2014-10-22

OSX Yosemite performance

ivotoby
OSX

Is performance of Yosemite acceptable on your Retina mac?

I use a Macbook Pro 15” with Retina display (late 2013 model).. It packs a Core I7-2ghz processor, Iris Pro graphics, 16Gb Ram and 256Gb SSD.. Should be more that sufficient to keep up with my computing-needs and running Mavericks it did keep up with me.. However, being a sucker for updates I updated my machine to Yosemite last weekend.. #WRONG!

The update itself went without a glitch, within 30 minutes I had Yosemite up & running. Only MacPorts (which I use to get apache/mysql/PHP running) was a bit of work. I needed to install Xcode 6.1 and the XCode commandline tools to be able to compile CMake (which in turn was needed to compile Mysql5.6, which is the replacement for Mysql5.1 which is not supported anymore.. just so you know :). Even Titanium and Ti Studio ran without any problems after the upgrade to Yosemite. All fine and dandy right?? I think NOT

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 14.25.12After a morning of regular development work the animation performance went from acceptable to frustrating slow. Animations are choppy, responsiveness is non-existing… all pretty frustrating. Minimising windows is still doable, but using mission control is pretty awful, and I love having multiple desktops and switching between them with mission control ..
Doing a quick search on the internets revealed I was not the only one having these problems; it seems all retina macs which don’t have a discrete graphics-card have these performance problems. I tried resetting PRAM, SMC, reset the keyboard-settings (why?), reduced transparency, followed instructions given in this post .. no avail..
I did some tests with different resolutions-settings.. If I’d set the resolution to the native settings of my mac (using RDM)  the graphics performance went back to acceptable, almost what I was used to getting running Mavericks.. Also if I’d disable HiDPI and use regular 1920×1200 the performance was fine and using my 29” Dell display at 2560×1080 (with my laptop-screen closed!) the graphics performance was better than what I was used to getting on Mavericks .. Sooo Apple;  it seems there’s some issues with drawing HiDPI animations .. If you ask me this is unacceptable for a €2500,- laptop and the high-end operating system they claim to distribute on it..

Some of the results I found searching online for this problem;

  • https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5547471?start=0&tstart=0 (the issues discussed seem to occur also on Mavericks)
  • http://gathering.tweakers.net/forum/list_messages/1609328 (dutch forum)

So.. what now? Downgrading is not an option, I do have a TimeMachine backup but it would take ages before would have been restored. The answer is simple; disable animations!

I followed the instructions on this page (which talks about Mavericks, but most of it applies to Yosemite  as well), all you need to do in a terminal;

and kill the Dock;

If you need more performance; check out this page.

Update 26-10-2014

Since I have Apple Care I might as well call the tech support, which I did.. I usually don’t think highly of tech support in general but this guy really knew MacOS.. He suggested I’d install a clean version Yosemite in a new partition and to check if performance was still laggy.. So I did; and right from the start animations less choppy and graphics performance overall was a lot better.. So.. it seems the upgrade from Mavericks to Yosemite did mess up some of the drivers of preference files, the techy was not able to tell me which file or driver it could be. He suggested to reinstall Yosemite on top of my existing installation to see if this has any effect.. If it doesn’t I’d be looking at a complete fresh and new install of my MacBook, including al my data, applications, configuration and settings (which takes me about 3 days to get done). For now I don’t have time to do either so I’ll keep using Yosemite with choppy animations and poor graphics performance, but if I have time for this procedure I surely will try out both and report back here.