[OS X TeX] speed of typesetting on a MacBook?

Gerben Wierda Gerben.Wierda at rna.nl
Thu Jan 12 09:09:01 EST 2006

> On Jan 11, 2006, at 8:38 PM, Nathan Dunfield wrote:
>> One would expect TeXing on the new MacBook to be very fast.  The
>> processor from which the Intel Core Duo processor is derived, the
>> single core Pentium-M, turns out the some of the highest TeX
>> benchmarks of any processor (laptop or not).  For instance,
>> 	http://www.nslog.org/latex.html
>> is somewhat out of date, but it shows a 1.6 Ghz Pentium-M laptop
>> being 38% _faster_ than a Dual 2GHz Powermac G5.   (There's a 17in
>> Powerbook on the list, too, a 1.33 Ghz, which is 3 times slower
>> than the Pentium-M.)   Of course, whether this benchmark is really
>> representative of ones actual daily TeXing tasks is another
>> matter.  However, it seems reasonable that a lower-bound on the
>> MacBooks' performance would be that of a random recent Pentium-M
>> laptop, so you could probably do a couple tests on a friends PC
>> laptop to get a better idea of how much performance you'd actually
>> gain here.
> FWIW, here's the time for my new Dual 2.3GHz G5 1.5GB RAM:
> Output written on source2e.pdf (445 pages, 1243204 bytes).
> Transcript written on source2e.log.
> 7.230u 0.420s 0:07.91 96.7%     0+0k 0+16io 0pf+0w
> on the third run.

Still on my todo list is a good TeX benchmark. The one above is not really
good because there are many things influencing the result which have
nothing to do with the speed of TeX itself. E.g., when you have a Full
install it will be slower than a Basic Install because the KPSE caches
(ls-R) are smaller. It matters even more what you have in ~/Library/texmf.
Also, the question if you are displaying Terminal output matters. Stdout
and stderr really slow things down on Mac OS X, so you need to run your
process with stdout and stderr directed to /dev/null. Etc. This is why the
benchmark site above is rather useless.

A really good benchmark would come with its own self-contained texmf tree
(maybe the TeX Book), switch off access to the one in /usr/local/teTeX and
then run a few tests. This would give a standard measure of performance of
the programs (TeX, pdfTeX, dvips come to mind. Then it would perform the
same test, but now with the installed texmf tree and it would then give a
measure of how optimal in terms of speed your configuration is. And it
would tell you the performance hit of displaying stdout/stderr.

Maybe a few TeXperts could work with me in creating a true benchmark for TeX?

Having said that, the Dual Core should not speed up TeX much as TeX is
single-threaded. So, I would expect to see 1.6MHz-1.8MHz Pentium with fast
memory and fast disk performance on the new systems. I would expect
significantly slower performance than the 3.6GHz Pentium performance of
the Developer Transition Kit unless we are talking about systems under a
heavy load of multiple processes.


------------------------- Info --------------------------
Mac-TeX Website: http://www.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/
          & FAQ: http://latex.yauh.de/faq/
TeX FAQ: http://www.tex.ac.uk/faq
List Archive: http://tug.org/pipermail/macostex-archives/

More information about the MacOSX-TeX mailing list