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iTunes 2 is wayyy too processor hungry

post #1 of 77
Thread Starter 
Whenever i'm playing a song with iTunes 2, everything else in os X slows down, not a little, but a lot. I'm running a rev D iMac (333mhz) with 256megs. top shows iTunes to be using 25-45% of my CPU, and that has to be way to much. I remember people complaining about issues such as this with iTunes 1.X and if i recall it only used aroud 25% of my CPU. Why does apple make such CPU hungry apps?!

I know that it is possible to make an mp3 player take far less than this much processor time because Audion doesn't use more than 15-23% when playing the same song that caused iTunes to use as much as 45%.

I love iTunes and will continue to use it, but is there anyway to tweak it so that it uses less CPU time?
post #2 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by Cosmo:
<strong>Whenever i'm playing a song with iTunes 2, everything else in os X slows down, not a little, but a lot. I'm running a rev D iMac (333mhz) with 256megs. top shows iTunes to be using 25-45% of my CPU, and that has to be way to much. I remember people complaining about issues such as this with iTunes 1.X and if i recall it only used aroud 25% of my CPU. Why does apple make such CPU hungry apps?!

I know that it is possible to make an mp3 player take far less than this much processor time because Audion doesn't use more than 15-23% when playing the same song that caused iTunes to use as much as 45%.

I love iTunes and will continue to use it, but is there anyway to tweak it so that it uses less CPU time?</strong><hr></blockquote>


WHAT?! Apple has a gigalop to play around with. Why should they make anything efficient!?
post #3 of 77
Soundjam took as much CPU time as iTunes. iTunes 1 took just as much too.

Playing a mp3 is like unstuffit a sit image.. while playing music at the same time. It takes up a lot of CPU to do that.
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post #4 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by Sinewave:
<strong>Soundjam took as much CPU time as iTunes. iTunes 1 took just as much too.

Playing a mp3 is like unstuffit a sit image.. while playing music at the same time. It takes up a lot of CPU to do that.</strong><hr></blockquote>

certainly not. There are MP3 players that take 1-5 percent of the CPU out for PCs and some even for the mac. it's not that hard to do.
post #5 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by applenut:
<strong>

certainly not. There are MP3 players that take 1-5 percent of the CPU out for PCs and some even for the mac. it's not that hard to do.</strong><hr></blockquote>

It's obviously not EASY to do. Besides the ones I have seen just play mp3s. They don't do all that fancy eye candy playing.. or have a EQ... or have and kind of Sound enhancing that iTunes and SoundJam had.
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post #6 of 77
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by Sinewave:
<strong>
They don't do all that fancy eye candy playing.. or have a EQ... or have and kind of Sound enhancing that iTunes and SoundJam had.</strong><hr></blockquote>

I also thought that it could be because of the EQs and enhancing but i tried turning both off, and it still used the same amount of processor time.

5% would be nice, but even if they could get it down to less than 15-20, it would be a huge improvement. I hate typing something and watching it appear on the screen after i type it (as i am doing right now with this reply)

[ 11-17-2001: Message edited by: Cosmo ]</p>
post #7 of 77
iTunes uses a lot of processor power just sitting there, never mind playing stuff. I have to turn it off or my SETI times go up signifcant;lly. Running properly, I get around 16 hours a unit; with iTunes on, SETI goes around 19 hours.
post #8 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by cdhostage:
<strong>iTunes uses a lot of processor power just sitting there, never mind playing stuff. I have to turn it off or my SETI times go up signifcant;lly. Running properly, I get around 16 hours a unit; with iTunes on, SETI goes around 19 hours.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Why would you be running Seti on a computer your trying to do something on? Heh
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post #9 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by Sinewave:
<strong>

It's obviously not EASY to do. Besides the ones I have seen just play mp3s. They don't do all that fancy eye candy playing.. or have a EQ... or have and kind of Sound enhancing that iTunes and SoundJam had.</strong><hr></blockquote>

you're wrong. none of those things add (or should add) that much to processor usage. there is no eye candy playing as well. even iTunes 1 which had neither sound enhancement or equalizer took the same amount.
post #10 of 77
Yes, there are PC MP3 players that take up 1% of the CPU's power...if it's running on an Athlon XP 1900+. MP3 decoding and playing is a CPU hungry process, and it's no surprise that it's sucking up a good deal of an iMac's time, considering the slow CPU and the crap memory bandwidth and all. For what it's worth, iTunes2 is better than Audion 2 in the CPU usage department.

