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Sluggish gui in OS X Issue Tools
issueid=2477 05-13-2010 04:14 PM
Human being with feelings
Sluggish gui in OS X
The Reaper gui in both OS X versions, responds and updates much slower than the Windows versions

When comparing scrolling and zooming performance (and other gui changes from user input) between OS X and Windows, the OS X versions respond and update the display much slower than the Windows versions. This causes the entire gui interface to feel sluggish and clunky. This slowness occurs with no project loaded and not other programs running, which eliminates high CPU usage as causing the issue. Comparisons have been done by dual booting on the same hardware.

Discussion: http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=57235
Issue Details
Issue Type Closed Issue
Project Deprecated REAPER issue tracker
Category OSX particulars
Status Fixed
Priority 4
Affected Version 3.51
Closed Version 3.60
Yes votes 17
No votes 0
Assigned Users (none)
Tags (none)

05-13-2010 05:06 PM
Human being with feelings
 
I´ve also noticed that the more tracks/plugins a Reaperproject contains, Reaper responds slower and slower when I hit the play button. Simply: The more tracks/plugins the more delay before Reaper starts playback. (Again, - this is on a mac...)
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05-27-2010 07:44 AM
Human being with feelings
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by benebomber
+1

In fact there is a remarkable difference in CPU use (aprox. 7-10%) when running reaper with or without opened mixer.
With about 20 empty (!) tracks reaper runs with roundabout 30% CPU usage. That's simply too much!
Yes, I complained about it somewhere too. In fact, with some projects, I have noticed *much* bigger jumps in CPU load *just by toggling the mixer view on/off*, in the order of 30-50% (going from "everything cool, plenty of CPU headroom" to "noes! I c-c-can't h-h-handle t-t-this m-m-much p-p-processing in s-s-such a s-s-short a-a-audio b-b-buffer in t-t-time!" so I figure it must have something to do with Reaper's code for drawing stuff onscreen.
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06-03-2010 10:31 PM
Administrator
 
Depending on your CPU, graphics card, and OS X version, you may see varying levels of CPU use used by updating the screen. You can try decreasing the meter refresh frequency in the preferences. Note that UI updates do happen at the lowest thread priority, so in theory while it may be chewing CPU, it shouldn't ever interrupt audio.
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06-04-2010 10:10 AM
Human being with feelings
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin
Depending on your CPU, graphics card, and OS X version, you may see varying levels of CPU use used by updating the screen. You can try decreasing the meter refresh frequency in the preferences. Note that UI updates do happen at the lowest thread priority, so in theory while it may be chewing CPU, it shouldn't ever interrupt audio.
This makes sense, but it still seems to be drastically different in terms of GUI performance than the Windows side on the same exact hardware. On the windows side I don't notice any audio problems with the same buffer settings and the same projects. My MacBook Pro is no slouch when it comes to graphics either. Other DAW software does not have this issue nearly as bad as Reaper does.

It should be noted that the issues with the GUI become extreme when using an external monitor (with or without using the internal macbook screen) and are not limited to viewing the meters. I have tried your suggestion of changing the meter refresh, and whether it is set to 6 or 24, it has not effect on the speed of GUI updates. The issue is most pronounced when scrolling the project window (or any other Reaper window). It also doesn't matter if a project is loaded or not.

I am willing to make a video and post it here to document the issue I am having. I will also post a screen shot of a project that I am working on showing the CPU usage. You will see there is what seems to be a disagreement between Reaper's performance monitor and OS X activity monitor.
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06-04-2010 10:21 AM
Human being with feelings
 
Yep Reaper is quite sluggish when using an external monitor (1680x1050 resolution here). I can have Reaper and Pro Tools open at the same time and scrolling around in Pro Tools updates instantly with zero lag whatsoever where Reaper is always dragging behind what I am doing.

