Speed up iTunes?
November 24, 2004 6:14 AM   Subscribe

My iTunes is slowing down with 60 Gigs of music. Any tips that can help me browse my music at a faster pace? (naturally, MI...)

I have a large hard drive with over 40 Gigs of ree space. I run OS X 10.3.6 on a "Sawtooth" G4 450 MHz. I bought the large hard drive for the purpose of storing my entire collection in AAC, but the more CDs I rip, the slower iTunes gets and the more I have to see the spinning beach ball. I have just optimized with Drive 10 and tested my system using Tech Tool and Disk Utility, but I can see no improved speed. I know I have to get a processor upgrade, but is there any way to speed things up while I'm saving up for one?
posted by mds35 to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Get an external drive / iPod -- 60G is a LOT of music to keep in iTunes, free your hard drive
posted by matteo at 6:19 AM on November 24, 2004

Response by poster: I do have a second internal hard drive (40 Gig) that boots into OS X, but I mostly use it for diagnostics and backup. Matteo, do you think maybe it would help if I booted from the small disk and ran iTunes from there? Currently I boot into the big (160 Gig) drive and run iTunes from that disk.

Also, I have an iPod--first generation: 5 Gig--but I want to have my music readily available for burning mixes and such (hello swappers!).

Also, note that my other aplications don't seem to have much trouble. I open and edit very large files in Photoshop all the time, and I rarely even have trouble with GarageBand, which is pretty taxing to a 450 MHz machine.

Side note: my iPod was a gift from a swell MeFite pal.
posted by mds35 at 6:28 AM on November 24, 2004

I've got about 75GB and I'm seeing no slowdown, surprisingly. Win XP home, 768MB RAM.
posted by luser at 6:37 AM on November 24, 2004

Response by poster: I forgot to mention that I have 768MB of RAM.
posted by mds35 at 6:40 AM on November 24, 2004

When are you getting the beach ball? When you click the Library? When iTunes tries to switch songs? When using the randomizer? If it's only when doing certain things, let us know and maybe we can find a workaround.

The first thing I would do is turn off Sound Check, Sound Enhancer & Crossfade in the audio preferences. Uncheck "Look for Air Tunes remote speakers" if you're not using Air Tunes. Turn off "Look for shared music" and "Share my music" if you don't use those regularly either. Those things alone should cut some of the wait.

Another thought would be to quit iTunes, go into your Music folder and trash the files like "iTunes 4 Music Library". You'd have to reload your mp3s/AACs and you would lose playlists (and maybe track counts and ratings? I'm not sure where those are stored) but it might be worth it to freshen up the file and remove any possible corruption.
posted by bcwinters at 6:52 AM on November 24, 2004

Response by poster: bcwinters: I get the beach ball when I start the application, when I import (rip) new music from a CD, and when I edit track info, even if no track is playing. Does that give you any ideas?

I have sharing turned off already. I will check the other preferences when I get home tonight. And although I would hate to have to re-create Smart Playlists, if rebuilding my library speed things up, I will gladly do it.

Thanks for your time!
posted by mds35 at 7:47 AM on November 24, 2004

Response by poster: Oh, and this is probably pretty relevant, but somehow I forgot to mention that I am using iTunes 4.7.
posted by mds35 at 8:17 AM on November 24, 2004

Best answer: If you have a lot of auto-updating smart playlists, these must be updated after basically anything you might do to your tracks in iTunes, and it does slow everything down. Check into minimizing the number of smart playlists you use or changing them to non-auto-updating.

I will note that I currently have 102GB worth of tunes in my iTunes library and do not experience much of a slowdown. In part this is because I drive a dual 2.5 GHz G5, but it wasn't terrible on my ol' dual 533 MHz G4 either.
posted by kindall at 8:58 AM on November 24, 2004

iTunes has odd performance features.. I personally noticed it gaining quite a bit of speed when I resolved some video card issues on my P4 laptop. If you're running the stock video card on that G4 (it's like an ATI Rage or something?) you might want to consider upgrading. You'd be surprised at how much a video card upgrade can speed things up - I know I was. If you troll the xlr8yourmac forums you might pick up some good references on how to get and flash Mac BIOSes into PC cards (although it is of questionable legality, sometimes it is very hard to find Mac-compatible AGP and PCI video cards). for that matter, xlr8yourmac may have some other stuff in it to help improve performance on your machine, so it'd be worth a shot to look at it anyway.

You may also want to look at a CPU upgrade.. you may be able to pick up a used dualie CPU card for the machine. I believe the Sawtooth G4s used the same card format as later machines, so you may be able to grab a dual 533 or something that someone replaced for cheap on eBay and swap it in. (Doublecheck first though - I may be wrong.) The usual suspects (Sonnet, PowerLogix) make upgrades for the machine as well, but they do tend to be expensive. Probably more than it'd be worth to speed up iTunes.
posted by mrg at 10:16 AM on November 24, 2004

iTunes can be painfully slow. It doesn't hiccup or anything during a song but can often beachball when switching songs, sometimes for up to 90 seconds. I have 170gb of MP3s so expect it to be slow but sometimes it's just painful.

I thought that maybe there was a way to segregate my music into easily switchable libraries but I haven't figured it out yet. It just occured to me to make smartlists by genre or whatever and then not use the main library at all but I don't know how much that would help but it's maybe worth a shot.

I don't remember having these problems with my Wintel machine though I had about half the music at that time. Still, MusicMatch was considerably faster on the whole.
posted by dobbs at 11:21 AM on November 24, 2004

Response by poster: dobbs: check this out. dflemingdotorg, an Apple employee, chimed in with what may be your solution on another of today's threads.
posted by mds35 at 11:33 AM on November 24, 2004

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