While there are less CPU-intensive sound compression formats out there, there are none that are negligable. The only real solution is a processor upgrade.

Applenut, the sound processing required for preamp, EQ, and whatever the hell Sound Enhancement is does require CPU time. If it didn't, then there would be no need for DSPs and other goodies to enable and accelerate the features in audio hardware.

cdhostage, if itunes is sucking up processor power while idling, there's something going very wrong somewhere.
post #11 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by Morte:
<strong>Yes, there are PC MP3 players that take up 1% of the CPU's power...if it's running on an Athlon XP 1900+. MP3 decoding and playing is a CPU hungry process, and it's no surprise that it's sucking up a good deal of an iMac's time, considering the slow CPU and the crap memory bandwidth and all. For what it's worth, iTunes2 is better than Audion 2 in the CPU usage department.

While there are less CPU-intensive sound compression formats out there, there are none that are negligable. The only real solution is a processor upgrade.

Applenut, the sound processing required for preamp, EQ, and whatever the hell Sound Enhancement is does require CPU time. If it didn't, then there would be no need for DSPs and other goodies to enable and accelerate the features in audio hardware.

cdhostage, if itunes is sucking up processor power while idling, there's something going very wrong somewhere.</strong><hr></blockquote>


lol. you guys are really amusing. you are in such denial.


is it remotely possible for you to ever believe that there may be chance that Apple's iTunes is poorly programmed for efficiency and CPU usage?
post #12 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by Morte:
<strong>cdhostage, if itunes is sucking up processor power while idling, there's something going very wrong somewhere.</strong><hr></blockquote>

iTunes Idle



iTunes Playing

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post #13 of 77
How do I check what percentage of my CPU iTunes is using in the terminal?

-Y
Registered 2001? My God has it been that long?!
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post #14 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by Ybot:
<strong>How do I check what percentage of my CPU iTunes is using in the terminal?

-Y</strong><hr></blockquote>

Just type in top into the terminal.
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post #15 of 77
For the record, I use Linux on my Wallstreet 250mhz on a regular basis, and xmms, the standard GUI mp3 player, uses about 5% of my cpu w/ scrolling titles, pulsing EQ, and EQ tweaks and sound plugins like Extra Stereo going.

Under MacOS, I use Macast, which has by for the most eye-candy of any MP3 player out there, w/ visual OpenGL EQ's spinning inside the actual player, etc. It uses WAY less than 25% of my 250mhz CPU, as I have it playing alll the time and it never skips or noticeably slows down my system.

What you are dealing with, ye who are in denial, is a processor hogging beast of an mp3 player, w/out any eyecandy to justify the absurd processor usage. I have a Samsung CD MP3 discman... do you really think it has a 100mhz g3 processor in it?!
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post #16 of 77
linux screenshot (GLChess and OpenGL music graphic plugin are doing 90+% of processor hogging, as I have a rage LT 4MB graphics card):
<a href="http://stimuli.ca/linux/2001_07_03_205813_shot.png" target="_blank">http://stimuli.ca/linux/2001_07_03_205813_shot.png</a>

Macast screenshot (gelamp skin, mountainGL BLR plugin): <a href="http://stimuli.ca/Mac/sampledeskshot1.jpg" target="_blank">http://stimuli.ca/Mac/sampledeskshot1.jpg</a>

[ 11-18-2001: Message edited by: stimuli ]</p>
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post #17 of 77
I think it also depends on your processor. iTunes is going to take more CPU time on a slower chip than a faster one.
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post #18 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by Sinewave:
<strong>I think it also depends on your processor. iTunes is going to take more CPU time on a slower chip than a faster one.</strong><hr></blockquote>

duh. but when it takes 25-30 percent on a G4 there is something wrong.
post #19 of 77
Actually, when an MP3 player takes more than 10% for simple music playback, I'd be concerned. Again, I'm on a 250 mhz G3, and none of my players hog more than this. I use iTunes for encoding, but that's about it.
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post #20 of 77
I'm on a G4 400 AGP with 448mb of ram running OS X 10.1.1 and iTunes uses 15-30% of my CPU when it's playing. Just thought I'd contribute my stats to the discussion.

