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Create a new user for high-CPU-usage apps System
In order to have a better experience with high-processor using applications (specifically shoot-them-up games) I decided to create an account for that game. For me, that game was Quake, and there were several items I needed to be different:
  1. 800x600 resolution
  2. Thousands of colours, not Millions
  3. "Ignore trackpad when mouse is present" enabled, so I don't enable the drag lock while with a gun in my hand.
So I created another user, took the Quake icon .icns file and dropped it as the user image, temporarily set it to administrator, set up all the options, gave it a simple Finder + Quake + Trash dock, and then set it to standard user.

Easy, and about a 30% to 40% gain in FPS (frames per second).
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Create a new user for high-CPU-usage apps | 18 comments | Create New Account
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Create a new user for high-CPU-usage apps
Authored by: NeutronMonk on Sep 17, '04 10:52:06AM

Yes, I've used this concept for graphic intensive tasks- e.g., I have a "PS7" account (with the logo as user icon) for Photoshop, etc. If you look at the Activity Monitor, you'll find the gains in memory and CPU impressive. My only wish is for a way to use this concept within one account as multiple workspaces- this would eliminate the need for entering a password.

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Create a new user for high-CPU-usage apps
Authored by: spnyc on Sep 17, '04 10:58:51AM

i would even say you could use this for finicky apps as well as cpu intensive apps.i have used this trick as well to run Traktor DJ Studio (which is both finicky and cpu intensive) and have had a much better experience. the other upside is if you happen to crash or need to reboot into that user, however unlikely that is, you can boot much faster as well. occasionally traktor decides it's had enough and i need to reboot so this is definitely a good thing, especially when i am about to go on....

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Create a new user for high-CPU-usage apps
Authored by: makip on Sep 20, '04 10:32:03AM

I can understand why someone may want to do this for running Quake, it saves the hassle of changing screen res, colour depth and locking the trackpad. Quake isnt something you will use to create data and interact with other applications. Its a game with drastically changed and very specific environment settings.

But for PS7 or other "CPU intensive apps"? Why are you getting memory gains and CPU useage? Because when you switch user you put any processes they are running into the background. If you dont need to run those proccesses then quit them! Or you could learn how to lower their priority.

Aside from the fact that you will be having to maintain user settings over many accounts, you are also creating files with different owners and permissions. Is that worth the hassle? And swithing b/w the multiple users isnt exactly the most convienient thing for work flow.

A seperate user per application is not how the OS was designed to run. It is far less efficient in both memory and CPU to have seperate users logged in to run diffent apps.

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Same concept for battery mode
Authored by: melo on Sep 17, '04 11:36:45AM

I use the same concept but for on-battery mode. I use my laptop as a desktop reaplacement. When I'm at the office, I have all sort of apps running in the menu bar and in the background. These apps take away precious battery power.

I setup another account with the minimal number of startup items, and use it when I'm on the road, using the battery.

When I use my main account with battery fully loaded, I get 1:30h. With the second user, 2:15/2:30.

TiBook 800mhz

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Same concept for battery mode
Authored by: reiggin on Sep 18, '04 09:46:00AM

It's time for a new battery. I, too, have an 800 mhz TiBook. When I started getting 1:30 on battery, I bought a new battery from NewerTech and now I get 3:45 easily. The key to good battery longevity is to drain the battery fully before recharging and then not leaving it on the charger for long periods of time after it's fully charged.

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Same concept for battery mode
Authored by: giantmike on Sep 18, '04 07:06:32PM

Hmm, I use the exact opposite of your technique. I never drain the battery fully, and very often leave it plugged in for weeks at a time. I have had this battery in my iBook for about 2 and a half years now. I still get a solid 3
-3.5 hours of battery life surfing the web and using AIM (among other applications on and off). When the battery was new, I would get about 4 hours, but only losing about half an hour in this time is pretty good.

Maybe I got lucky, but I think the key to extended battery life with this type of battery is not letting it drain all the way.

