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I’m a bit intrigued by the new detailed activity monitors and progress indicators in Windows 8 (copying files, the task monitor, network activity, etc.) It got me thinking: surely there must be some better alternatives to the built-in Activity Monitor.app?

“Better” as in more detailed and nicer graphs. Specifically, it would be interested and see percentage disk I/O (out of disk capacity), memory usage, and CPU usage in the same nice way as Windows 8 presents it.

The Building windows blog has an article detailing the new Task Manager in Windows 8.

I just think that OS X’s task manager — which I have always found superior — just doesn’t cut it anymore compared to what is coming in Windows 8.

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What are you looking for as "better"? –  Steven Fisher May 15 '12 at 19:34

5 Answers 5

iStat Menus and its free Dashboard widget version iStat Pro can show you a good broad overview of your Mac's systems, but I'm afraid I don't know of any monitoring utilities that show individual application processes (ie Finder activity copying files) other than shell tools like lsof or top.

edit I had forgotten about good old fseventer - last updated in 2010 but still working on 10.6.8.

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I also use iStat, with most of the labelling off, and at a low polling rate. It's not as specific as the above mentioned I guess, but its also very unobtrusive. –  gmoney May 15 '12 at 19:25
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MiStat from the same developer was more like what I was looking for. –  Aeyoun May 15 '12 at 21:11
    
Be aware that these monitoring apps can be brutal on your battery life! Be sure to keep the polling rate low (5 sec or so) if you are constantly running something like iStat. –  Ryan Dlugosz May 17 '12 at 19:31
    
MiStat is actually a less powerful version of iStat menus. iStat had to be nerfed in order to get it into the App Store, so they made MiStat. –  iynque Jul 10 '12 at 15:00
    
Not as good as Process Explorer, but still a pretty nice app. Good suggestion. –  Factor Mystic Jan 21 at 1:17

Strictly for monitoring RAM use, FreeMemory works well. It sits in the menu bar.

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I've been using MenuMeters for many revisions of OSX, it is similar to iStat Menus. I use it to keep an eye at real time performance like network and CPU.

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atMonitor presents itself as “the most advanced monitoring tool for Mac OS X that displays system activity in real-time”, and is intended as an Activity Monitor replacement.

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atMonitor is definitely NOT the most "advanced" anything. It's not much better than Activity Monitor and it has some annoying bugs (nothing that effects functionality though). I use it and I love it for what it does offer beyond the built-in Activity Monitor. I recommend it. ...but calling it "the most advanced" is silly ;) –  iynque Jul 10 '12 at 15:04
    
@iynque I agree that it may be an exaggeration, but it's their definition. I'll update my answer to make that clearer. –  Agos Jul 10 '12 at 19:59

I'd also like to recommend MenuMeters. I always install it first-thing on any Mac i need to do serious stuff on for longer than 15 min.

But another monitor i sometimes use when i need more info/details is XRG.

Nice and clean, feature-rich and completely customizable. And as a bonus it is alot less CPU-hogging than Activity Monitor, which can use over 25% of CPU, even on the fastest machines…

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