Thanks Sinewave for that terminal command!
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post #21 of 77
post #22 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by applenut:
<strong>

duh. but when it takes 25-30 percent on a G4 there is something wrong.</strong><hr></blockquote>

The processor in the original post is a 333MHz G3 in an iMac. I could explain to you the problems that the iMac has with its lack of memory bandwidth causing CPU bottlenecks, but I doubt that you'd see it as anything other than another thing to bash Apple for.

On my Pismo 400, iTunes 2 takes 15%-20% CPU time with EQ and Sound Enhancer off. SE takes up around 1% more time, and EQ sucks up 3%-10%. There are occasional 10%-15% spikes, which are caused by buffering more data into memory.

XMMS and MacCast are both front-ends for independent codecs, so it's not surprising that both take little CPU time; the CPU usage occurs in kernelspace. iTunes, on the other hand, uses its own codec. It uses Fraunhofer, which is effecient for a MP3 codec.

Audion, for what it's worth, sucks up almost twice the CPU time that iTunes does...Audion uses the LAME codec, which results in better sound quality, but is less effecient.

So, if Apple wanted to improve iTunes' CPU usage, they'd have to come up with a codec that is more effecient than Fraunhofer, or they'd have to integrate the codec into the OS as a kmod. The former would be difficult and rather pointless, and the latter would basically do nothing.
post #23 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by Morte:
<strong>

The processor in the original post is a 333MHz G3 in an iMac. I could explain to you the problems that the iMac has with its lack of memory bandwidth causing CPU bottlenecks, but I doubt that you'd see it as anything other than another thing to bash Apple for.

On my Pismo 400, iTunes 2 takes 15%-20% CPU time with EQ and Sound Enhancer off. SE takes up around 1% more time, and EQ sucks up 3%-10%. There are occasional 10%-15% spikes, which are caused by buffering more data into memory.

XMMS and MacCast are both front-ends for independent codecs, so it's not surprising that both take little CPU time; the CPU usage occurs in kernelspace. iTunes, on the other hand, uses its own codec. It uses Fraunhofer, which is effecient for a MP3 codec.

Audion, for what it's worth, sucks up almost twice the CPU time that iTunes does...Audion uses the LAME codec, which results in better sound quality, but is less effecient.

So, if Apple wanted to improve iTunes' CPU usage, they'd have to come up with a codec that is more effecient than Fraunhofer, or they'd have to integrate the codec into the OS as a kmod. The former would be difficult and rather pointless, and the latter would basically do nothing.</strong><hr></blockquote>


bottlenecks my ass. my Performa can play 8 MP3s at a time without a hitch under BeOS. 160 Mhz may I add.

iTunes is poorly programmed. spew all the worthless shit you want to about how its not apple's fault its the codecs fault. it's all BS. Apple's codec doesn't even sound good and it sucks up that much.
post #24 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by applenut:
<strong>

duh. but when it takes 25-30 percent on a G4 there is something wrong.</strong><hr></blockquote>

It takes 25 up on my 350 G3.
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post #25 of 77
Its all BS! Its all BS! Its all BS! I don't have a reason as to why to explain it's BS.. but it's BS!

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post #26 of 77
Morte, I don't follow your explanation. Also, I really doubt there are kernel modules for mp3 playback. That (playing mp3s) is strictly user space. The kernel merely allows the software to 'talk' to the hardware, and vice versa. CPU usage is independant from this.

Clarification: Web browsers require cpu usage, but there are no kernel mods for mozilla.