I suspect maybe it's a code optimization thing since Pro Tools is coded on Mac and then ported to Windows whereas Reaper I believe is running on a sort of Windows emulation layer under OS X...
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06-04-2010 10:56 AM
Human being with feelings
 
Thanks for the reply Justin. The problem is, when running track counts that start to make Reaper's cpu use skyrocket (and I'm only talking about around 30 tracks @48k for me on my MBP......), toggling the mixer into view DOES seem to interrupt the audio and often causes glitches and drop-outs. Also regarding the OS version, cpu speed and graphics cards, it's my understanding that due to the way Apple is, there is a limited amount of variation in these areas in terms of the spec of any given apple computer.

Also this response doesn't fill me with hope because I can boot into Windows 7 on the same Apple laptop and suddenly have pretty stellar performance.......on exactly the same hardware. It's not the cpu or graphics card that is causing the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamWathan
I suspect maybe it's a code optimization thing since Pro Tools is coded on Mac and then ported to Windows whereas Reaper I believe is running on a sort of Windows emulation layer under OS X...
Not sure where you got that info from but if it's true it needs to be sorted out pronto!

I have only a few niggles about Reaper, unfortunately this one is enough to render it almost useless to me on OSX. It doesn't feel like a professional product........the Windows version does.

I'm not a fan of the popular response to this that OSX is just a bit crap with graphics speed........it's been dealt with just fine by other DAWs.

I apologise for the persistent complaints.

:)
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06-04-2010 01:15 PM
Administrator
 
Can you also doublecheck that "faster text rendering" in preferences/appearance is enabled? You should restart REAPER after changing that setting for maximum effect.

The real issue may be a Carbon vs Cocoa issue, as PT for example is not a Cocoa app, and Carbon is becoming quite deprecated. We'll do some R&D to see if we can speed things up. Most of the CPU use happens in the system window server, unfortunately.
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06-04-2010 02:07 PM
Human being with feelings
 
Quote:
We'll do some R&D to see if we can speed things up.
Thanks,Justin. The sluggish gui is also a serious issue for me and keeps me from depend on Reaper as a 100% ready-for-production-DAW on mac.
While you are making some R&D here´s another related issue that bothers me: Reaper gets more and more slow/delayed to react on hitting play the more tracks/plugins are used a project. Example, - 25 audiotracks assigned to 4 groups(folders), 6 plugins in all (no cpu-heavy ones) makes a delay at around 1,5-2 seconds before playback starts.
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06-04-2010 02:29 PM
Human being with feelings
 
Yep I've had that preference enabled for a while.

30 tracks, no audio or midi on any of them, no plug-ins, not in playback:

Reaper with faster text rendering off:
- mixer closed - around 3%
- mixer open - around 77%

faster text rendering on:
- mixer closed - 1.5%
- mixer open - 55%

starting playback creates a cpu increase of about 3% in each case

So enabling faster text rendering does help the high cpu use issues, however I've had it enabled the whole time I've been using Reaper so it's not a fix for the issue but rather just goes to show that without it, the problems would be significantly worse.

Compare that to Logic 8, same track count etc.....
not playing
- mixer closed - 6%
- mixer open - 7.2%

playing
- mixer closed - 25%
- mixer open - 29%

I think it's not the high cpu use that is the MOST important of the two issues. It's the fact that as cpu use increases due to audio processing the GUI just slowwwwws right down, unlike Logic or Ableton Live which stays snappy right up to the point where you get the dreaded "cpu can't keep up with the audio" message. I can't do a similar check on Pro Tools on my laptop atm but I'm confident the results would be the same as with Live and Logic.

Thanks for the help.
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06-04-2010 03:13 PM
Administrator
 
timlloyd (and anybody else who has severe OSX performance problems), can you give us system/OS specs? This is vastly different from what we experience on our test machines.
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06-04-2010 03:46 PM
Human being with feelings
 
2008 17-inch macbook pro 2.5 GHz Intel Core2 Duo - 2GB RAM
(HD screen - resoution of 1920x1200)

graphics card - NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT (just in case)

160GB 7200rpm internal HD

OSX 10.6.3

I think it's been observed by a few people that reducing screen resolution helps speed up the GUI, however that shouldn't be necessary to boost performance, and again I have no performance issues running Reaper on bootcamp with Windows 7.

