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Huge Speed Problem VW11 - OSX vs VW10 - PC

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I have heard over on cgtalk.com the Hardware and Technical forum that Apple writes its own drivers for any of the video cards it supplies, but I can't confirm this. Video card drivers seem to be updated constantly and as a rule of thumb I'd say keep up to date as they sort issues and squeeze that bit more performance out of them.

In the Mac community the video cards lagging behind Windows PC's both in supplied machines and as upgrades has always been a sore point. I guess it's a case of supply and demand.

It seems to change as well between the two big players constantly, this week ATI cards work better, then nVidia comes up with something. Even then it's sometimes down to what application you're using it for.

I think the only answer is for NNA, with the resources at hand, G5's and the latest software versions to try them and give it's recommendation as to the best card running Vectorworks. I'm talking Apple here, because of the limited cards available in G5's, three is it?

They did make a big thing of how Vectorworks ran so much faster on the G5 when it first came out if I remember rightly.

Obviously the number of Windows PC ones would be a major undertaking and I wouldn't expect NNA to undertake this.

But as Paul Farr pointed out the speed problem here is in the OSX version. Hopefully, for all you Mac users, soon to be sorted.

Just my thoughts and opinion.


[ 11-03-2004, 01:56 PM: Message edited by: alanmac ]

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Hi everyone,

This selection speed issue is caused by a bug in MacOS X 10.3. We expect it to be fixed in MacOS X 10.4, but as it is a problem with the MacOS call we use to paint inverted rectangles to the screen to draw selection handles, there is no way we can fix this problem in our code. MacOS X 10.2 and prior do not exhibit this problem.

See my previous post from August 4 in this thread:


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Thank you for joining in the discussion Paul.

One question I have is tyhe results I am seeing in the video card. I have the 9800 and in all other operations it screams redrawing hte screen, all interactions with windows, PIO's and the like. But I notice that The Nvidia 64 meg card are getting better selection times. has there been any testing of the Nvidia 6800 card? For most of our files the 9800 speeds up what we need, but I am always on the hunt for more speed.


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Those are good points. It would be wonderful if NNA would provide benchmark testing of the video cards. Unless I am mistaken, a faster computer will run VW faster. So in a way, testing various G5 computers will not provide any meaningful information.

But video cards are the big question for me. Sure a 2.5ghz G5 is faster than a 1.8ghz G5. But is a Nvidia 6800 faster than an ATI 9800? Are they both compatible? This is information that I can use.

And as you say Alan, there are so few choices in the Apple line that it is possible for NNA to provide those results. NNA products are intimately tied to the machines that they run on. Running those tests and providing that data would benefit NNA and it's users.

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testing various G5 computers will not provide any meaningful information

I don't think so.

When you have to upgrade to a new Mac or a PC it is useful to know price vs performance. So tests are very important.

I agree that video cards are the big question..

And if NNA doesn't do, we can. Every user can test times using a file shared with others. Someone just started in this forum, and I think it was good. We can publish our results.

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There are too many reports both in this forum and elsewhere about VW being slower on a mac than a PC.

The big question is whether the problem is NNA or Apple.

From what I have observed the problem is Apple compounded by the rather ordinary implementation of Open GL on Apple computers.

To me it seems that Apple needs to get its act together pretty quick lest it loses more users to PC.

The Apple advantages seem to get less and less each day - and this being the case one increasingly has to ask oneself why we are wasting our money on an evergrowing marginalised computer.

Brand loyalty has its limits - and at the end of the day a computer which works is more important than sexy look!

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If you are going to quote me, at least keep my quote in context. My point is that we do not need tests to tell us that a 2.5ghz G5 is going to be faster than a 1.8. Read any Macworld test and you will see that the faster computer is indeed faster.

I AM asking for testing. I believe we need testing on things that are not so obvious, which to me are the video cards. Ion Webster has posted some comments saying that an upgraded video card in his G5 has produced impressive, (my word not his), results.

I can go to the Apple website and choose between 4 G5 computers. The question is whether a Dual 1.8 with the most expensive video card is faster than the 2.5 with the OEM video card. Is that fancy video card compatible with Vectorworks?

For those people looking at iMacs or the single processor G5, then the question is whether Vectorworks can take advantage of that second processor. If not then a Dual 1.8 is not better than a single processor 1.8.

As an Architect I find my time being increasingly stolen away from my practice by having to ask these questions. I use a Mac because of the tight integration between hardware and operating system. Having Vectorworks part of that tight integration is critical. NNA would be doing me a huge favor by providing solid answers through testing of Vectorworks and Renderworks on the various combinations of G5 computers and video cards.

