[XeTeX] performance on Windows machines

Jonathan Kew jonathan_kew at sil.org
Mon Sep 11 20:32:42 CEST 2006

On 11 Sep 2006, at 5:47 pm, William Adams wrote:

> I've killed a second HD in my Windows pen slate, so am contemplating
> getting a replacement machine --- does anyone have any perspective on
> how much faster a Celeron-500 will be over a Pentium/MMX-233 for
> running XeTeX? Any hope of it being significantly more than twice as
> fast as the MHz comparison would indicate?

[somewhat off-topic response]

I have no idea about that comparison, but I can tell you it really  
flies on a new Mac Pro!

To test performance with legacy TeX stuff (not OpenType, etc), I  
sometimes run texbook.tex (with a suitable prefix file to make it  
actually typeset). The Mac Pro takes about 1.1-1.2 seconds (real  
time) to generate the 494-page PDF using xetex -output- 
driver="xdvipdfmx -q -E". Wow! Actually, that's faster than pdftex  
can do it. :)

Factors that may help performance include disk speed as well as CPU  
speed. That's probably more important than having lots of RAM, as  
xetex isn't all that memory-hungry (by today's standards). Having  
dual CPUs helps, too -- that's why xetex can beat pdftex on the Mac Pro.

Note that typesetting with OpenType fonts is a lot slower (by a  
factor of several times, usually) than using TFMs; while there's  
certainly scope for optimization, this is partly due to the much more  
complex glyph layout process, so it will probably always be true to a  
large extent. That's the price you pay for the flexibility and power  
you get with the richer font model.


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