>The Reason AE CS3 is Faster On Windows than on OS X

>Surprised that After Effects CS3 is faster on Windows XP than on Mac OS X on the same hardware?

There’s two reasons that the current OS X version of After Effects is slower:
1. The code generated by Apple’s compiler is not quite as fast as the Windows compilers that Adobe uses.
2. Windows XP has been around for years, so the Windows-specific AE code has been more optimized over the years than the brand-new Intel-Mac-specific code.

I’d expect both things to improve in the future: Apple’s Xcode will become faster and Adobe will have more time to optimize the platform-specific Mac code. Another benefit of Apple’s switch to Intel hardware is that the Intel-specific optimizations can now help both Windows and OS X users of After Effects.

Still, there’s one BIG reason why Windows on Mac hardware isn’t the ultimate solution; that the Apple hardware only gives the 32-bit versions of XP and Vista access to 2 GB of RAM on Macs. The solution is to use Vista64 or XPx64.

Photo by Bekah Stargazing

- Jonas

14 Responses to >The Reason AE CS3 is Faster On Windows than on OS X

  1. Cathrin

    >Dear Jonas,
    I can’t find your email-adress. Please contact me.
    Thanks a lot,


  2. PenGun

    >You understand that xcode is just a wrapper for GCC. The Gnu C Compiler.

    You are welcome.

  3. Anonymous

    >Very true, but new versions of xcode come with the latest version of gcc, and gcc is constantly improving in the speed department (still a lot of work to be done though). I think that apple lets you plug in intel’s custom compiler to xcode and it will build c/c++ (not objective-c though i believe). That would be faster, but I bet it costs a bit.

  4. Anonymous

    >Bla bla bla… Why so is Apple Motion faster than light? Stupid reasons I think.

  5. Jonas Hummelstrand

    >The reason Motion is so fast at what it does is that it is a very modern codebase directly developed for only one modern OS and heavily depends on using the graphics card for acceleration.

    Compare that to something like Shake or After Effects which have been in development for up to a decade, always adapting to several OS:es (Shake used to be available for Windows) at a time when GPU acceleration was only for rocket scientists.

    What Motion does, it does very well, but it has a long way to go before it can replace either Shake or AE.

  6. Steve

    >A little bit of a sidebar, but I find that Flash CS3 really lags on my iMac versus on my windows machine at work.

    On the mac, Flash CS3 seems to stutter when it comes to screenredraw. I most notice this when i’m dragging panels like the Script and Help windows around.

  7. Jonas Hummelstrand


    I am still waiting for my Adobe Master Collection, so I haven’t had a chance to test Flash CS3 yet. Are you sure you can compare the iMac to your Windows machine?


  8. Anonymous

    >well, at least CS3 is a lot faster than ae7 on the mac. i’ve seen ridiculous speed improvements, and even more so on intel hardware.

  9. Anonymous

    >I’d be interested to see how windows and OSX performs using one thread AE in two instances at the same time. This is usually the best way of utilizing multiple procs, cores.


  10. Jonas Hummelstrand

    That’s how AE’s “multiprocessing” and GridIron’s Nucleo works; by launching multiple instances.

  11. senortim

    >Did you means that Apple gives XP and Vista access to only 2GB? The way you worded your post, I can’t tell whether you’re saying that the 64 bit versions won’t work on Apple hardware. (Obviously, I’ve never tried it.)

  12. Jonas Hummelstrand


    If you follow the link, you’ll see that Windows XP on Mac hardware will only see 2 GB of RAM. I’m not sure about Vista (I have an upgrade sitting on a shelf, but I haven’t dared install it on my Mac Pro yet.) Both 64-bit versions of Vista and XP don’t have that limitation on Apple hardware.

  13. Anonymous

    >Supposedly the new 10.5.2 update that is rolling out in January will have been compiled using Intel’s latest compiler. Rumors are that it has significant speed increases across the board.

  14. Jonas Hummelstrand

    >I wish I had done a performance test before I updated my Mac. Please post results if you clocked any render speed difference!