[OS X TeX] What kind of operation is TeXing? (concerning hardware)

Aditya Dushyant Trivedi atrivedi2 at student.gsu.edu
Thu Feb 3 13:35:14 EST 2005

Steffen wrote:
>I am thinking about to buy a Mac Mini (1.42 MHz).

>Reading some reviews I noticed that a lack of this machine are disk-intensive
>operations – for the hard drive seems to be relatively slow.

>As my very main target by buying a new Mac is to have TeX (ConTeXt, XeTeX)
>executed fast (at a resonable price: no option for dual G5!), I would like to
>ask you for an advice:

>What kind of operation is TeXing (i.e. running texexec --pdf in the terminal)?
>What kind of components are important for this (fast processor, lots of RAM,
>fast harddrive)?

>And is a Mac Mini (1.42 MHz) a good idea, or do you recommend an other machine
>(at a comparable price)?

TeX is processor intensive. Having extra memory will offset the slow hard drive problem. I would recommend atleast 512MB. Given a choice between 256MB  RAM + 1.42 GHz and 512MB RAM + 1.25 GHz, I would select the latter. 

Do you currently have access to Macs? If so you can judge your needs yourself. Before running TeX, open System Monitor and see what happens. Depending on the kind and size of files you work on, you can make the decision yourself.

If you want a computer _just_ for TeX and are on a tight budget, go for a Dell (and windows).  In performance it will be better. Ofcourse there are side effects: Windows problems, Bigger form factor, noisier, etc. But like I said if TeX and budget are your only concern, I would recommend a Dell.


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