[OS X TeX] TeX Performance (iBook)
aenkerli at indiana.edu
Sun Feb 6 02:42:16 CET 2005
Interesting thread. Couple of things to note.
iBook (Dual USB) 500MHz, 384MB RAM, Mac OS X 10.3.7, GW's teTeX,
Yes, a slow machine from 2001. Usually, this machine is perfectly fine
for day-to-day TeXing, especially as, for most documents, the actual
typesetting is only done once the document is mostly ready.
An advantage of a slow machine for testing performance is that
differences in performance are more noticeable.
TeXing the source2e document takes some time to generate fonts on the
first pass so these results aren't that reliable:
It seems running on battery has no effect if the Energy Saver options
are set to maximal processor speed.
However, impact of running with the reduced processor speed option is
Will try to do a test booting from a much faster external LaCie drive
(80GB, d2 enclosure). In the past, it has made a very significant
difference in processing speed.
In fact, one advice for those wanting to use the Mac Mini as a
TeX-machine is to use an external drive. True, it makes the set up
bigger and might be a fairly big investment. But it also has several
advantages including being able to swap the drive between different
machines, easier backups, and having more drive space. Plus it requires
no tinkering to install... Granted, external drives may not be silent
but it doesn't seem Steffen's query was for a silent machine.
Did anyone do tests using their machine in pure CLI (say in "Single
User Mode")? It seems that, at least for RAM, the Finder and
Aqua-related threads are somewhat hungry, which might have an influence
on processing speed.
According to the Activity Monitor, pdfetex seems to be using between
80% and 90% of the processor with some speed given to AM itself but
that doesn't affect the "user" time. With AM running:
Unsurprisingly, disk access is mainly output and occurs in short tall
bursts (in AM). Could a RAM disk be used in this case? If so, how
(i.e., what needs to be put there)?
Then, there are procedures to make things faster in general, for
instance only typesetting changed sections (either with \includeonly or
more specific techniques).
All told, 40s to typeset 437 pages isn't *so* bad, especially as
typesetting the whole document should be a fairly infrequent task.
Granted, that document doesn't have very demanding typesetting
features. Anyone knows how much of an impact XeTeX-specific content,
for instance, would have on processing time?
Alex Enkerli, Teaching Fellow, Visiting Lecturer
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Indiana University South
Bend, DW 2269
1700 Mishawaka Ave., South Bend, IN 46634-7111
Fax: (574)520-5031 (to: Enkerli, Anthropology)
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