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  1. #1

    Le Fumeur's Avatar
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    Activity Monitor
    On Activity Monitor, on the CPU moving bar graphs, one category of CPU usage type is "Nice." What does that mean?

  2. #2

    novicew's Avatar
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    I don't seems to have that. Can you give us some more details?

  3. #3

    Aptmunich's Avatar
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    Nice is a unix feature that lets processes give cpu cycles to other processes.

    So if Mail is nice 5 and iTunes is nice 8, if mail isn't using all its allocated cpu time, it will donate the spare cycles to iTunes.

    I think that's basically what its about, I might have the numbers the wrong way round though.

  4. #4


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    tight. I was wondering the exact same thing. And "nice" pretty much self explanatory.

  5. #5

    cazabam's Avatar
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    Aptmunich is correct, it's the process priority. The way it works is this:

    In user space, nice 20 is the lowest priority, nice 10 is the default and nice 0 is the highest priority a normal user can set their process (to change the nice value, you need to check `man nice` at a terminal). The root user (or any administrator user via the `sudo` command) can also access special nice values of -1 to -20, which get progressively higher and higher in priority until they pretty much use up all the CPU time.

    IIRC, the reason it's called `nice` and the back-to-front scale is a silly developer pun. If a process has a nice value of 20, it means that it is a very nice process and will give up its processor cycles to others. If it has a nice value of 0, then it's not very nice at all and will hog the processor if it can

  6. #6

    Aptmunich's Avatar
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    I read it is also because back in the day, multiple users would be logged into one computer via terminals. If your work wasn't high priority, you could decide to be "nice" to the other users and speed up their work.

  7. #7

    OneWorld22's Avatar
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    On a related issue regarding activity monitor, I was looking at it today and gasped at how much memory Safari takes....
    Especially when i also ran Camino.....It uses nearly a 10th of the resources that Safari does. How can that be?? I'm actually happy with Safari it seems to be almost as quick as Camino and is nice to use. I have loads of apps running now as a test, mail, browsers, office apps, iPhoto etc open and I still have 600mb of the 2GB of RAM free.

  8. #8


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    I'm not sure but i think Safari has a memory leak or is just keeping everything it uses in RAM until something else needs it. Ether way it is a resource hog unfortunately.
    Mac Life - Apple Mac computers news, forums and more...

    http://www.finiteloops.com

  9. #9

    cazabam's Avatar
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    It may well be the caching facility that's taking up the memory. When FireFox 1.5 was released there was outcry at the amount of RAM it built up over time, but it was only because it was caching pre-rendered pages to provide faster switching between tabs or through the history.

  10. #10

    MacWill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneWorld22
    On a related issue regarding activity monitor, I was looking at it today and gasped at how much memory Safari takes....
    Especially when i also ran Camino.....It uses nearly a 10th of the resources that Safari does. How can that be?? I'm actually happy with Safari it seems to be almost as quick as Camino and is nice to use. I have loads of apps running now as a test, mail, browsers, office apps, iPhoto etc open and I still have 600mb of the 2GB of RAM free.
    This is something I hope Apple fixes in the future.

    I love the Safari browser but the Activity Monitor really did open my eyes to truely how gross the amount that they use.

    I still use it though but really hope it does something about it in Lepoard.

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