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The thing is, Lion runs like crap without an SSD or insane amounts of RAM for many people. It doesn't help if it works for some, or even the majority. If anything, we need more people digging in OS X internals. I am sorry to use a tired analogy here, but Vista did work great for many too.

I have two Macs, one brand new, one migrated from SL, and 10.7 Safari was almost unusable on both until I installed SSDs. If that isn't a negative effect in every possible use case, then I don't know one. I actually guessed it was just that Lion inofficially dropped support for HDDs (by removing all caches or so).




I upgraded to an SSD while on Leopard, and was amazed at the speed. Snow Leopard continued to impress. Lion slowed things down terribly (even with the SSD!), but I have good news: ever since Mountain Lion DP2, it's been fast again.


Yes, I am a fan of ML so far too.

Given that Apple has fixed none of my reported bugs in 10.7, but I can't reproduce many of them in 10.8, I wonder if it even makes sense to analyze 10.7 anymore - seems it's a done deal for Apple.


This is very good news indeed. I'm okay that they don't backport bugfixes as long as ML comes out in a reasonable timeframe.


ML will be a paid upgrade right? So people who paid for Lion are worth nothing?


I've been trying to get people I know at Apple to start referring to it internally as Mountain Goat.

It's working.


Are you implying that Mountain Lion is slow?


I have 12GB of RAM and Lion runs like crap on my iMac 2.93GHz i7.

It's like the system discards pages of programs just because the app has been inactive for an hour or so. So when I come back and start the same app the f*cking rotating HD I have sounds like a birds nest for too long periods.

Edit: Disabled the pager and the system now seems much more quiet regarding to disk seek noise when I start apps. Feels like a new machine! :-D


> It's like the system discards pages of programs just because the app has been inactive for an hour or so.

From what I've read, Windows memory manager does the same thing - after a while, it swaps out unused pages, even if plenty of free memory is available.

I wonder what's the logic behind this - did the engineers assume that the speedup coming from more free memory being available for disk cache is worth the hassle of waiting for the swapped out page (when it's actually needed)?


I was under the impression(from my FreeBSD years) that pages that are not used for a while is swapped out and marked as inactive. The pages are then fast to throw away for other use, or fast to brink back to active state.

In Lion I get the impression they are just swapped out and thrown away / reused for something else despite there are no real pressure on the VM.


The logic is for things like daemons or infrequently used processes that wake up maybe once a day. They don't need to be in ram all the time needlessly. So swapping out their memory that hasn't been used for N hours isn't a bad thing.

And yes, the logic is sound, its better to use a bit of swap for an infrequent daemon and let 4-5 megs of memory be at the ready if needed than leave it in place all the time. The "speedup" is not a speedup for your use, its to allow for better memory management. Which is what the VM subsystem is there for. Second guessing it all the time just makes its job harder.

Swap use when there is free memory isn't a bad thing. This fetish people have with their OS using swap at times seems to border on the ridiculous side. My iMac at home has 16g of memory and 400g of swap used right now (8g active, lots of file cache that'll get purged). Most of the swapped files belong to things like my ruby+pry repl, a clojure repl I haven't touched for 2 days, and other random things I don't use often enough to warrant they stay in active ram. Why SHOULDN'T that memory be reclaimed and at the ready for a new program or some other request? Its just going to page it out then and likely take longer to do. The only time its "wrong" is when I start using those processes again, which takes all of 1-2 seconds.

Its a hard problem, and both OSX/Windows choose the best possible solution you can heuristically.


So why not lazy page? Swap to disk, but don't unlink the memory until it's needed by another process. If the paged app comes back to like first, it's still in memory and the paged copy on disk can be dropped.


> The logic is for things like daemons or infrequently used processes that wake up maybe once a day. They don't need to be in ram all the time needlessly. So swapping out their memory that hasn't been used for N hours isn't a bad thing.

It is, actually. I find such things unacceptable, be they on desktop or server use cases. I put as much or far more RAM in my systems than they will need, and I expect nothing to be swapped until it's actually full. Many other people do as well, which is why the Linux kernel devs finally started fixing the stupidity several years ago. Time for OS X to catch up.


> From what I've read, Windows memory manager does the same thing - after a while, it swaps out unused pages, even if plenty of free memory is available.

Windows XP does that. It was a common source of grief. I remember it being mentioned as early as 2004. Since Windows Vista the memory manager doesn't have that problem.


> The thing is, Lion runs like crap without an SSD or insane amounts of RAM for many people.

YES. I have a MacBook Pro Core i7 from a little while back with an old style spinning rust drive and a 11" MacBook Air Core 2 Duo.

For purely CPU bound things, sure, the Core i7 kicks the pants out of the Core 2. Same for videogames. For day to day use, though, switching between Eclipse, Xcode, Chrome, etc. the Air provides a much more uniform experience. At its best it's far slower than the Pro at its best, but at its worst it's much faster and more responsive. I rarely see beachballs on the Air. I used to see them all the time on the Pro (the Pro has been sitting on a shelf for the past eight months as I switched to working exclusively on my Air, partially for this reason).

So my experience is that something may not be broken, but something definitely isn't set up optimally for users with poor disk performance and high memory/CPU performance.


Why don't you spend $140 and add an SSD to the pro? You can keep the HDD for an extra $80 with a cd drive bay HDD caddy.


I got this one for $16 (no enclosure for your old CD-ROM like the $80 one): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0058AH2US/ref=oh_details_o...

Left some big files on the old HD, and symlinked them. The disk stays idle in the CD bay until I need it, then spins up.


Doesn't the latter void warranty?


