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How can I get my mac to process quicker?

Dyann McMinnar

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Fingers and toes crossed that some of this stuff helps...

Guide to Improving Mac Performance

If Second Life runs slowly on your Mac, make sure your system meets our minimum system requirements. If your system exceeds some of the requirements, some of these modifications may not be necessary.  For the best results, start with the settings listed here, and turn things up until you find the optimal balance between speed and graphics quality.

To get started:

  1. Open the Preferences window by choosing Edit > Preferences from the menu bar.
  2. Click the Graphics tab.
  3. Move the Quality and Performance slider to Low.
  4. Click Apply.

If you wish to increase individual graphics settings, you may click the Custom checkbox on the Graphics tab.  Try experimenting with various checkboxes and sliders until you find a combination you feel comfortable with.  For more information about the settings in the Graphics tab, check out our article on the Graphics Preferences Layout.

Alternately, you may click the Recommended Settings button on the Graphics tab to ask the Second Life viewer to try to determine your optimum graphics settings.


icons_parature_tip.jpg Tip: You may find it helpful to talk to other Mac users.  Use the Search window's Groups tab to find and join a Mac user group; they may be happy to help you out!

Troubleshooting Your Mac

  • Second Life stores its cache files in ~/Library/Application Support/SecondLife (where ~ is your home folder). Delete the whole cache folder about once a month if you run into slow startups (the Second Life hand icon bounces for a long time before displaying the Second Life window), strange texture issues, or other inworld issues.
  • If your Second Life viewer crashes often, try running it in a window instead of in full-screen mode.  Check Run Second Life in a window on the Graphics tab.
  • Run as few applications as possible while running Second Life, unless you have more than 1GB of RAM.
  • The Command key is used to modify the mouse instead of the Ctrl key in Second Life. This simulates the right-click on a PC mouse. This also brings up the rotation rings when in edit mode. You can ignore them if you're clicking; they won't get in the way.


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Hi Rayne, I have: 


  Model Name: MacBook

  Model Identifier: MacBook3,1

  Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo

  Processor Speed: 2.2 GHz

  Number Of Processors: 1

  Total Number Of Cores: 2

  L2 Cache: 4 MB

  Memory: 1 GB

  Bus Speed: 800 MHz





Intel GMA X3100:

Chipset Model: GMA X3100

  Type: Display

  Bus: Built-In

  VRAM (Total): 144 MB

  Vendor: Intel (0x8086)

  Device ID: 0x2a02

  Revision ID: 0x0003


Color LCD:

  Display Type: LCD

  Resolution: 1280 x 800

  Depth: 32-bit Color

  Built-In: Yes

  Core Image: Hardware Accelerated

  Main Display: Yes

  Mirror: Off

  Online: Yes

  Quartz Extreme: Supported

Display Connector:

  Status: No display connected



I hope that can give you some insight, and will probably lead to the respnse..."nope you're ____" with my luck :-) . I've done everything I can do in SL to make it run faster, including having it so low I get the crappy graphics. It seems to run the worse with even the smallest of lscripts that run animation. Doesn't help in the club I own :/   

I used to be able to boost apps manually on macs. Now I have no clue of OS 10 and up. Thank you for your response Rayne. I just may take my book to Apple and see if they can change/update my video card like Nvdia? :-)) Thank you so much for answering my question. Now...can you meet me to fix it? LOL KIDDING! :-))

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Unfortunatly with a MacBook with intergrated graphics youre gonna be pushing brown stuff uphill to get SL run fast.  The only options are to get a mac with a proper 3D card NOT an integrated card.  I think all new apple macbooks don't use integrated video so anything new should be a huge improvement. You would have to get a replacement as you cant upgrade the graphics in a macbook (like most laptops).

You could try running a 1.19 base client (ie a pre winlight client) rather than somthing based off 1.23.  That should probaby increase your framerate by a factor of 1.5x.


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Thank you so much for your suggestions Simon. Yeah, it appears I may have to replace this...2 y/o? mac :-(

I tried the 1.19 viewer you suggested to no avail. The lag meter is still in red stating "client frame rate below 10 too many complex objects in scene" But thank you so much for the idea.

