4 apps to benchmark your Mac's performance

4 min read

Benchmarking has proven to be a useful way to assess how fast, efficient, and powerful one piece of technology is against another. For example, you can easily test and benchmark your Mac’s GPU, CPU, hard-drive and SSD performance against another Mac.

Whether you have an iMac or MacBook (any model), there are ways to test various components of the system, which can give you useful indicators as to whether you need to make upgrades, or even buy a new Mac altogether.

Benchmark tools to test your Mac's performance

Benchmarking can help identify weak spots in your operating system, which could mean it’s time to backup your files or download the new macOS. Although, even without benchmarking we can tell you that if you are running Sierra or an older version, it could be a good time to update to Big Sur. At last, benchmarking can also demonstrate that your Mac needs decluttering and cleaning, as well as adding more RAM or upgrading to an SSD.

So here are a few ways to find out the power of your Mac and benchmark your systems and hardware.

1. Access overall Mac performance with iStat Menus

Built into every Mac is Activity Monitor and other utility systems that measure performance, to an extent. In reality, none of them are equipped to benchmark the same way as iStat Menus.

iStat Menus is a tool for benchmarking performance that is surprisingly easy to use, with extra capabilities for controlling various features of your Mac, such as fans and battery. iStat Menus monitors real-time performance, showing speed and capabilities of CPU and GPU.

iStat Menus CPU, GPU monitoring

With its intuitive dashboard, you can see memory usage and free space, a variety of read-and-write indicators, and a S.M.A.R.T. status monitor for disk use and performance. iStat Menus will also spotlight the performance of hard drives and SSDs and would be of help in case you wanted to compare different Macs at the same time.

iStat Menus notifications

2. Speed up macOS with App Tamer and CleanMyMac

One of the culprits of poor performance, especially when a Mac gets older, is being overloaded with files, documents, duplicates, and other junk that slows down the CPU and clogs the disk drives. More often than not, you end up with a Mac slowing down and potentially overheating as a result.

But it’s not only old files that drag down your system’s performance. Every active app uses some amount of resources, and some use significantly more than others: photo-editing software, browser with lots of open tabs, IDEs, etc.

If your Mac feels slow but you need these apps to be open at all times, maybe you should think about upgrading your hardware. More often than not, however, we just forget about all the apps that are running somewhere in the background. What you should do is tame them. 

App Tamer is the perfect app for taking back control of your Mac’s CPU. This lightweight utility lives in your menu bar and continuously monitors how much of your system’s resources every app is consuming. It also automatically suppresses inactive apps and gives you tools to set limits on any app in question. 

For example, with App Tamer you can limit how much CPU your browser is allowed to use: 

  1. Click on App Tamer in the menu bar
  2. Select your browser
  3. Check the box “Slow down if this app uses more than” 
  4. Set the exact percentage amount

speed up your Mac across the board

In addition to App Tamer, it’s also good to have a holistic solution to speed up your Mac across the board. CleanMyMac X does exactly just that.

CleanMyMac X is an effective solution and much-needed antidote to slow Mac performance. It’s a perfect way to scan, dig up junk, properly delete unused apps, tidy up email folders and attachments, and remove plugins you don't need. It can shred trash, clear caches, and declutter disks and hard drives so that your Mac is operating at peak performance again. CleanMyMac also features health monitors to avoid similar issues in the future.

CleanMyMac X Smart Cleanup

3. View your hard drive's S.M.A.R.T with Disk Drill

Disk Drill is another powerful and popular Mac productivity app, hugely useful if you ever lose files as a result of an unexpected error, especially while doing transfers from an external drive.

But you can also use Disk Drill to analyze disk space, get alerts when disks are too full, or check disk vitals, such as internal temperatures and performance speeds. If you enable S.M.A.R.T monitoring, Disk Drill will place an icon in your menu bar, which will display your drive temperature. Click the icon to see a breakdown of your selected disk’s vitals, how much disk space you have left, and your disk’s uptime and power cycle count.

Disk Drill's SMART monitoring

Ensure your machines are up to date

At the end of the day, our laptops are workhorses, earning bread for most of us. And it would be an enormous waste to not keep them in the most productive state. Benchmarking is the easiest way to see if your Mac is falling behind. In fact, why not run one now? Download iStat Menus, App Tamer, CleanMyMac X, and Disk Drill discussed above from Setapp for a free seven-day trial and see for yourself.

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