Disk Sensei: Tom's Mac Software Pick

Monitor Your Drive's Performance in Real Time

Disk Sensei icon
Disk Sensei icon. Courtesy of Cindori

Disk Sensei from Cindori is a new application designed to eventually replace the well-respected Trim Enabler Pro, which we recommended as a Mac Software Pick in February of 2014. Like Trim Enabler, Disk Sensei allows your Mac to make use of TRIM for non-Apple SSDs you may have installed. Disk Sensei also provides advanced disk health monitoring tools, drive data visualization tools, basic drive benchmarking tools, and some handy tools for helping to optimize your Mac’s performance, at least when it comes to drive performance.

Pro

  • Easily enable TRIM support for any SSD connected to your Mac.
  • Fast. Disk Sensei responds almost instantly to most requests.
  • Supports hard drives and SSDs.
  • Drive health monitoring.
  • Real-time visual monitoring of drive performance.

Con

  • File cleanup system isn't intuitive.
  • Benchmarking system is very basic.
  • Optimization options are also basic.

Disk Sensei has a lot going for it, well beyond its ability to enable TRIM support for any SSD connected to your Mac. TRIM support used to be a big deal, especially for users of OS X Mavericks, which threw up complex security systems to ensure system files were all valid. This security measure made enabling TRIM, which involved altering a system file, very difficult.

However, with OS X Yosemite and later, enabling TRIM became nothing more than a simple Terminal command. With Apple making it easier to enable TRIM, Cindori needed to add other capabilities to Trim Enabler to create a compelling app; Disk Sensei is the result.

Disk Sensei Capabilities

Disk Sensei is primarily a drive utility for monitoring performance and predicting possible drive failures well before they occur. The app is organized into five categories:

Dashboard, for a quick overview of a drive's current state.

Health view, where the various S.M.A.R.T (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) indicators supported by the drives attached to your Mac are displayed.

Visual, which uses a sunburst map to display a selected drive's file system. This is an easy way to get a handle on file size and location.

Tools, where you'll find various utilities for cleaning (removing) files, enabling TRIM, and optimizing a few of your Mac's capabilities.

Benchmark, which allows you to measure how fast your drives are performing.

Using Disk Sensei

Disk Sensei is well organized, presenting its categories as tabs across the top of the app window. In addition to the five tabs we mentioned above, there's also an icon (dropdown menu) for selecting which connected drive Disk Sensei will present information about, and a Settings tab for configuring preferences.

The Dashboard tab displays basic information about the selected disk, including manufacturer, type of interface, and serial number. It also displays an overall health score, the current temperature, and capacity, plus the number, names, and other information about any partitions the selected drive contains.

Selecting the Health tab displays the current status of the S.M.A.R.T indicators; you can get additional information about each S.M.A.R.T entry by clicking on the item's name. This will reveal a brief description, including an indication of what the values being displayed mean.

In addition, the values are color-coded, allowing you to quickly see if everything is up to snuff (green), needs attention (yellow), or has moved into a critical stage (red).

The Visual tab provides an interesting graphical representation of the selected drive's file system. Using a sunburst map, which represents files as petals of a daisy, with large petals indicating large files or folders, the map is an easy way to see how files are organized, as well as their relative sizes.

Unfortunately, this is simply a display; you can’t use this map to jump to a specific location within the Finder, or mark a file for investigation or removal. In addition, this is perhaps the one place where Disk Sensei is a bit slow, although it's understandable that it would take a good deal of time to build up this file map.

The Tools tab provides access to four basic utilities; the first is the Clean utility, which is designed to help you remove unwanted files. This is also a place where Disk Sensei needs work; the process is cumbersome, and requires you to dig down through a file list and place a check mark on the files you wish to delete. It’s too bad you can't mark files in the Visual tab, and then see them listed here.

The Trim tab lets you turn TRIM on or off with the flick of a switch, which is much easier than using the Terminal command.

The Optimize tab lets you enable or disable a number of system capabilities, including turning off the Sudden Motion Sensor in Mac laptops, preventing local Time Machine backups (a good idea for Macs that only have an SSD for storage), and a number of other system-level services.

The final item in the Tools tab is Benchmark, which performs a basic performance test on the selected drive. This can be a handy tool for seeing how well your Mac’s drives are performing.

The Monitor tab displays the currently selected drive's traffic, that is, the reading and writing of files in real time. You can choose to view the traffic visually, in which case a moving graph displays the read/write rate, the OPS/s rate (the I/O rate), and the overall utilization rate.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Disk Sensei is both easy to use, and for the most part, very intuitive. There are a few items that need improvement, such as how files are selected in the Cleaning tab. But it's clear that Disk Sensei is a handy utility for anyone who wants to monitor and work with their Mac’s storage system, to gain the best performance and monitor drive health.

Disk Sensei is $19.99, or $9.99 for Trim Enabler owners. A demo is available.

See other software choices from Tom's Mac Software Picks.

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