Being the beginning of the working week I thought I’d start it with a review of iStat.
For the past 6 or so months I have been using iSlayer’s iStatMenu on my Macs and I’ve got to say that it’s pretty awesome. Oh, and its completely free!
The app basics
As the site says, it’s “the most advanced system monitor” that I have managed to find. If you want to keep track of any of the following then this is the app for you (For both iPhone and your Mac):
- CPU usage
- Disk usage
- Disk activity
- Memory usage
- Network throughput and connection(s)
- Fan sensors
- Date and Time
The menu that is placed on your status bar is nice and small but extremely informative. I’ve customised my menu bar to my liking which consists of network throughput, CPU usage, HDD and memory – all that I really need to know about. However, for this review I’ve provided images of the available menus.
Clicking one of the items on the menu bar drops down a list of information for the particular stats you’re monitoring.
For example clicking on the CPU item gives you a nice graph, or in my case, four graphs (Four cores), a list of the 5 most CPU intensive applications and their percentages and finally your processor load, processes and uptime.
In terms of information the iStatMenu app has everything you need and usually more.
iStatMenu can be customised to your needs. The lovely thing about this app is the ability to not only customise the data you see but also the style. The preferences menu is simple, easy to use and like every other setting on OS X, easy to get to.
Each menu bar item has its own configuration setting, all of which can be displayed with different icons.
An extremely nice feature is having the ability to configure the update interval of each stat (CPU, Memory, Network etc). This becomes extremely useful when you have a slow system and need the intervals to be longer.
Here are some screen shots of the different available configuration settings:
Basic overview of the iStat Menus including some styling (useful if you have a slow Mac) and iStat update settings.
Here you can specify whether or not you want to see the different cores and show the top 5 processes.
Like the CPU settings you can configure whether or not to show the top 5 processors on memory usage, you also have the ability to show inactive memory as free memory.
The disk usage settings allow for adding any available disk you have mounted on your system, this is extremely useful for keeping track of network drives.
While personally I do not use this menu I can see its appeal for monitoring disk activity. Plus the graphs are awesome.
For me this is by far the most interesting and useful iStats menu item. Not only does it show you network activity but it can show you the input and output of your interfaces. It’s amazing to see that I’ve had a total input of 10.14GB in the past 10 days on my ethernet port – And this is on a work machine.
The settings include specifying your primary interface to monitor as well as graph scaling.
Keeping track of temperatures for your hardware can be extremely handy, it can help notify you of a potential fail within your system. The configuration allows you to choose what devices you wish to monitor, how you wish to monitor and whether in Celsius, Fahrenheit or Kelvin.
Date & Time
While I do not use the date and time menu item I can see it’s appeal. The customisation allows for a specified format for your date and time along with specifying more than a single clock – useful!
While not really a configuration menu I can see why iSlayer has put this into the preferences, it acts as a good way of advertisement and a quick link to iSlayers available iPhone apps.
If you have some change I suggest you donate to iSlayer. Keeping them funded keeps them in business and we all know what that means – more awesomeness!
Overall I cannot fault this app. It’s the most useful, perfectly developed app I have found on OSX. Not once has it failed on me in 6 months and it has many-a-time helped me identify processes that are out of control. And did I mention it is free?
To rate it out of 10, I’ll give it 11.
Thank you iSlayer!