To enhance Rosetta perfomance, max out your Intel-based Mac’s RAM

“According to most of the folks who have actually benchmarked Rosetta, it’s speed hit is… in the 50% range, give or take a few, and sometimes worse,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Mac Night Owl. “Now I haven’t actually attempted to confirm these published results, but they are sufficiently widespread and come from enough authoritative sources to accept at face value. It means that your spanking new MacBook Pro with a 2GHz Intel Core Duo processor, acts more like a computer with a 1GHz duo core processor when you uses Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop. This may sound disappointing, but it really shouldn’t be.”

“Just what kind of Mac are you replacing? Forgetting the various differences between the PowerPC and Intel chips, if your computer was rated at less than 1GHz, you’re still getting a speed boost on your emulated software. And it’s just a stop gap. You can rest assured that both Office and Photoshop will go Universal some time in the next year. Other applications are being updated nearly every single day. Sure, the sooner the better, but I can’t see typing in Word any faster than I do now, so I wouldn’t consider emulation a significant turnoff unless I was working on lots of large documents with embedded documents,” Steinberg writes.

“There are things you can do to enhance Rosetta performance, however, and the first is to max out RAM. According to Transitive, its technology typically exacts a 50% memory overhead on an emulated application. In the real world, if Photoshop, for example, needs 128MB of RAM to run efficiently, add another 64MB for Rosetta to do its thing. When you factor in the requirements of Mac OS X for Intel, and any other applications you might run simultaneously, you can see that a 512MB MacIntel is apt to bog down in virtual memory land before long,” Steinberg writes. “Also don’t forget one thing that commentators have largely ignored, and that is that Rosetta is at version 1.0 for all practical purposes. Over time, it’s quite possible that Apple and Transitive will find ways to make it run faster, and don’t be surprised if one of the main features of Mac OS 10.5 Leopard is a 10 to 20% performance boost for PowerPC emulation.”

Full article here.

Apple’s brand new iPod Hi-Fi speaker system. Home stereo. Reinvented. Available now for $349 with free shipping.
Apple’s new Mac mini. Intel Core, up to 4 times faster. Starting at just $599. Free shipping.
MacBook Pro. The first Mac notebook built upon Intel Core Duo with iLife ’06, Front Row and built-in iSight. Starting at $1999. Free shipping.
iMac. Twice as amazing — Intel Core Duo, iLife ’06, Front Row media experience, Apple Remote, built-in iSight. Starting at $1299. Free shipping.
iPod Radio Remote. Listen to FM radio on your iPod and control everything with a convenient wired remote. Just $49.
iPod. 15,000 songs. 25,000 photos. 150 hours of video. The new iPod. 30GB and 60GB models start at just $299. Free shipping.
Connect iPod to your television set with the iPod AV Cable. Just $19.

Related article:
Increasing RAM improves Mac OS X’s ‘Rosetta’ performance? – January 25, 2006


  1. I’m very impressed by Rosetta. As someone who has used Classic in the past I can only stress that this is completely different. Photoshop on my Macbook Pro runs pretty much as it did on my iMac G5.

  2. Coming from an 800mhz iBook G4, Photoshop and Office run noticably faster on the core duo iMac with 1.5GB of RAM. Yes, rosetta is slower for all the reviewers comparing it to a 5 month old iMac, but I don’t think most people are upgrading a 5 month old machine…

    That being said– I can’t wait till Photoshop and Office are Universal!!

  3. I just can’t wait to get my hands on my new 2.0 GHZ MacBook Pro that I just ordered. I will be replacing a 500 MHZ (G3) Pismo, so I look forward to a speed increase even under Rosetta.

    Anyone went through a change like the one I mention above? Waht’s your feedback?

  4. “if Photoshop, for example, needs 128MB of RAM to run efficiently,”

    LOL. Try at least 1 Gig. Photoshop uses about 4 – 10+ times the memory of the size of your graphic you are using. You got a 200 MB file you need lots of RAM.

  5. Buying a Mactel now is a serious buying mistake.

    1: You can’t use most of your old PPC software

    2: Ones that can run under Rosetta is slow

    3: There is hardly any native Mactel software.

    4: Professional versions of software are being rolled out with new, expensive updates. So it takes years to do that and they will be buggy when released.

    5: When that software is finally released, your MacTel would already be obsolete and the software won’t run as fast as a new MacTel.

    6: You have to outlay a lot of cash because your updating hardware and software a the same time.

    Your best course of action would have to been to stick with your PPC machine and nurse it for the next couple of years, save up your money and wait for a stabilized hardware/OS/software to arrive.

    Buy then of course a version of Vista will be running native on Mactels, so you might as well wait for that.

  6. “if Photoshop, for example, needs 128MB of RAM to run efficiently,”

    Where did this guy get this info? Out of his fscking @SS?

    Listen to me and I’ll tell you a secret.

    For best Photoshop CS2 speed you need a 64 bit PPC Mac, Tiger and lots of RAM, like 4.5 GB or better.

    Photoshop needs 2 GB, Mac OS X need about 500 MB, then you need some RAM for file manipulation. Nothing else running either.

    Anything less than 3 GB or non- 64bit or non-Tiger and you will have Photoshop swapping RAM to disk, yea, your slow boot hard drive. Beachball City.

    Unless you got a RAID O pair of 36, 74 GB 10,000 RPM Raptors or 150 GB 10,000 RPM RaptorX (Quad only) as a boot drive or scratch disk, your going to suffer serious Photoshop performance degradation.

  7. “I wanna´ buy a new Mactel so my pro software programs will run at least 50% slower and I can´t run my old PPC software!”

    What are people thinking? (What was Apple thinking in releasing these computers?)

    I guess the early buyers fall into two categories:
    a) early adopters that want to say they have the newest.
    b) people that never use anything more than what comes with the computer.
    c) their currnet mac died or is so old it won´t run anything.
    c) all of the above.

  8. macdude , fuck off , you dumb zero talent trolling douchebag prick

    i’ve gone from an imac g4/800 to an imac dual core 2 ghz and it REALLY moves

    impressive stuff

    the first time you run a rosetta program it’s slow but it speeds a lot up as it’s loaded into ram and the mac can delve into cache

  9. I find my MacBook Pro is quite a bit faster than my poor old PB G4 867 12″. With Universal apps, it just flies, such as Safari, which I think everyone can appreciate.

    The screen is MUCH brighter. It has a more refined finish, a bit less granular. This thing is FUN too with the built-in camera.

    The new Macs are simply FUN for old and young. My kids went nuts. My father couldn’t leave him new iMac alone.

    Video conferencing with Grandma. The future is here. Thank you Apple.

  10. i’ve gone from an imac g4/800 to an imac dual core 2 ghz and it REALLY moves

    Not in Photoshop CS2 it won’t.

    impressive stuff

    Only as impressive as the width of your @ss.

    the first time you run a rosetta program it’s slow but it speeds a lot up as it’s loaded into ram and the mac can delve into cache

    Making excuses already?

    You don’t know the meaning of the word speed unless your running a tricked out PowerMac with RAID O as boot.

    Oh I got a iMacTel sitting right here, it’s a TOTAL SLOW COW.

    So fsck off.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.