Giantmike's Website -

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Same concept for battery mode
Authored by: HAL9000 on Sep 19, '04 10:00:40PM

Apple actually has a site about batteries in their devices:

There's a page specifically for notebooks too:

They say that you should "keep the juices flowing" by not leaving it plugged in all the time, and giving it times to discharge and charge. They also say you should let it discharge and charge back up again once a month. But if you've had good results with your ibook, then I guess I can't really argue with results. Maybe you are lucky ;). Or maybe your battery will drain in the future. But who knows :)

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Create a new user for high-CPU-usage apps
Authored by: bjmorgan on Sep 17, '04 11:40:03AM

Yes, I did this for my audio applications (i.e. GarageBand, Digital Performer) using tips from the September 2004 edition of Electronic Musician Magazine that have a couple more idea in addition to these. And there definitly is a large bump in processing power. A couple other suggestions they had include:

1. Disable any non-System font that the application doesn't require.
2. Make your desktop picture a solid color background.
3. Use shadowkiller to remove window shadows.
4. Use Process Wizard to optimize CPU priority over user owned processes.

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Create a new user for high-CPU-usage apps
Authored by: ob1cannoli on Sep 17, '04 12:05:48PM

This hint sounds intriguing....but if I were to do it with photoshop, I would have to fast-user-switch into the accound, but then I'd no longer be able to easily copy and paste from the other users clipboard eh, or open images saved to my main user's document's folder? Just wanting to varify before i decide to try it, as this seems like it would be an issue/hassle.

any one elses thoughts?

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Create a new user for high-CPU-usage apps
Authored by: subscriber3 on Sep 17, '04 12:51:53PM

I don't know, but there is an app called Clipboard Sharing

which was a macosxhints Pick of the Week

and in the comments you will find this:
Q. Is it possible to share the clip board b/w two different users on the same machine via fast user switching?
A. Just launch ClipboardSharing in both accounts and then either transfer the clipboard manually or use the AutoSync feature. It should work just as same as over the network.

anyone actually try this?

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Clipboard Sharing
Authored by: NeutronMonk on Sep 17, '04 01:11:11PM

Yes, I use Clipboard Sharing and it works beautifully. It also has multiple clipboards, and has the ability to send and receive clipboards across a network as well. A five-star app!

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Clipboard Sharing
Authored by: NeutronMonk on Sep 17, '04 01:23:29PM

Also, you can create a new folder on the root level of the hard drive (in my case I called it "Documents_Shared") and stash stuff there for use between accounts...

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Create a new user for high-CPU-usage apps
Authored by: xavierbdm on Sep 17, '04 01:27:48PM

I actually use ClipBoard sharing exactly for this purpose: I have two users: a pro and a personal one.
My personal address books syncs with my personal .mac, and because .mac sync alas does not allow synching only specific groups, I do have to keep the pro and personal address books unsynched. so I switch user, go pick (copy) a phone number or address and switch back, then just take the clipboard from the personal user!
Clean and easy.
And ClipBoard sharing is really handy for quick and dirty transmission of info accross the office (and the multiple clipboard prevents any erasing of your colleagues previosu clipboard ;-) )
Interesting to see that the current Office banner ad on the site now portrays exactly that: user switching between pro and personal life... Nice coincidence.

regarding issues with access to files, you have to start saving files in Shared, and permissions can become a bit of a headache though...

iMac G4 17 800/512/80 + powerbook firewire G3 500/512/30

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Create a new user for high-CPU-usage apps
Authored by: metiure on Sep 17, '04 02:38:43PM

How about creating such an account for Virtual PC? Worth it?


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Create a new user for high-CPU-usage apps
Authored by: sjk on Sep 17, '04 02:51:57PM

This is a useful tip for games and other apps that change resolutions and cause Desktop icon positions to be jumbled when they quit.

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Authored by: NeutronMonk on Sep 17, '04 05:25:07PM

I should think that VPC would greatly benefit- that usage would be one that fits the profile. When you change accounts, the system "re-nices" all the processes for the account in use. I'll let you know- I have VPC 7 on order, and I'll try it both ways.

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Fast User Switching
Authored by: Chris Andrews on Sep 20, '04 05:24:34AM

Would you still see aan increase in speed if the "fully-loaded,High-res" user was in the background, or would the memory and CPU use still be active

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Create a new user for high-CPU-usage apps
Authored by: 153957 on Sep 20, '04 03:29:37PM

I start TextEdit (close the text edit window), then quit all other Applications (even the Finder)
then start the game from the Dock.

Before starting the game my CPU is mostly running at 0-3 % on a regular use-account, so i dont think i can get much more out of it...

(until now i have kept my resolution(1440x900)/colors at its standard

153957 - TheNumberMan - MacFreak

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