There are times when monitoring your Mac’s internal performance is a good thing, especially if there’s an errant application that decides to take over, drain battery life, and suck up what remains of your Mac’s CPU. Thankfully, there are many such process monitoring utilities, some are free, even the best ones are a few dollars.
I’m not much on such utilities because Activity Monitor provides most of what I need to know, but I’m also a sucker for all-in-one Mac utilities that do a few extra functions to justify a modest price tag. This weekend I devoted some time to ProcessTimer for the Mac. This is one of those Jack of all Trades utilities with a long list of functionality where the combined total is greater than the sum of the parts.
Not only does ProcessTimer monitor the Mac’s system and CPU usage but it works as an app launcher, preferences changer, plist viewer, and screenshot grabber. If you’re throwing in the kitchen sync, it must grab screenshots, which follows along with the old adage that “no app is fully complete until it does email.”
As best as I can tell after a weekend of usage, ProcessTimer focuses on four distinct functions.
Basics – Mac architecture, CPU utilization, and percentage of real memory used by the GUI focus app (usually the font app). Everything is visible in small, colored windows that float on the Mac’s screen. You determine the refresh setting frequency.
Advanced Monitoring – The frontmost Mac app is followed by default but any app can be set to be followed indefinitely with Hold Process, which can be toggled. Any running process in OS X can also be monitored, whether associated with a standard app or not. This is an interesting function, but rather geek for most Mac users.
Useful Tools – To add to the value, ProcessTimer combines a few other useful tools, including a way to set the Open At Login function for an app (same function in System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items). There’s a handy Open Preferences File which finds and opens the plist ‘preference’ files from the Finder. Reveal finds an app’s location in the Finder. And for whatever reason, there’s a built-in File Manager with a useful Open With… function.
Screenshot Grabs – Last and probably least is the screenshot grab utility which doesn’t work much like typical screenshot grab apps, including the built-in Grab tool in Applications > Utilities. This one captures an image of the frontmost app and has a variety of options.
ProcessTimer is interesting and provides a few functions not combined in most other such utilities. Is it an app you need? For the average Mac user, probably not. If you have a little geek gene floating around then you might like some of the functionality if you don’t mind altering your own carefully crafted workflow and have a few bucks to spend.