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OS X tweaks

Jan Nielsen

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Gentlemen and women,


Being a defector from the MS Windows world I recently got hold of a Mac Mini as music server.


Now I´m wondering if there are any set-up guidelines for Mac OS X just as we have seen for the Windows OS (e.g. this: http://www.audioforums.com/windows-vista-optimization.php).


By surfing a little on this great site I have read about using Xslimmer, Ram disc and disabling Spotlight – but are there more?


Could anybody help with a comprehensive list of tweaks and setup guidelines talking OS X used for music servers?







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This is a good start, and will keep you busy for a while. :)


I also use OmnidiskSweeper to delete unneeded files, which is perhaps particularly useful for an SSD with limited space (which I have yet to install).


I personally have not disabled Spotlight, as doing so makes it quite difficult to find files. ;) You can choose to disable certain folders.


You can also cruise through system preferences turning off every unused option.


You can also use activity monitor - and google the name of all unidentified processes that are running - to further research processes that might not be needed. The removal of any particular process will not yield a benefit - ditto for reclaiming disk space for any particular file - but there may be rewards from the cumulative effect....or not!


Turning off anti-virus is of course, a personal choice, but this is the single most likely background process to cause issues, IN MY experience. Getting rid of Symantec / Norton - I mean REALLY getting rid of ALL of it - is not for the faint of heart. Perhaps a good excuse to do a clean install - which is also useful for eliminating unnecessary files, etc. :)


Definitely make sure your firewall is turned ON, if you do delete your anti-virus.


Network tuning, i.e. getting rid of niggling issues, upgrading to 802.11N, getting a dual band G/N router (if you need G access for older laptops) etc., is not an OS tweak per se, but certainly can impact one's satisfaction with their music server.














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The link below has great ideas for optimizing performance, although it's not specifically for audio.




as an example:


SystemUIServer: high CPU usage and menu extras


If Activity Monitor (Leopard, Tiger, Panther) or Process Viewer (Jaguar) indicates that the process SystemUIServer is consuming an inordinate amount of CPU, the problem is very likely related to a third-party menu extras. Menu extras are the icons on the right side of the Apple menu bar other than the Spotlight icon (Leopard, Tiger).


Third-party menu extras that use an active Internet connection can result in very high CPU usage if the network connection becomes busy or blocked. The chances of this increase if you are simultaneously using streaming media and a menu extra that requires an Internet connection.


I'd not heard of this potential performance 'hit', although I instinctively deleted these items of my dedicated music server. You can usually do so by unchecking a box via preferences.





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