I've been using Vim and MacVim as may main development tool for last two weeks and have noticed that the cursor scroll speed is much fast and fluent in MacVim than it is in Vim in the Terminal. It's a difference like night and day. Both applications use the same .vimrc file. Dose anyone have an idea what could cause the performance difference?


Vim is run in your shell which is run in your terminal: it inherits many layers of latency, mostly related to redrawing the window and input handling.

MacVim is not run in a terminal and its rendering engine is much snappier. It's not that great, though, when you are used to GVim on Linux.

  • Thanks! Do you have some more Information and what OS X rendering componenten they use? Also so you are saying GVim on Linux (and Windows?!) has even better performance that MacVim? Bummer ... ;) – wowpatrick Oct 11 '13 at 14:05
  • I don't know about GVim on Windows but yeah, it's lightning fast on Linux compared to MacVim. You'll have to read the source for more information. – romainl Oct 11 '13 at 14:09
  • 4
    I've spent a serious amount of time trying to debug the speed difference mentioned here. It's very visible both in Terminal.app and in iTerm2.app (although it manifests slightly differently). It's not visible in terminals under XQuartz on the same computer using the same vim executable. My impression is that for iTerm2, the bottleneck seems to be in the transferral of data from the forked ptty session into iTerm2. But I can't imagine why that would be different for iTerm2 than it is for rxvt/xterm/etc. – Trevor Powell Oct 15 '13 at 5:13

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