I typically tax the limits of my computer systems' system resources, and "obtain the appropriate hardware to perform the kind of computing you require" is not the solution I am interested in for the purposes of this question (though it is the best solution). I am seeking to understand what happens inside the computer system when its performance begins to slow and, for all intents and purposes, hang and halt.
I would also like to become familiar with the available tools we may utilize to develop plans before the system essentially becomes output-only because of resource overload. These instructions could be organized by "operating mode" to instruct the OS how to handle otherwise identical situations differently based on what is important for me at the time.
(assume I am both listening to music and also browsing the Internet using increasingly many Safari tabs)
- DJ mode: I am using the computer to DJ an event, and browsing the Internet between mixes. This mode would make sure Safari would force quit before the music hiccuped for even an instant.
- Download mode: I am listening to music while browsing the Internet and downloading large files. This mode would force quit iTunes before Safari runs out of memory to increase the likelihood the download will succeed.
Note: Please excuse the current somewhat-disjointed appearance of this question for a few days. I intend to actively revise the question while still allowing those who understand what I am talking about to help.