Only if you try and claim the warranty for something you broke c.f. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnuson-Moss_Warranty_Act


It doesn't appear to, however if you ever have to get your machine serviced you have to painstakingly undo and redo the installation, as Apple doesn't guarantee the machine that comes back from the factory will have your extra drive in it.

If I were to do it over again I'd just get a larger SSD and leave the optical drive alone.


Maybe technically, but unless you strip every screw on your way into the machine, they won't know you ever had the cd drive disconnected. Just put it back when you take it in for service.


Not in my experience. I did exactly that (install SSD in cd drive bay, and use orig hd for a second drive), and when I had a fan issue it was not a problem.


Yes, but you can un-void it by plugging your CD drive back in. Note that replacing the hard drive voids the warranty as well.


Only voids the warranty on the hard drive, in all actuality they don't care... They will simply call up and ask about it and you tell them you replaced it due to corporate policy and all is well.


As I said, it was only part of the reason I shelved it.

It also turns out I rather like working on an 11" screen. Keeps me focussed.


This

I haven't tried ML yet. My MBP is brand new (bought in January 2012), factory configuration (4GB RAM, Lion)

If you use it 'lightly' (that is, only Safari open) it's a breeze. But of course, it's never only that if you want to do any work.

Frankly, 4 GB should be enough! My past machine (with 3GB - and Linux) would rarely swap (in fact I could keep swap off and use a Windows 7 VM) But you can go only so far with an aging CPU

Some of the slowness can be attributed to Safari/Firefox, sure

But it really seems to have something wrong. Maybe they really neglected people with spinning disks.

(Yes, I considered buying a MacBook Air but 128Gb was not enough for me and the other options were above my budget)


I'm running on a 160GB HDD (nearly full), 2GB ram, on a 4 year old MacBook. I always have iTunes, Xcode, Safari/Chrome running with multiple tabs, and a mail client (Sparrow). The system originally ran Leopard and I upgraded to SL and then Lion. I wouldn't say it's slow. It's definitely getting slower but that's expected since it's such an old system. Could it be that you're just expecting too much from your computer?


"It's definitely getting slower but that's expected since it's such an old system."

I see this sentiment a lot, but I disagree with it. What are "iTunes, Xcode, Safari/Chrome, and a mail client" doing now that they weren't doing four years ago? Is it enough to justify their latest versions feeling less responsive than their versions from four years ago?


I think that as the developers are developing them on better hardware they pay less attention to performance. For example you wouldn't expect the lastest build of iTunes, or OS X to run on hardware for 10 years ago. As system specs improve developers seem to pay less attention to performance & file size. It seems crazy to me that modern web browsers are over 50mb in size. But as hard drive size isn't really a constraint anymore the developers don't optimize that aspect as much.


I would, actually. All iTunes is is an MP3 player, remember, and WinAmp did just fine on 90s machines.


Safari/Chrome: websites are more complex, more image-heavy, and more JavaScript-heavy

iTunes: layers of software for dealing with Wi-Fi sync, Ping social network, iTunes Match, and so on

Mail Client: totally agree with you there...

But I still pretty much agree with you overall...


I don't. Is that iTunes library really the same size it was when the machine was bought? Does it play songs with the same encoding size? Is the version of XCode still the same with the same feature set? Does the browser play HD video from the web as often now as it did years ago?

Things change. My old 2006 iMac core 2 duo feels a bit clunky sometimes these days, but it runs a lot of stuff fine and is actually just as good a machine as it ever was.


>I see this sentiment a lot, but I disagree with it. What are "iTunes, Xcode, Safari/Chrome, and a mail client" doing now that they weren't doing four years ago?

Lot's of things. XCode was rewritten and does live AST syntax completion, background compiles, etc.

Safari/Chrome have several more features --did Chrome even exist 4 years ago?


"nearly full"

Expectations are certainly a big part of the perceptual speed equation. But with OS X, don't underestimate the benefits of keeping your disk less than 90% full. With all the caches, iPhone and iPad backups (over 40 GB in my case), Xcode, sleepimages and swapfiles, installers (Adobe!), SyncServices, etc., a 160GB SSD fills up in no time. When things get slow, getting back below 90% works wonders.


My issue with Lion was that it broke WiFi on my 2009 iMac. Yet the 2011 iMac is just fine with it. There has been a near constant running thread on the Apple support since the day Lion dropped. All sorts of WiFi just going out, sometimes even with the icon being nice enough to gray out.

Currently at 145 pages and growing https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3191630?start=2160&...

Yeah, the 2009 iMac started working the day I put Snow Leopard back on it. I then sold it and warned the owner that upgrading to Lion was at his own risk. I replaced my router with an Airport Extreme; useful excuse to buy a new toy; at one point to see if that resolved it. I even moved the iMac NEXT to the router one day.


My late 2006 MBP had all sorts of wifi issues with 10.5 the first year or so it was out. Like routine kernel panic-bad level stuff.


AFAIK every odd-numbered version release of OS X breaks the networking on a significant number of machines.


I have the same experience: my MBP with 8GB RAM and SSD is pretty fast running Lion. But my two-year old Mac Mini at work with 4GB and platter disk runs terribly slow ever since I did a clean Lion install.


Two things I have found to help the most to improve everyday usage on OSX Lion without an SSD: 1. Disable Spotlight on the boot volume. This keeps the mds process from reindexing things so frequently. 2. Use Time Machine Scheduler (free utility) to backup at 5am or something so it's not interfering with daytime tasks.


Insane amounts? Like 16G? That I can buy for like $80?


16GB is an insane amount, regardless of the price.


Make that an extra $750 if you buy it built in to a new MacPro...


Also, because all this swapping the life of the SSD on Mac OS Lion are shorter than running on Linux or Windows.




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