I spend way too much time trying to settle on a MP3 player on my computer. Though, due to us owning two iPods and two iPhones, iTunes is never far away, I am always trying to settle on some other program for just plain playing music. Even now, what with our AppleTv2 I am still hoping to find that perfect solution. See, iTunes is just too damned big, bulky and skittish for me. It is so unresponsive that I sometimes feel mean thoughts towards it.
Recently I did start moving most of my listening to Foobar2000 (not syncing, though, I haven’t quite got the nerve up for that). My only real requirements are that is be willing to show album covers and that it can scrobble reliably to Last.fm (which, by the way, iTunes only does reliably for songs you actually play through iTunes… AppleTv and iPod/iPhone plays are not very reliably scrobbled), so just about any player can match those.
This weekend though, I decided to download Spotify (the free version). I was surprised to see that it is rather iTunes like in appearance, but functioned much smoother, even with all of the bells and whistles and advertisements. So I decided to do a casual speed comparison on my work computer.
I basically looks at how long it takes to start, how smooth it functions, and it’s resource usage as per the Task Manager. Due to the buggy nature of iTunes, I consider the Starting Time to be the time from clicking the icon, until the program will actually respond to clicking.
5 Seconds to start
172k Memory when playing
0-2 CPU %
5 Seconds to start
49k Memory when playing
00 CPU %
14 Seconds to start (see below)
135k Memory when playing (see below)
0-2 CPU% (See below)
The above statistics make Foobar look to be the lightest player of these, which I suppose is true. But it is also much different functionally from the other two, and it’s good performance may be partially due to the few modifications that I have made to it.
Aside from startup time, iTunes and Spotify looks pretty similar from the above statistics (and, in fact, look pretty similar stylistically). But that doesn’t show the whole picture. See, iTunes continually stops responding. It can go for a few seconds then for 10-20 seconds it is non-responsive. Note that it continues playing while in this non-responsive mode, but any attempts to interact with the program fails and the display doesn’t update. When in this state, its memory from to 96k and its CPU goes to 0.
So I’m just not sure. Due to the iPhones, I don’t know if I will stop using iTunes altogether (though I sync my iPod through Foobar), and I’m not sure why I am even looking at Spotify… But I am. Just to give it a fair chance to wow me with some feature that I can’t get through Foobar.
Just to be fair, these programs are all accessing the same 26,000 song library on the same computer (3.0 Ghz Core2Duo, 4 GB RAM, 32bit Windows 7)