[ 11-19-2001: Message edited by: stimuli ]</p>
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post #27 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by stimuli:
<strong>Morte, I don't follow your explanation. Also, I really doubt there are kernel modules for mp3 playback. That (playing mp3s) is strictly user space. The kernel merely allows the software to 'talk' to the hardware, and vice versa. CPU usage is independant from this.
</strong><hr></blockquote>

Well, it wasn't a very good explanation, because I oversimplified, or maybe I didn't simplify enough. Or something. <img src="graemlins/bugeye.gif" border="0" alt="[Skeptical]" />

Anyway, let's take it from the bottom...I'll probably screw this up somewhere, but it's Monday, so I have a fresh week's alottment of mistakes to work with:

A vastly simplified view of how a MP3 player such as XMMS or Maccast plays a MP3 would be as follows. The player makes a call to a sound library/framework (LibC5(?) and Quicktime, respectively), the library interfaces with the sound driver (usually a kmod/kext, unless the sound chip is actually supported by the kernel, as is the case with the occasional chip and Linux 2.4 ), the driver with the kernel, and the kernel with the hardware.

Now, since the library/framework that the MP3 players use is not unique to the player, and are loaded as a part of the system, the CPU time taken by the decoding and playback isn't included in the player's process. I can't think of anywhere else that the CPU usage could be slotted in than kernelspace (which I'm using as a kludgy term for system processes in general).

iTunes, on the other hand, has a sound library that is unique to it, so the CPU time that it uses is put under the iTunes process.

That, at least, is how I understand it. I could be utterly wrong. Wouldn't be the first or last time. <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" />

In any case, MP3 playing is going to take a certain amount of processing power, and that figure is going to be pretty static because no codec is going to improve on the effeciency of the algorithm, and the algorithm isn't a very good one compared to the newer sound compression formats. The only way that Apple could make iTunes consume less CPU time would be to include support for a more effecient format, such as Ogg Vorbis. It would be awesome if Apple were to start pushing Ogg.
post #28 of 77
Ah so!

but...

I was led to believe iTunes is based on Jeffrey Robbins' SoundJamMP software... why on earth would any MP3 player have it's own library instead of making calls to Quicktime??!!!

[quote]iTunes, on the other hand, has a sound library that is unique to it
<hr></blockquote>

R U sure? Is Apple on drugs?

Apple-&gt; <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" /> &lt;- smoking drugs
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post #29 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by Morte:
<strong>

Audion, for what it's worth, sucks up almost twice the CPU time that iTunes does...Audion uses the LAME codec, which results in better sound quality, but is less effecient.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Try using Audion 2.6.1, the latest version. CPU usage is fantastic. Right now, with the EQ and scrolling titles off, but the sound maximizer on, it is using 8% of my cpu.

Turning on scrolling titles makes cpu usage jump to the 20s because of an Apple bug that will hopefully be fixed soon.
post #30 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by Uh huh:
<strong>

Try using Audion 2.6.1, the latest version. CPU usage is fantastic. Right now, with the EQ and scrolling titles off, but the sound maximizer on, it is using 8% of my cpu.

Turning on scrolling titles makes cpu usage jump to the 20s because of an Apple bug that will hopefully be fixed soon.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Uh huh,
Maybe you hit on something here: scrolling titles in iTunes is always on. Maybe that's what's causing the spike in cpu usage. With iTunes not playing, but open, cpu usage is 0.0%, as it should be. With it playing, and the window as small as it can go, it's at 18%. With it small, but so that I can see the scrolling title, it's at about 30%. What's that mean? The scrolling titles seem to make up about an extra 12% of cpu time. That's my non-scientific assessment of the situation.

But, does anyone else find it odd that it uses the same processor time on almost all processors? One would think that it would take more cpu on a 333mhz g3, than on a 800mhz g4, but that doesn't seem to be the case. What's up with that?
post #31 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by Sinewave:
<strong>Its all BS! Its all BS! Its all BS! I don't have a reason as to why to explain it's BS.. but it's BS!

</strong><hr></blockquote>

yea, alright

Test system: PM G4/400 AGP
Test Song: Cloud 9- George Harrison
iTunes w/equalizer- 23-25 percent processor usage.
iTunes wo/equalizer- 18-21 percent processor usage
Finder playing MP3- 5-7 percent processor usage.