In the time it took me to write this post, I could review a NNA benchmark test and make a decision on which G5 computer to buy and with what video card. That is if NNA will provide us such a test.

User testing is a start, but it leaves much to be desired. It can never provide the quick, concise, and accurate data that a NNA test would provide. I have probably 30 applications that I use on my computer. But Vectorworks it the only one that I use to earn a living. I would hope that NNA would see the importance of providing this valuable testing data to us.

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I am in total agreeance with NNA providing some testing for machines / video cards.

You will actually find that many other competitor's products do, in fact, complete testing on their machines vs the video cards.

SolidWorks does, and I believe Discreet and AutoCad also do. Not a huge capital investment to produce these for your customers...

Once again, please NNA, indicate to us if the problem is solved via the 10.4 Tiger Beta software!!


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I'm going to throw a spanner in the works with some a question and some observations, based on comparrisons with other programs.

1) Is OpenGL the problem here, or the underlying code of the program (VW)?

2) The reason why I ask whether it's code related, is because I took the file eddie (eddy?) provided and did the same tests with SketchUp and ArchiCAD.

The results...Well, an import takes about 8 seconds...The same as VW11. Good!

'Select all' takes 32 ish seconds on my 1Ghz Tibook with 512mb ram with VW11.

It takes 1.5 seconds in Sketchup and ArchiCAD on the same machine! Please NNA....WHY?

It takes the same time roughly in each case to deselect...

Surely, if Graphisoft and @Last software can do it on 10.3, why can't NNA?

Just some thoughts.


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I think your question has been answered by Pharr


Originally posted by Pharr:

Hi everyone,

This selection speed issue is caused by a bug in MacOS X 10.3. We expect it to be fixed in MacOS X 10.4, but as it is a problem with the MacOS call we use to paint inverted rectangles to the screen to draw selection handles, there is no way we can fix this problem in our code. MacOS X 10.2 and prior do not exhibit this problem.

See my previous post from August 4 in this thread:

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Sorry Kevin... I understand what you meant, but I have to know how much is faster before upgrade to a new Mac. It is not so obvious. Only this. This is my point of view.

I agree, the video card test is fundamental! There are no info about this.. I have to buy a new machine and I have the same questions. But I have to know even if a Dual processor is faster then a single processor. The cost of the Mac is very different but I don't know if speed is. Macworld makes general tests not VW tests. And VW is my first program too.

NNA have to do this tests and tell us the results, but if they don't, we can do them. This is my suggestion.

About Tiger, I think NNA answered us. They cannot say anything, cause when they tested Panther beta, there were no problems... they rose with the definitive version of the OS.

So VW can run well with Tiger beta but very bad with the final version.


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I've just upgraded to OSX 10.3.6 and many of the gripes included here about performance on the Mac platform appear to have gone.

For example:

- The OIP now responds instantly

- The OpenGL rendering is substantially quicker

Seems to me that this may have been more of an OSX issue than a NNA issue!

This must have been quite frustrating for the NNA Technical People, and I for one apologise to them for thinking that these were problems they hadn't addressed.

Try upgrading yourself and see if it solves your problems.

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I have upgraded too.

opengl rendering seems quicker.

Instead, I have to report a strange behavior, but now I cannot say if it is linked with OS 10.3.6.

The selecting/deselecting problem depends on the zoom. If the zoom is a total view of the drawing, selecting all is slow (4.300 3d and 2d objects, in 11 seconds), if the zoom is near the drawing or far away, select/deselecting all is 1 second!

I have a G4 533 Mhz with 1 GB Ram, Geforce 32MB running VW 10.5.

Have you got the same behavior?


[ 11-07-2004, 12:54 PM: Message edited by: nevoz ]

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The selection issue sounds logical. Vectorworks redraws all objects including selection points, this takes more time if you're zoomed out and see all objects, or if you're zoomed all the way in and it only has to redraw 1 or 2 objects.

If I zoom out 3/4 times (objects are very small but all visible), I see all objects but selection takes few seconds, almost instant, the same speedness zooming in (as you say). If I zoom with all objects as big as the window, it takes a lot of time. I have the selecting time problem with "total view" (sorry, I don't know if, in english, this is the correct command name..).


533 MHz G4 1024MB GeForce 2 (32MB) OS X 10.3.6 VW 10.5.1

[ 11-08-2004, 04:45 AM: Message edited by: nevoz ]

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have upgraded to VW 11.0.1.

There is an enhance in speed during selecting objects: from 11 seconds to 3 seconds!!

However 3D and rendering is a bit slower... but viewport and selecting speedness is a huge improvement.


533 MHz G4 1024MB GeForce 2 (32MB) OS X 10.3.6 VW 11.0.1

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