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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: danieleran on Jul 29, '05 05:20:54PM

Of course Dashboard uses CPU and RAM, but only if you have widgets loaded and are using it.

Swapping pages from RAM to the HD can slow things down, but only if you are actively using more RAM than you have. SO, if you are trying to run every Adobe CS and Quark and Final Cut Pro on 512MB of RAM, you'll be swapping a lot. But if you load up various apps into RAM, and then don't use them, and they are swapped out to disk, no further disk swapping or RAM allocation is going to happen until to return to that app.

Having 50 MB assigned isn't losing 10% of an installed 512 RAM. OS X basically assigns every application 4 GB of space, and only actively deals with memory that needs immediate access quite effeciently.

My PowerBook has 1.25 GB installed, but virtual memory is handling 8.20 GB of allocated RAM at the moment, and there isn't any obvious paging activity going on while I work. Even with 78 processes active, only 2 or 3 are ever actually active, the rest, like Dashboard, are put to sleep. This is not Classic Mac OS!

With Dashboard, if you start widgets that allocate 50 MB, and then go back to Word, you haven't lost 50 MB. If you allocate more RAM than you have, the RAM you aren't using gets paged out and isn't paged back in until you need to use it again.

Dashboard by design, unlike Konfabulator, is engineered to do nothing until it is activated. Even when in use, most of what Dashboard does is handled via the WebKit, which is sharing resources already loaded for Safari.

Really, if you aren't using Dashboard, it isn't doing anything! Yes, if you load up certain widgets that don't work as Apple intended, there may be some processing going on even while Dashboard is suposed to be idle, but that would also mean you are actively using Dashboard, no?

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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: Pedro Estarque on Jul 30, '05 02:21:51PM

I hate when people say that "this in not classic, OS X can open as many apps as you want". You probably haven't stressed OS X VM to see that it is far from efficient. And please, let's stop with the fallacy that unused processes are swapped to HD. Every single opened process needs RAM, its usage can decrease if not active, but SOME memory is always needed. Just open Activity Monitor and click in "real memory", if you can find a process that uses 0 kb of RAM let me know. There is no magic even in the most in modern memory management system ( not OS X's case )

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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: danieleran on Jul 30, '05 11:24:17PM

I wasn't making a technical argument about how VM works, but rather noting that in practical use, apps that are not active are not consuming RAM in the manner of Classic Mac OS.

In OS 9, if you have an app open, it got a minimum allocation of RAM that was lost to the system, and potentially took more. You had to close apps to open others or you ran out of memory.

Under OS X, you can have lots of applications open and apps that are not active will not be taking up a significant allocation of available RAM. Certainly, the more RAM you have, the better, and trying to run more than machine can handle will result in poor performance.

None of that changes the fact that, even you are trying to get by on minimal RAM, stopping Dashboard will not make a difference in system performance.

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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: tceylan on Dec 11, '05 06:47:12PM

This is not correct. Please add 3-5 widgets to your dashboard, and lauch
"top" tool, and take a look at 'resident' memory usage. Typically my
widgets use about 2-5 megs each. I have seen some widgets use
as much as 30-50 megs. Rouge widgets might also continue
consuming CPU even if you don't run the dashboard. (I used to have
a map quest widget that used 30% of CPU after I put dashboard
in the foreground once, and minimized after).

So, disabling dashboard should make a difference in the performance depending
on other applications, and how much ram/cpu you have, and how much
physical ram is left. This difference might be insignificant if you have
a lot of free ram.

2-5 megs per widget might not be a significant amount of
RAM in most cases. However, claiming that dashboard does not
use any resources is not correct. I would probably rephrase this as
"dashboard uses resources as efficiently as possible."

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