BARE FEATS - real world Mac speed tests

Part Two: Do Applications Run Faster In OS X Than In OS 9?

March 30th, 2001
rob ART morgan, Bare Feats mad scientist

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Sometimes OS X is faster, sometimes it's not.

Cinema 4D (OS 9) froze half way through the logo render when running in Classic mode. Cinema 4D OS X Preview just sat there with the color wheel spinning when I tried to Render View. In both cases, I was able to Force Quit. (Maxon informed me that they need to work on their OS X version but could not explain why the OS 9 version didn't work.)

Adobe has let it be known that you'll have to run all their applications in Classic mode until the next major release which will be a Carbon version. However, even in Classic mode, there will be problems. So if you rely on Adobe software to make a living, better stick with OS 9.1 for the time being.

At least Adobe has an OS X plan. Quark has made it known there are no plans for OS X versions of XPress. It's Classic or nothing.


I reported earlier today that I had trouble getting Quake 3 OS X version working. Turns out that it was set to run at 640 x 480 and OS X didn't want to "go there." I finally got it to run by overriding the recommended display settings in OS X's Display Preferences BEFORE launching Quake. Also, with instructions from an engineer at ATI Technologies, I was able to use Terminal to turn off Quake 3's sound (which is broken in OS X). But the frame rates were a disappointment. (In fairness to Id Software, the creators of Quake 3, it's not supposed to work at all with the Retail version of OS X. The Omni Group emailed me that Id Software has taken over the OS X development of Quake 3 Arena and that the Omni Group version of Quake 3 Arena is NOT supposed to work right with Retail OS X.)

I know Quake 3 can go faster under OS X. I tested Quake 3 on a Dual G4/500 running OS X beta at the MacWorld Expo and saw 133 frames per second. I'm sure you will get at least that speed on a dual G4/533 once Id Software releases their version of Quake 3 for OS X. Also, if you visit xlr8yourmac, you can see that the owner of a Dual G4/533 had more success than me at achieving over 100 frames per second with both the GeForce and Radeon.


I'm waiting until I get my hands on a copy of Final Cut Pro 2.0 before I publish any test results. It will be interesting to see if it achieves the 70% speed increase over version 1.25 that Apple promised. (A little secret: if you are running QuickTime 4.1, you can achieve most of the speed gains Apple promised by upgrading to QuickTime 5.0 Preview. For example, when I exported a QuickTime movie from Final Cut Pro 1.25, my time dropped from 225 seconds to 125 seconds just by upgrading from QuickTime 4.1 to 5.0.


In the case of AppleWorks, I was able to run version 6.1 under both OS X and OS 9. In all other tests, the OS X version could NOT be run under OS 9. So when you see the OS X Classic or OS 9 Native run, that will be with the most recent OS 9 version.

The test machine was a Dual G4/533 with 512M of RAM. OS X was installed on a freshly formatted IBM 75GXP 46GB drive using the Retail Release OS X installer CD. OS 9.1 was running on the original IBM 75GXP 40GB drive that was shipped with the Dual G4. Graphic cards used were both the GeForce2 MX and Radeon.

© 1995-2007 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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