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There is evidence to suggest that AE on Windows is slightly more efficient than AE on Mac OS, but such a huge difference in performance is almost certainly due to a configuration and/or hardware issue on your Mac.
Well I haven't changed anything on it apart from upgrading from OSX 10.4 to 10.5
The only other major difference would be graphics cards I suppose. The Mac has 256MB VRAM on a Nvidia GeForce 7300GT and the PC the older ATI Radeon X1900 with 512MB VRAM.
Is there anything else I can look at on the Mac?
I recommend you try a different project with AE-internal items only for comparison. The problems you are experiencing could just as well be an issue with the Illustrator file. I don't think that the graphics cards have any relevance as apparently they are not used during final renders (unless you explicitly enforce OpenGL, that is). At most, there could be a more generic problem with the management of the separate processes. Also keep in mind that for some operations multicore systems are generally less efficient - each separate core has in fact often a lower overall performance on a specific type of operations than a comparable single core/ dualcore system. This can by all rights include linear temporal operations such a motion blur sampling. In addition, if you create 8 processes on 8 cores, you create a multithreading bottleneck - operations that would happily make use of 2 cores (dual multithreading under normal circumstances), have no room on already fully occupied cores and thus enter additional wait cycles. I suppose the real point would be to upgrade to CS4 which provides much more control over setting up these things...
OpenGL has been enabled for Fast Previews on both machines with Adaptive Resolution set to 1/4.
Are there any official speed tests out there to compare these with as I was about to transfer full yto the Mac for AE and know I'm not so sure.
I'd say it's pretty well known that AE runs smoother, faster and more stable on a well-maintained PC than on Mac. I wish I could say why, but I'm not an engineer, this is solely based on my own experience as an AE user since version 5.
I insist to my employer that I run PC workstation and they look at me funny until they see the improved performance and lower overall cost. They still look at me funny, but they don't argue about it anymore.
I suppose Adobe put more effort in to the PC version as it's a bigger market for them.
But probably more to do with having a more basic graphics card on my Mac than on my PC. It would be interesting to see the speed difference with the same ATI Radeon X1900 card on both machines.
Just got the 30 day trial of CS4 for the Mac so will see how much difference that makes.
> I suppose Adobe put more effort in to the PC version as it's a bigger market for them.
That is not true.
When the holiday break is over, I'll see if I can get one of the engineering folks to say a few words on this forum about the technical challenges of developing on the constantly shifting platform that is Mac OS and Mac hardware.
I don't think anyone intentionally spoils his products, least of all Adobe, who actually were one of the companies that made Macs so popular in the old days due to Photoshop... You should simply consider the state in which the Mac is:
a)Apple have failed in providing a stable implementation for OpenGL ever since OSX arrived. Only 10.5.3 finally added native support for more advanced features, but peopel still have to use their own code and implement workarounds to boost performance
b)The processor swing 3 years ago left everyone with having to adapt their code. In case of Adobe with a ton of complex products this meant a lot of extra, wasted work just for that.
c)Now, on the threshold of native 64bit apps on the Mac, Apple again forced people to adapt and spent valuable time by not supporting Carbon any longer.
As you see, it is actually more a matter of Apple giving folks a hard time to keep up. If you took the development time and money spent on those conversions, sure we would see a different set of features/ more features in some programs.
Anyway, regarding your original problem: I'm not aware of a standardized benchmarking test for AE, which is probably not possible at all, given how many different footage types, layers, 3D, disk cache, media cache and whatnot you would need to consider. If you are seeing similar loss of performance in CS4, then something is really askew. I suggest you at least try to play with the number of cores to use for rendering. It should make a noticeable difference.