So a 3D card is what I'm looking for then I guess. At least I know what to look for. Thank you again Simon. Have a wonderful day.

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I think your easiest solution would be to max out your ram.  My experience is that 1GB is too little.  I would go to crucial.com and run there memory scanner, and buy the max ram you can put in.  Sadly the video card is the video card, and nothing can be done probably.  I have run SL on a Macbook Pro with pretty good results.  Also if you are using an airport connection, I would try a hardwired connection.   WiFi is voodo at best and you may not be getting all the bandwidth that is available to you.

I have also tried boot camping with Windows XP, with limit sucess on a macbook.

Hope some of this helps


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Since the suggestions relating to optimizing SL have already been covered thoroughly, I'll tackle the operating system slant. OS X can be a bit quarrelsome with how it treats processes and the apparent lack of transparency, but there are a few things you can do to increase overall system performance, outside of SL:

  1. Take a cue from windows users and terminate processes you don't need (but in this case, programs, not system processes):
    • Open Terminal.app, type "ps -A > process.txt" (no quotes). This creates a text file with the list of currently running processes and saves it to your home directory. This step is not entirely necessary, but it makes it easy to sit back and think about what you do and don't need.
    • Find system processes here: http://triviaware.com/macprocess/all
    • From there, you can use the Activity Monitor (utilities -> activity monitor) to terminate any processes that you don't actually need. Please note that most on that list are required for OSX to run. Lots of overhead, but it gives you a base to work from so you can terminate programs that are unnecessary. With any operating system, it's a great idea to become familiar with the processes that routinely run on your system.
    • I've found that asking OSX to do a lot of multitasking is asking for trouble, so when you're running SL, keep it to one or two other applications max. It doesn't matter how well OSX manages memory when your processor has a thread backup.
  2. At the risk of being pedantic, I have to say it another way to make sure it comes across: Close programs you aren't using.
    • iTunes, iMail, iCal, iLife, Can Opener, Little Snitch, etc are great applications, but they should all be closed when you're not actually using them. Doing so can make everything else run faster.
  3. Follow the instructions found here: http://www.thexlab.com/faqs/performance.html . Some of the key points to pay attention to are:
    • Turning off visual effects
    • Repair permissions
    • Keep your hard drive free of clutter. (Read: Move data that isn't necessary to run the operating system and your applications to a separate drive, dvds, pen drive, tape, whatever you're comfortable with. OSX wants your yummy hard disk space for paging.)
    • Update Prebinding (occasionally)
    • Defragment your hard drives at least monthly (yes, drives *do* fragment under OS X/HFS+)
    • Check your Processor Performance Settings (power management)
    • Keep Fonts to a Minimum (loads of system fonts bog down your system). I recommend using Extensis Suitcase Fusion (2) for your font management. Since OSX keeps an active font registry, you don't have to worry about restarting applications to use fonts.
    • This document also contains some excellent tips on gauging and measuring your system's performance and troubleshooting issues, but they're largely superfluous to this discussion.
  4. Disable drive indexing by adding your hard drive to spotlight's privacy list

The best thing you can do, however, is get more ram. Simon is absolutely right, you're going to need all the ram and processor power you can get to compensate for the lackluster graphics hardware.

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The solution I'd recommend is keeping your current macbook, and buying a new pc laptop to play games on. They cost less, and have hardware that's more tailored to the activity. The current line of Apple laptops all have respectable hardware, but obsolete graphic cards. The hardware the 9600M GT is based on is over 2 years old. A modern card would be a GTX 200 series or Mobility Radeon 48/900 series card.

You can get the same specs as a macbook, in a more game-ready form with a better GPU, 4gb of DDR3 and the ability to go up to 8 for 745 USD. If your current macbook works well for you for everything but games, I see no reason to discard it when it serves a purpose.

I know for some it isn't an option, but I'll lay it out side by side for your perusal, right tool for the job sort of thing. Neither is a very 'futureproof' option, but they're both good examples of what is currently available.



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