Happy now

yea, it's not iTunes fault at all, of course not
post #32 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by torifile:
<strong>

But, does anyone else find it odd that it uses the same processor time on almost all processors? One would think that it would take more cpu on a 333mhz g3, than on a 800mhz g4, but that doesn't seem to be the case. What's up with that?</strong><hr></blockquote>

yea, but sinewave seems to think there is nothing wrong with that at all. MP3 decoding is so hard it should be like that
post #33 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by Uh huh:
<strong>

Try using Audion 2.6.1, the latest version. CPU usage is fantastic. Right now, with the EQ and scrolling titles off, but the sound maximizer on, it is using 8% of my cpu.

Turning on scrolling titles makes cpu usage jump to the 20s because of an Apple bug that will hopefully be fixed soon.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Funny I HAVE used the latest version and it DOES use just as much CPU time as iTunes. Do you have a secret version that isn't available to the public?
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post #34 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by Sinewave:
<strong>

Funny I HAVE used the latest version and it DOES use just as much CPU time as iTunes. Do you have a secret version that isn't available to the public?</strong><hr></blockquote>

If you are using Audion X 2.6.1 under Mac OS X 10.1 and it is taking up more than 20% of your CPU, go to preferences:interface, select MP3s/Files and make sure the track info does not scroll. Audion's implementation of Quartz prevents just a portion of a 'face' to be updated at any time, so with scrolling titles on, Audion has to redraw the entire face as the titles scroll.

If Audion is still using more than 20% of the CPU then something must be wrong. CPU usage was the major difference between Audion 2.6 and Audion 2.6.1. 2.6 used lots of CPU, 2.6.1 uses between 7-10% for me.

On the same computer, iTunes 2.0.2 uses between 14 and 19% of my CPU.
post #35 of 77
My roomate had Winamp running in 2k on his 400mhz P2. It was taking about 5 to 55% of his CPU.
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post #36 of 77
Thread Starter 
well i've done some more tests and attempted to optimize both itunes and Audion and, as it turns out they seem to use close to the same amount of processor time in X (10.1.1) (on my machine at least).

itunes takes around 18-23% and Audion uses around 17-23%

The only major difference is that iTunes spikes at around 45% just after a new song starts and Audion spikes at no more 30% when a new song starts.

Audion 2.6.1 hidden in back ground, one player window and one playlist window open

iTunes 2.0.2 hidden in back ground with the smallest player window closed (simply hiding caused for more cpu usage, but closing the smallest player window then hiding itunes provided me with the least cpu usage).

I still wish it were around 10-15% with spikes of no more than 25% but its not...too bad i won't be getting a new machine until September 2003.
post #37 of 77
Ok of the three we tested. Audion, iTunes, WinAmp all use about the same processor time.

Oh But it's just a iTunes thing!

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post #38 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by stimuli:
<strong>Ah so!

but...

I was led to believe iTunes is based on Jeffrey Robbins' SoundJamMP software... why on earth would any MP3 player have it's own library instead of making calls to Quicktime??!!!


R U sure? Is Apple on drugs?

Apple-&gt; <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" /> &lt;- smoking drugs</strong><hr></blockquote>

heh. Given the Apple employees I've known, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a bit of hashish in every block of tofu served in the cafeteria.

Anyway, Soundjam/iTunes uses the Fraunhofer codec, which is the original MP3 codec. It's much more effecient than QT's MP3 decoder.
post #39 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by Sinewave:
<strong>Ok of the three we tested. Audion, iTunes, WinAmp all use about the same processor time.

Oh But it's just a iTunes thing!

</strong><hr></blockquote>

how'd you compare WinAMP on different hardware to Audion and iTunes? and its strange how you use 3 MP3 players NOT known for their efficiency.

And its funny how you never responded to my "benchmarks" showing the Finder to use significantly less CPU than all of em
post #40 of 77
[quote]Originally posted by applenut:
<strong>

how'd you compare WinAMP on different hardware to Audion and iTunes? and its strange how you use 3 MP3 players NOT known for their efficiency.
</strong><hr></blockquote>
Excuse me.. I was just pointing out that the three MAJOR mp3 players take up the same amount of CPU time.. and it wasn't just a iTunes thing.
<strong> [quote]
And its funny how you never responded to my "benchmarks" showing the Finder to use significantly less CPU than all of em</strong><hr></blockquote>
Finder playing mp3? I didn't know the finder played mp3s.

[ 11-20-2001: Message edited by: Sinewave ]</p>
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