Monday, September 7, 2009

Snow Leopard On The Prowl

It's an interesting thing about Snow Leopards. They're rarely seen but their territorial markings are more frequently found. Apple's recent Mac OS X commercial upgrade named after the elusive cat exhibits some of the same traits. For $29 (or $49 for the Family Pack) Mac OS X, 10.6 makes its presence known but often in subtle and non-conspicuous ways.

I've finished my five Family Pack upgrades (yes, we have five Intel Macs in the house) and each Mac, no matter the model or vintage, exhibits snappier performance running Apple's latest Mac OS. Screen images are more crisp and on my primary Mac (a Core 2 Duo iMac), Snow Leopard has enhanced what was already an elegant user experience.

Mac OS X, 10.6 eliminated my most frustrating computing issue: Time Machine's slow performance. Now backups are completed much more quickly and without a noticeable drag on the Mac's performance while Time Machine goes about its work.

In developing Snow Leopard Apple rewrote much of the OS in 64-bit code. That of course means I had to boot my iMac in 64-bit mode just because I can. I wasn't expecting to see a huge performance boost but I'd say there is a pickup in performance in the routine tasks I regularly perform. But that's beside the point. By positioning Mac OS X as a true 64-bit OS, Apple is positioning the product for the next several years of development.

The low-price and noticeable performance gains makes Snow Leopard an attractive purchase for Mac users running Intel-based machines. I recommend the upgrade and I'm confident Apple's refinements in Mac OS X today are setting the stage for more conspicuous enhancements tomorrow.

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