HOW TO: optimize OS X?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by bearbo, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. bearbo macrumors 68000

    bearbo

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    #1
    i'm hoping this thread will help me, and eventually help other people in regard to make the operating system more responsive, and does everything faster.

    i've noticed generally the computers in the apple store, even though have lots of applications loaded, are still quite responsive. does anybody know how did they optimize it?

    or can you share how did you optimized your system to make it more responsive?

    there are two ways: hardware improvement, and software optimization.

    obviously buying "better" hardware can help, but for those of us who can't afford to upgrade components of the computer, we can only resort to software optimization.

    i'll start with the most obvious ones (since one reason i started this thread is i dont know how to optimize, i'd like to learn some tricks:p :eek: )

    1. repair disk - if your file system has problem, it will likely to be causeing problem.

    2.let's also try not to "optimize" at the cost of functionality, for instance, disable dashboard might help, but that's one big feature of tiger (however, limit dashboard active widget is a good one!)

    what do you guys have?
     
  2. Blubbert macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    #2
    I use OnyX to clear the caches, and do the cron jobs. It keeps my MBP nice and peppy.
     
  3. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #3
    Well, Macs at the Apple Store are loaded with a new disk image regularly - that could contribute to the responsiveness of Apple's computers.



    I don't do any maintenance to my Mac and I haven't noticed any decrease in performance.
     
  4. CubeHacker macrumors 65816

    CubeHacker

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    #4
    Actually, I always found the opposite to hold true for me - the Macs in the Apple store are always very sluggish and unresponsive. I remember one time when I was playing with a Dual G5, and it was running much, much slower than my ancient G4 Cube at home. I even restarted the G5 and it was still slow. I know all G5's aren't that slow, but most of the Macs in the Apple store (at least SOHO store) are very messed up.
     
  5. bearbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    bearbo

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    #5
    i've heard of onyX...

    what does it do exactly?
     
  6. Blubbert macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    #6
    OnyX is a nifty program that enables various options within OSX, and secondly makes all maintenance exteremely simple. You just have to click the mouse.
     
  7. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #7
    Is your Googleage broken? :rolleyes:

    http://www.titanium.free.fr/pgs2/english/onyx.html

    Frankly, OnyX isn't really needed (IMO), as launchd automagically runs when the computer wakes from sleep and runs and scripts that need to be run. Emptying cache is as easy as opening the requisite folders and moving the contents to the trash. Please don't fall victim to the "Optimize System" option. It's not what you think it is. Like an installer, it "optimizes" the system by prebinding apps (linking libraries) so they open faster. That's it. That's all. No magic. Nothing special. If you think it makes your system faster, then placebos work well on you.

    There's no magic bullet to "optimize" OS X. The system is pretty optimized to begin with, and most of the "slowness" one might see is from hardware limitations. But here are some tips:

    Avoid "haxies" and UI enhancers. These are apps that sit at a layer between you and the WindowServer. They might make things look neat, but they put your uptime in jeopardy. If it wants to install "APE", avoid it (IMO).

    Get enough RAM. 1GB is the MINIMUM (IMO) that Tiger should have. Running Parallels? 2GB is the MINIMUM (IMO) that your Mac should have.

    Don't run a bajillion widgets. They all steal RAM, even if they're not actively in focus. After the first time they become focus, they acquire RAM and don't give it up until they are quit or you restart, even if they're not in the foreground.

    Be smart. Don't install random things that come down the pike. Google a bit before you install non-name-brand items. If it asks for a password, question why!

    Don't run out of disk space. The less disk space you have, the slower your OS response becomes. Tests have indicated that having less than 15% of your disk as free space, negatively impacts your performance (and increases the risk of Bad Things™ happening) significantly. If you need more disk space for your music and pr0n, buy an external.
     
  8. eenu macrumors 65816

    eenu

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #8
    i have an issue where i startup and get a min of constant disk activity in which time i can do nothing!

    I've tried everything to sort it and nothing works. Any ideas on that one?
     
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #9
    Mmmmm... you have to tell more about your system. Do you have FileVault on? What applications do you have set to run on launch? Do you use antivirus software or anything else that does scans?
     
  10. eenu macrumors 65816

    eenu

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #10
    the only startup item is my intego spam filter program but that is loaded right at the beginning and the disk activity goes on for a minute.

    There is no other software or scanners or anything on at all and defo not on at startup.

    Its really getting on my nerves now
     
  11. bearbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    bearbo

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    #11
    :rolleyes: someone's spell checker broke.

    but this does answer my question, i was wondering if OnyX does something more special than deleting cache. what are cache for anyway, aren't they supposed to help make the system faster or something?

    i have no UI enhancer (other than what's already came with OS X)
    I have 2GB of RAM, as standard for MBP 2.33
    I have 3 widget on, istat pro, calendar, weather
    the applications i have are: photoshop, aperture, appzapper, betterzip, candybar, chicken of vnc, coconut battery, garage sale, iwork, office, skype, toast, transmission, vine, VLC, HP printer thing (i did repair permission after install that thing), logitech control center. that is all the stuff i have aside from what came with the computer (i reinstalled, without idvd, imovie, and garageband, printer drivers, and languages)

    i have 72.78GB on startup drive, out of 111GB

    now what are some other things i can do to further enhance the responsiveness ?

