Macbook Pro or iMac - any advice?

Started Mar 15, 2012 | Discussions thread
Noreen CT
Regular MemberPosts: 199
Re: Macbook Pro or iMac - any advice?
In reply to noirdesir, Mar 19, 2012

noirdesir wrote:

Noreen CT wrote:

I still don't think I should see the spinning beach with the simple Apple programs I am using. One would hope Apple could manage to calculate how much CPU time iPhoto and iMovie would take. It is even worse when I have both open simultaneously, which is not helpful as I need to pull photos from iPhoto into iMovie.

One should always try to figure out what the bottleneck is. If it is a lack of multithreading, one core will be maxed out during this while others are not fully used. If it is a lack of RAM, the free RAM should be down close to zero (ie, below about 200 MB) and there should be HDD activity. If it is a lack of HDD speed, none of these should be observed (ie, one core maxed out but others not and free RAM very small) but noticeable HDD activity.

If it is none of the above (there could be still GPU memory or computational bottlenecks), it could be that the ambitions of Apple (ie, what it all wants to do in real-time) simply are greater than the computational resources under some circumstances.

iPhoto and iMovie will run up to well over 100% of the CPU when launching or even when opening the editing or info screens of iPhoto. This seems like some sort of a design flaw.

Well, there is always something that is the bottleneck, that is the law of nature. And if an application does not use 100% of one resource (while doing something, not during idling), it is bottlenecked by something else. Thus, using one resource at 100% is absolutely unavoidable. One might disagree with what an application is trying to do (all at once) or it might be not as efficient as possible in doing that but as a programmer you only have won (in the eyes of the user) if your application speed is limited by UI animation and not by anything else.

Thanks again! I really shouldn't attempt to answer this while my thirteen year old is asleep as he knows much more about my computer (and many computers) than I do. I think it is a four core machine with four GB of RAM in each core? I recall the discussion we had when we bought the first 27 inch iMac and had 8GB of RAM spread across four cores as that was less expensive than two 4GB RAM. After all of the trouble I had with my 20 inch iMac, my husband and son decided I needed more RAM and a larger HD.

In response to the rest of your very helpful post, I don't even know what HDD activity is, but I will be sure to ask my son when he gets home from school. This subject will give my boys something to discuss at the dinner table tomorrow night. Perhaps they can attempt to identify if one core is maxed out and if so, how to remedy that (without rebuilding my computer!) I sense that they won't know how to identify the bottleneck or they would have attempted to do so already (after listening to me complain!)

I still persevere in my thinking that since Apple routinely installs iMovie and iPhoto on computers with much less computing power than mine, that I shouldn't encounter these problems.

Thanks so much for taking your time to try to educate me. I will have to report back after dinner tomorrow to see if you have inspired anyone. Take care. Noreen

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