my 2GB MBP more often to release the disk space from my swap file - even another GB would make a big difference. A better Safari would make a bigger difference.

      • dojothemouse says:

        The alternative is less-aggressive caching. WebKit figures you'd rather have that stuff paged to disk, in case you encounter the same URLs again.

        I think the 1.88 GB footprint is a "feature".

  3. maxmin says:

    > am I the only person who wants to be able to run Photoshop and Safari at the same time?

    Damn, how big of image files are you editing?

    My MacPro only has 1 gig, and I'm able to run Photoshop, Final Cut, Safari and Entourage all at the same time with no problems.

    • solarbird says:

      Indeed. My lil' ol' MacBook runs Garage Band, iPhoto (with a large library), Safari, Mail, Adium, iTunes, and a large chunk of small fry (tinyfugue, other crap) reasonably well too. (iPhoto is the biggest hog on my box.) Safari doth suck RAM unreasonably, but I ditch it every few days and that seems to work okay.

      Thinking about it, however, that was not so true when I was still running some PowerPC applications. (Most notably, tinyfugue and an old version of Xjournal.) Once I replaced those with intel compiles, things got much better. I think the runtime translator quietly eats more RAM than it lets on.

    • bdu says:

      Who buys a macpro and only puts 1gb in it? Get thee to a consumer electronics store stat!

      • maxmin says:

        I didn't buy it, it's a spare machine that I'm "storing" in my office.

        • bdu says:

          ah. Still, acquiring a macpro and running it with 1gb is like buying a bulldog for breeding and having him neutered before you take him home.

  4. wootest says:

    Moore's Law still works, but it's probably harder for it to apply when the transistors are spread out across multiple cores. Far from everything is parallelized yet. (Also, the Core Duo and Core 2 Duo, believe it or not, are on different sides of the Core microarchitecture switch - some of the performance gain was probably eaten in the name of energy efficiency and a higher performance per watt quota.)

    My MacBook maxes out at 2GB, and I've had no problem running Photoshop concurrently with other apps. I should mention that I don't work with big images, and that I've disabled a bunch of filters and other plugins. You go into the Plug-Ins folder in your Photoshop folder and for every plugin you deem unnecessary, you prepend a ~ to its name to surpress automatic loading. If you haven't done it already, that might help cutting the launch time from "while this is launching I'm going out to lunch" to "this is a fucking joke, right?" and the operational time by about the same.

    • nightrider says:

      I like to consider it as this... Moore's Law is not a steadily rising arc, but more like the stock market; always going up, but with spikes and drops in the process.

      Have no fear, a rather large spike is on its way. Just think of all the internet tubes you can fill up with that!

      (edited b/c I dun spake gud Englarsh)

      • jason0x21 says:

        Adding more cores doesn't solve the whole problem. It's keeping those cores fed with data, having an operating system use them effectively, and interacting with the user in a reasonable amount of time.

        F'instance, the Cell processor looks awesome on paper, but have we seen any games (besides the chicken demo that the Rapidmind guys wrote for it) take full advantage of it?

    • treptoplax says:

      'Core Duo' is netburst, not core like 'core 2'?


      If that's true, you need to multiply clock of the core2 by at least 1.5 to compare.

        • wootest says:

          "The Core brand refers to Intel's 32-bit mobile dual-core x86 CPUs derived from the Pentium M branded processor's microarchitecture (an interim step between the Intel P6 and Core microarchitecture), which emerged in parallel with the NetBurst (Intel P68) microarchitecture of the Pentium 4 brand, and was a precursor of the 64-bit Core microarchitecture."

          So, yes, it's true that the Core Duo/Solo CPUs did not use the Core microarchitecture and the Core 2 Duo/Solo CPUs did, but no, neither of them used NetBurst.

  5. cpratt says:

    This blog entry from an Adobe employee may or may not be of interest to you or anyone who wants >4GB RAM and to run Photoshop...

    • jmissig says:

      Yeah I remember reading that blog post way back when and thinking "uh, but aren't a lot of Adobe's customers waiting to use more than 4 GB of RAM without using the rest as a scratch disk?"

      I kind of thought the most important thing about 64-bit was allowing access to more RAM for applications that eat lots of RAM. But he never even brings that up as a possibility. Apparently I fundamentally misunderstand what 64-bit is useful for. I dunno.

  6. toonhead_npl says:

    I'm in the DTP biz and have found that much memory is fine fro running Adobe's suite and a browser and whatever else

    And isn't Moore's Law no longer true?

    • karlshea says:

      Moore's law is about transistors on a chip, not necessarily about speed. And so far it's held pretty true.

    • strspn says:

      Moore's law no longer reflects MIPS for non-trivial applications any more because memory bus bandwidth has only been increasing a few percent per year for the past decade or so.

  7. g_na says:

    Mmm, MacPros...

  8. fantasygoat says:

    If you want power, don't buy the low end consumer Mac.

    • jwz says:

      That's a fine nonsequitur, but does nothing to explain why the current rev of the machine I bought a year and a half ago isn't much faster.

      • fantasygoat says:

        Probably has to do more with price than anything. 40% is pretty good for surfing the web, emailing and making crappy iMovies.

        In fact, I'm surprised by the number of people doing serious graphics work on iMacs - for the low-end product you get a fair amount of computer.

        • ywwg says:

          The low end computer is the mini, the Mac Pro is the high end, and the imac is the midrange machine.

          Moore's Law applies to the computer industry as a field, not to Apple's product line. This is the company that forces you to get a more expensive laptop if you want it in black.

  9. bifrosty2k says: