How is your Mac running? Is it fast enough? Do you want it to run even faster?
That’s not good, because then you wouldn’t be doing your part to increase Apple’s prosperity by purchasing yet another Mac, right?
I read a great article on Low End Mac about 11 ways to optimize your Mac’s performance. It reminded me of the Mac Classic days when we had to do everything just to keep the Mac running.
That was back in the day when Windows PCs were running faster than Macs, and good old PowerPC chips were not cuttiing the mustard, or cheese, or whatever it took to make things go faster.
The Mac in those days didn’t run very well. Yes, on screen performance of dialog boxes and windows of Mac Classic worked well, but everything else was dead dawg slow.
So, Mac users developed all kinds of tips and tricks to speed up their Macs. Empty extenstions and control panels, delete this, add that, and so on. Those Macs were slower than molasses, which was slower than Windows PCs.
Today, Macs run on Intel chips, just like Windows PCs. Still, Macs seem to require a little maintenance to prevent that “sluggish” feeling. It may be true, but it bothers me that we have to adjust what we do to account for some inherent deficencies.
For example, Ed Eubanks’ article The Efficent Mac User: 11 Ways To Optimize Your Mac’s Performance, #1 on the list is Clean Out Startup Items.
I doubt if the average Mac user has many startup items or even knows where to look to find them to clean them out. Some are necessary, some are not.
#2 on the list is the suggestion to start turning things off. Bluetooth, Speech Recognition, Internet Sharing.
Bluetooth gadgets are becoming more common, but the latter two are probably not in use on the average Mac.
System Preferences take up memory and often CPU cycles; in other words, they’re taking up space, memory, and hogging your Mac’s engine. Maybe.
Some can be turned off, some are needed, others can be deleted. It’s an art to know which is which is which. It’s easier just to add more RAM.
A couple of suggestions are not for the average Mac user or the faint of heart. Removing unncessary code from you Mac isnt’ an option for the rest of us. Keeping your Mac up to date with the latest version of OS X is tough enough for the Average Joe Mac.
If hard drive space is a premium, you may be better off just getting a larger hard drive, otherwise #7 on the list says get rid of all those languages in OS X that you don’t use. How many languages can you speak? How many do you use on your Mac?
I actually like #8 on the list—trim the Dashboard Widgets. I have a 23-inch screen at home and it’s full of Widgets and they take up memory and hog the Mac’s processor. Limit your daily diet of Widgets to essentials and your Mac may run better.
Many years ago I learned to start up the Mac’s Activity Monitor first thing (it’s inside the Applications folder, inside the Utilities folder). It tells you what’s running on your Mac and gives you an easy way to stop an application when it goes bad.
Sometimes a Mac application or utility will go crazy and start hogging the Mac’s processor, and everything else slows down. You just won’t know what it is.
I use LoadinDock to give me a quick view of the Mac’s CPU status. This is a little bitty application that checks your Mac’s processor and displays a graphic in the dock. If something is hogging your Mac, you’ll see it right away in the graph.
Hard drives are cheap and big these days, but if your’s isn’t, it may be easier to get a bigger one that try to figure out which files to throw away to conserve space.
Ed’s final suggestion, #11, is one that deserves a wholehearted “ditto, dude” from Mac360. Run Onyx. There are many Mac utilities which help clean up cache files and repair this or that on Mac OS X, but Onyx does them all, does them well, and does them for free.
Those are good ways to get more from your Mac. I’m all for large hard drives and as much RAM as you can afford. Then what? What do you do to Mac OS X to make it perform better. Share your experience and tips in the Comments section below.