Thanks
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06-04-2010 07:26 PM
Human being with feelings
 
This is probably not it but some of my mac book based students complain of severe sluggishness in logic when using an additional 2nd monitor. Not on all models though and yours should be fine. Is it ok when not using the additional monitor?
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06-05-2010 12:07 AM
Human being with feelings
 
macbook pro 4.1 - 2,5 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB DDR2 SDRAM, GeForce 8600M GT 1920 x 1200 32 bit color, Mac OS X 10.6.3 32 bit

Reaper 3.53pre7 no tracks- total cpu 8,5%, with open mixer no change
30 empty tracks - total cpu 15%, with open mixer 17-19%

but i can confirm that selecting and deselecting multiple tracks is sluggish, almost one track in 0.5 second
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06-05-2010 01:25 AM
Human being with feelings
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicbynumbers
This is probably not it but some of my mac book based students complain of severe sluggishness in logic when using an additional 2nd monitor. Not on all models though and yours should be fine. Is it ok when not using the additional monitor?
I'm not using an external monitor, the spec I mentioned is my laptop screen.

@ srgk, It's interesting that we seem to have such similar spec and such different performance.........I have no idea what would be causing that........if adding another 2GB RAM sorted me out I would be shocked.

Out of interest, are you measuring cpu in Reaper or with Activity Monitor? On my system, Activity Monitor shows sometimes almost double what the Reaper performance meter is showing.

Also, would you be so kind as to do a run-down of your audio and buffering settings; just to see if there is some tweak I've missed out on?
Reply
06-05-2010 02:53 AM
Human being with feelings
 
Same problems here (I have 3.52 and 3.53 last pre)

Idle Reaper runs about 8-10% CPU

50 empty tracks : 35-55% CPU
Closing the mixer window slightly reduces the CPU but not significantly
Selecting the better graphics also reduces the CPU load but again a matter of few percent.
GUI refresh set to lazy always


MBP unib OS X 10.6.3 4GB Nvidia 9400 and 9600 with 256 ram
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06-05-2010 11:48 AM
Human being with feelings
 
i've been measuring with reaper's internal performance meter. with Mac activity monitor reaper (30 empty tracks, open mixer and performance meter) consumes 40% (reaper meter shows 20% total)
with mixer closed activity monitor shows 34%, reaper shows 17%

i guess something is wrong here

btw at the time of measuring i've been using MBP integrated audio card, samplerate 44100 kHz, blocksize 250
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06-05-2010 02:25 PM
Human being with feelings
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by srgk
i've been measuring with reaper's internal performance meter. with Mac activity monitor reaper (30 empty tracks, open mixer and performance meter) consumes 40% (reaper meter shows 20% total)
with mixer closed activity monitor shows 34%, reaper shows 17%

i guess something is wrong here
I just did the same test and have similar results with my MBP. I am posting 2 more screen shots to show this. One is on the native monitor and the other is on my external monitor.

I am wondering if OS X does not do any sort of graphics hardware acceleration for external monitors. The GUI is much better on the native monitor, but as the CPU usage demonstrates it's not great.

Edit: I have uploaded the screen shots and as you can see, the GUI takes up a hugs chunk of CPU power while scrolling on my external monitor. This is obviously directly correlated to why the GUI feels sluggish.
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06-05-2010 02:36 PM
Human being with feelings
 
i'm not using external monitors, so all the measurements are done using MBP default display
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06-05-2010 02:41 PM
Human being with feelings
 
I just posted a screen of the CPU usage while scrolling on the native window with no external monitor plugged in. The CPU usage is still close to 50%.
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06-06-2010 06:01 AM
Human being with feelings
 
Update...............it's been correctly pointed out by Adam Wathan that Activity Monitor shows percentages of both cores separately......so full cpu use on a dual-core would register as 200%, while Reaper seems to compensate for this and show an overall performance reading out of 100.

It doesn't change the issues that exist, it's just that I've accidentally hyped them up through overlooking that fact about Activity Monitor. Apologies.
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06-06-2010 02:36 PM
Human being with feelings
 
I'm having this issue too.

I reduced the vu refresh to 10hz which enabled me to mix a session without dropouts,- but before that the dropouts were very frequent, and very strong.

Kind regards

Dave Rich
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