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Steps to a more responsive desktop Desktop
Try the following to maximize the speed of the desktop:
  1. Don't change the opacity of the terminal. [Editor: But it looks SO good!]

  2. Change the dock minimization effect to "scale" by typing defaults write mineffect scale

  3. Increase the mouse tracking speed and the keyboard repeat rate through the System Preferences application.

  4. Set your colors to thousands, not millions. [Editor: Audion 2.1 looks so much better in millions!]

  5. Increase the priority of the Window Server. This requires root access. First type ps cx and look for the PID of "Window Manager". Now type sudo renice -(number between 20 and 0) (PID of Window Manager). You will be prompted for a password; enter yours (not root's). Take note that as root, a lower number means higher priority; try -5 or -10 as a start. The situation is reversed if you are just doing a renice as user.

    So if 'ps' returns the PID of Window Manager as 243, you'd type "sudo renice -10 243" to set set the window manager's priority at -10.NOTE: See the comments for proof that this speed-up is purely pyschological at this point ;-)
PS: Some applications are not threaded properly. A good example is MSIE, it exhibits the exact same behavior under Mac OS X as it does under Mac OS 9. e.g. animated GIFs are "locked" in a frame if the mouse button is held down.
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nice/renice DOES NOT work!
Authored by: oeyvind on Apr 06, '01 04:07:39AM

Just FYI, the renice/nice command does not work because the kernel system calls used by the renice command are not connected to the mach scheduler. Sure, it
updates the nice value in the process structure, but the mach scheduler doesn't use it; it uses the priority bits in the mach task and thread structures.

Any difference you see after renicing a process is purely psychological. The source code is there for all to see. If you don't believe that, start two CPU bound processes. Watch them each get about 50% of CPU time. Renice one of them. Watch them each still get about 50% of CPU time.

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nice/renice DOES NOT work!
Authored by: Erik Toh on Apr 06, '01 07:21:10AM

Hi, thanks for bringing that to my attention... I did a 'ps onice' and saw the expected results, and thus didn't check to see if it really worked. Mea culpa.

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Authored by: robg on Apr 11, '01 11:12:33AM
Check out this thread on MacFixIt - someone ran timings before and after renice, and it certainly appeared to have an impact: Any thoughts? -rob.

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Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 06, '01 06:02:30AM

I don't know if nice/renice works. Just a simple clarification about sudo.

It may not be obvious if one sets the same password for both admin and root, just it used be in the public beta, but sudo does not ask root password, it asks YOUR password, instead.

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Mostly good advice
Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 06, '01 11:11:03PM
Although others have pointed out problems with the nice command, the other suggestions by the author are good advice for a more responsive system. Another useful tip (previously mentioned in my install hint) is to relocate your swap files to their own partition to prevent disk fragmentation related slowdowns in your swap files. The best way to do this is still under debate but check out osxfaq page and gdif's page for starters. I have also read some threads (on macfixit or macnn, not sure which) about setting up a UFS partition for the swap files which is supposedly more efficient. This tip will have the greatest effect for those with little ram (<=128 MB) but should help all systems to some degree. Basically the more swap files you have, the greater the performance improvement. Cheers, Yuri

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