Panther’s Mail: Responsiveness while checking mail

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
December 1st, 2003 • 5:51 am

I have 16 different email accounts. Since Mail still does not give me the option to set different mail checking time intervals for different email accounts, they are all checked automatically every 15 minutes on my machine.

This means that it’s quite likely that mail checking will happen while I am doing something else in Mail, such as composing a new message or filing messages away.

Unfortunately, while Mail’s overall performance has significantly improved in Panther, I still experience annoying hiccups when typing text or clicking on stuff in Mail itself while Mail is checking my email accounts for new mail.

This is on a dual 1.25 GHz G4 with 1.5 GB of RAM. I am afraid that it simply is not acceptable. It obviously isn’t a hardware performance issue, since there aren’t any hiccups when I am doing stuff in other applications while Mail is checking mail. The hiccups only happens in Mail itself, so it’s a thread management issue as far as I can tell. Mail does not distribute its processing power appropriately between its different threads. There should be more than enough power for me to be able to type text in Mail without any kind of hiccup or interruption while Mail is checking mail.

This could also be related to the fact that I am on a dial-up connection to the Internet that peaks at 28.8 kbps. Maybe there aren’t any hiccups when you are on a high-speed Internet connection. It wouldn’t be the first time that Apple disregards the performance needs of Mac users that have powerful machines but a slow network connection. I strongly suspect that Apple simply doesn’t test its software often enough on machines with slow connections — or doesn’t care. After all, if you don’t like the speed, just subscribe to high-speed Internet, right?

Right. If only it were available.

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