    (i do agree these are the most important things)
     
  12. Blubbert macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    #12
    When i installed the Logitech Control Center, i noticed my MBP to be slower, and my dock would not zoom properly. It would get stuck when i would mouse over it.
     
  13. bearbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    bearbo

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    #13
    has anyone found parallel to cost system performance even when it's not in use?
     
  14. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #14
  15. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #15
    [​IMG]

    :eek:

    Catching corruption of plists and daemons that stop working should really be a system-level feature in Leopard or a future OS X, though....
     
  16. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland.
    #16
    I've found Safari to be a massive CPU hog, when left running for a while, particularly if lots of tabs are open. I make a point of quitting and relaunching it regularly.
     
  17. panoz7 macrumors 6502a

    panoz7

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #17
    Maybe he was reffering to "automagically" which as far as I know isn't a word.

    Thus far I've found little need to optimize OS X. Unlike windows it seems to be incredibly stable and doesn't slow down over time. Were you happy with your MBP's performace straight out of the box? I doubt it can get much better then that without giving up some of the features (like dashboard) that you reffered to.

    I've found the only optimization my Powerbook needs is an infrequent restart and an occasional look at activity monitor to see if something's taken more ram then it deserves.
     
  18. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #18
    He highlighted both "launchd" and "automagically". Launchd is not a misspelling, and automagically is a colloquialism of computer people, clearly a replacement for automatically + magic, which as far as most people know about computers might as well be how they operate. Clear enough now?
     
  19. panoz7 macrumors 6502a

    panoz7

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #19
    I even searched urban dictionary for automagically to make sure it wasn't some sort of secret computer term... I figured it was a colloquialism but it could have just as well been a typo. Sorry. Anyway, how is launchd magic? I think automatic would have been more appropriate anyway.
     
  20. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #20
    Do I really need to get into a discussion about my choice of words?

    kernel_task casts a spell and launchd is invoked and in turn launchd waves it's magic wand and scripts are run.

    <!**poof**!>

    Logs are rotated!

    <applause>
     
  21. bearbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    bearbo

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    #21
    okay, my apology for my ignorance.

    now. altho this is not a problem per se, but it bothers me. so i kindly ask for your help. my startup time constantly exceed a minute or so, i count from the chime to desktop (and menubar) loaded. while other ppl report as fast as 15 second, but usually 30 seconds. what can i do to improve this.. that is, what usually slow this down?

    i don't have any of the system modification software, aside from candybar. i don't have parallel (but i'd like to believe that shouldn't cause the problem, so i can use it:eek: ). i have a hp all-in-one which i installed the software and repaired permission (those ppl in HP needs to learn how to reset permission at end of their lil installation), i have aperture and photoshop cs3, and i have MS office.

    i've disconnected all external stuff, including a ext hdd and ext monitor (and yes, the printer), but nothing seems to getting better.

    therefore i kindly ask for your help, suggestion, hints, anything in this matter.
     
  22. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #22
    What portion of the startup takes the longest?

    The Apple Icon with the spinning spokes?
     
  23. bearbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    bearbo

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    #23
    so last night i did a few tests, here's the result, everything in seconds

    click restart
    21.3 seconds later
    chime
    4
    apple (w/o spoke)
    12
    spoke spinning
    36
    spin stop, before the window show up
    6
    the window with progress bar
    6 (when i tried this in the apple store, this step is almost instantly)
    after type in password
    24
    everything's loaded.

    this is, of course, on the longer side, but the longest parts are the spinning spoke, the "OS X is starting" window with the progress bar (it felt long anyway), and after type in the password til the system is loaded. (it doesn't decrease that time if i put in automatic logon either.

    thanks for the helps :)

    other than this, the other aspects of the system isn't slow.
     
  24. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #24
    bearbo,

    I'll ask again. Do you reboot that often that this is an issue? If so, why? In most cases sleep mode is sufficient.

    The number of applications you have installed isn't going to affect performance, the biggest culprit will be the Startup Items, Launch Services, Launch Daemons, kernel extensions, etc...

    Have you tried using verbose mode or single user mode to see whats going on?

    The problem is that you are asking us to diagnose a "problem" without providing any history of what you know or have tried and from the looks of it, you aren't too familiar with the underlying OS functionality.
     
  25. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #25
    Your boot time indicator should be from a "cold" boot, not choosing restart from the menu. Of course it takes a long time to restart. The OS has to preen on the way out first. And if the spokey part of the boot is the longest, then it's likely you need to do some disk maintenance (either fsck, Disk Utility booted from installer CD, or DiskWarrior/TechToolPro).. which would also attribute to a longer than average preen time on outtro.
     

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