Posts Tagged ‘performance’

Yosemite / mac mini

Posted: October 22, 2014 in Apple
Tags: , , , , , ,

OSX Yosemite performance on a mid-2010 mac mini (NVidia 320M) reminds first 10.0 version : text rendering is 3 times slower (slow redraw when resizing windows), OpenGL is 2 times slower, and user interface test is 10 times slower ! Also opening windows (files listing) is slower, while the new UI theme shouldn’t require more power (it should be faster as it is simplistic – Googlish / Windowish -, without all previous refinements that ultimately landed into Mavericks, not mentioning still non fixed firewire disks sleep issue and trim issue).

Then Apple may use some new OpenGL 4 only APIs for Quartz, while older macs only support OpenGL 3.3.

The new mac mini have half the CPU cores than previous ones, do not allow adding RAM, and only provide an Iris graphics chipset (Iris Pro would have been at least required). Also new imac’s Nvidia 750M graphics card is old.

We now then have to either buy a retina imac ($2500) or mac pro ($2999), or wait for upcoming Broadwell based hackintosh (that will offer same performance for half power requirements, and then will allow smaller enclosure). Also Intel will release an updated Iris Pro.

We then want Scott Forstall (OS features and design), Jon Rubinstein (hardware leading edge with custom processors – should come with A8x) and Bertrand Serlet (Snow Leopard) back, as new team really isn’t talented (except iPad/iPhone hardware engineering).


Following 5,29 GB download, OSX Mavericks’s installer stated 34 minutes total installation time, and while the volume was an SSD, it didn’t install faster than announced (was closer to 45 minutes). Moreover it took more than 5 minutes to complete the installation while stating one minute remaining (we could check it wasn’t stalling by looking at the log file through the menu). When restarting it added a 7 minutes remaining step, however this one completed in 2 minutes.

In fact the installer kept all previous user files and custom system/library components (audio plugins and applications specific libraries and settings) and preferences (even mysql and apache document root), then providing a fully working upgraded system (no backup required).

The new Apple Maps applications is stunning, with perspective varying when looking from top, and even allows full exploring/navigation mode (from sides with various depths). Details and experience are far more better than with Google’s solution.

Finder windows list view use lighter gray for files informations (as to focus on files names) and sort columns labels. It feels even more responsive than Mountain Lion (that was faster than previous versions). Rendered icons in grid view look sharper, that may come from either optimizing or use of a darker background. Also icons in Preferences panel are redesigned and larger.

The new activity monitor shows more usefull informations, and we now see that non running/front applications use minimal resources after a while (including the activity monitor).

Using benchs show huge performance increase in FFT (on par with Snow Leopard – was way slower in Mountain Lion), that may be interesting for audio applcations. The new OpenGL is 44 percent faster than Mountain Lion’s one (was slower than Snow Leopard). User interface tests results were even greater (50 percent increase) than with Mountain Lion.

UPDATE :  php module hase to be activated again (uncomment loadModule in  /etc/apache2/httpd.conf) and php.ini has to be created and edited for mysql socket (sudo cp /private/etc/php.ini.default /private/etc/php.ini,  then sudo vi /private/etc/php.ini and set  mysql.default_socket = /tmp/mysql.sock in [MySql] part). Finally in phpMyAdmin has to edited to add $cfg[‘Servers’][$i][‘user’], $cfg[‘Servers’][$i][‘password’] and set $cfg[‘Servers’][$i][‘host’] to (socket problem if localhost).


Bioshock Infinite is available at discounted price (EUR 25.99) at While not officially supported on Nvidia 320M chipset, it seems working well. Moreover using new Mavericks free OSX update, performance may be even better (then we may not need the new $2999 mac pro and keep the old mid-2010 mac mini – very silent and power efficient with an Intel SSD).

Aspyr reported Bioshock Infinite’s performance problems on Mavericks when using Nvidia graphics cards with high settings.

UPDATE : the game indeed runs fine on a mac mini mid 2010 (8GB ram, 320M, Intel SSD) with default low settings (sets textures to very low) at 1280×800 resolution, and still looks good (providing you don’t look close to some textures – it however keeps nice lightning effects). Using custom mid settings (medium textures level) we get more detailed textures while keeping a playable game, however the framerate stutters (pauses) regularly, which may be due to the Mavericks/Nvidia bug.

Driver San Francisco game experiences stutter (some pause) every few seconds on Mountain Lion (using Nvidia 320M chipset). Some tried to disable V-sync, however as the preference is reset, the game config file (in the now hidden user’s library folder, available through Go to folder menu) has to be edited and permissions modified.

In fact it runs fine (even with medium settings) under Snow Leopard (no pause), then it also didn’t come from the 256 MB shared memory (512 MB dedicated memory listed in requirements).

Performance of OpenGL under MacOSX 10.6.8 is better (11 percent faster than with previous versions), as well as Quartz (also 11 percent faster overall, and two times faster than 10.6.6 for text).
However User interface test is slower (15 percent slower than 10.6.6 and 25 percent slower than 10.6.5), as well as thread test.

Under intensive audio work (plugins) the new mac processor load stays very low (a few percents where the MDD G4 was near the limit), and the tasks are well balanced on the cores by Logic. The fan doesn’t run faster and the computer doesn’t turn hot.

The integrated converter sounds warm and with an interesting color, despite probably not being as clear, and not allowing as low latency as a pro audio interface. There is still to compare it with an Apogee Duet to conclude, hoping not experiencing the hiss noise some users did (for most due to a ground loop through the audio wire).

Sometimes the Finder quits without reasons (when opening a disk image), and it also did many times while browsing/opening plist files in user/Library/Preferences (seemed due to two bad preference files whose creation/modification date is 2009 – no hints on their role).

Sometimes the system writes data (more than 600 Mb for a basic use) without obvious reason, and is then more disturbing than the very quiet fan. The resident memory is also huge (700 Mb – was only 150 Mb on the G4), in part due to the shared video memory (256 Mb), however it should be less.

Performance on games was great : Tomb Raider Anniversary demo, Lego Indiana Jones demo, and even Bioshock demo played very smooth in 1680×1050 (default medium graphics details for the later). The rendering was a huge step from the G4’s Radeon 9000 Pro (water textures and effects).

Crossover 9.1 allowed to play old Jedi Knight (DF2) demo perfectly in 1680×1050 (through activating the 3D accelerating in the game options), despite 2D option screens (and cutscenes) not rendering correctly (bad colors, and then close to unreadable text) – no problem for in-game (3D).

However the half back case was very hot (probably more than any macbook or imac) after playing 45 minutes of the most demanding demo. In fact the fan didn’t seem to run faster when playing, and those over-heating could lead to problems.

The site pcmag provides a review od the new mac mini. It features the lowest power consumption (6W while displaying a web page without Flash) and best 3D performance for a chipset : 21 fps in Crysis (under Windows), while a Dell mini (Inspiron Zino HD), 2,5 times taller, only reaches 5 fps.