QuarkXPress More Efficient in the Background Than InDesign

I run a lot of programs at the same time. Perhaps you do, too.

This morning, I was curious to see how much of my Mac’s processor was being used by the applications that I had launched earlier but were now idling in the background. Specifically, I wondered about QuarkXPress 8 and InDesign CS5. (Yes, I use both regularly.)

Upon waking my Mac from its overnight sleep, I launched Activity Monitor and saw this:

InDesign CS5 was using an average of 3.9% of my Mac’s processor.

QuarkXPress 8 was using an average of 1.2% of my Mac’s processor.

Neither application had any documents open. As I was working in other applications, I noticed that InDesign kicked up to 4.2%, while QuarkXPress remained at 1.2%.

Then I got curious about RAM, since whatever RAM being tied up by these applications would not be available to the active applications without the system swapping some RAM and/or hard drive space — another thing that slows down performance.

It turned out that the memory (RAM) being used by InDesign while idling was more than three times higher than QuarkXPress, at 140MB vs. 46MB — again, even though I wasn’t using either application and hadn’t for hours.

If you use both QuarkXPress and InDesign (any versions), you may want to have a look for yourself and post your results in the Comments section below. Just launch Activity Monitor and sort by “% CPU”. This could be interesting…