1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

Mac OS X 10.6 Brings Serious Performance Gains

Michael Larabel

Published on 28 August 2009
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 13 of 13 - 148 Comments

We are not Mac junkies at Phoronix. Ummm, hell, we are just performance-enthused Linux fanatics with a love for benchmarking. However, the fact of the matter is, if you are a Mac OS X user and are at all concerned about the performance of your system -- whether that means being a benchmarking junkie like us or just looking to squeeze the most potential out of your system whether it be for audio encoding, ray-tracing, image editing, or other computational tasks -- Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" is a must buy.

Unless you are currently afflicted with a compatibility problem with a needed application not running under Mac OS X 10.6, are a dedicated gamer (the OpenGL regressions right now hurt), would rather wait until the next point release or two when the few regressions get tidied up, we see no reason why not to upgrade Mac OS X 10.6. The cost to upgrade to Snow Leopard is effectively $30 USD for an individual installation or $50 for a family pack. Solely because of the vast performance improvements, the price is worth it in our minds. Beyond that, there are the desktop enhancements that we just touched on at the start of this article when it comes to QuickTime X, Safari and Finder running faster, minor tweaks to the menus, and other subtle improvements that improve the Mac OS X experience.

The performance improvements we encountered in Mac OS X 10.6 through our benchmarks we were quite astonishing. Thanks to the introduction of the Grand Central Dispatch, 64-bit migration, OpenCL support (to largely benefit future applications), and other refinements made "under the hood" of Snow Leopard, this is one hell of a fast operating system. We were quite amazed with multiple tests exhibiting nearly 50% performance boosts over Mac OS X 10.5.8. While that was an extreme improvement, many other tests ran 10~16% faster. In a few tests, the performance was the same or the delta was statistically insignificant, but in a couple tests, there were regressions. In particular, what hurts on Snow Leopard is the graphics performance, but again that should be fixed quite soon. It is surprising that Apple engineers let these OpenGL regressions slip into the GM spin, but that is just what happened. Outside of the graphics shortcomings, Mac OS X 10.6 had regressed when it came to the Stream memory performance and Sudokut. There were also a few test profiles where the tested program was not compatible with Snow Leopard.

Snow Leopard presents Mac OS X users with incredible performance improvements that leave us quite in fact amazed. Mac OS X 10.6.0 was also 100% stable throughout our testing besides what we have mentioned and yes, it is breathtaking to say the least. If you are interested in purchasing Mac OS X 10.6, it is available through Amazon.com for just $25 USD.

We will have more benchmarks of Mac OS X 10.6.0 shortly as we begin comparing it to a few Linux distributions and other operating systems, but if you appreciated this testing and would like for such articles to continue, we kindly ask you consider subscribing to Phoronix Premium, making a donation, or simply refrain from using AdBlock. You can also run your own performance comparisons under Mac OS X using the Phoronix Test Suite. Lastly, you can follow us on Twitter, RSS, Facebook, or Identi.ca.

13
Next Page >>
About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. AMD Radeon R9 290: Gallium3D vs. Catalyst Drivers
  2. AMD Radeon R9 290 Open-Source Driver Works, But Has A Ways To Go
  3. Trying The Configurable 45 Watt TDP With AMD's A10-7800 / A6-7400K
  4. Sumo's Omni Gets Reloaded
Latest Linux Articles
  1. Testing For The Latest Linux Kernel Power Regression
  2. The Most Energy Efficient Radeon GPU For AMD Linux Gaming
  3. 20-Way Radeon Comparison With Open-Source Graphics For Steam On Linux Gaming
  4. Preview: OS X 10.10 Yosemite vs. Ubuntu Linux GPU Performance
Latest Linux News
  1. Enlightenment E19 RC3 Shows Off The New Wayland Compositor
  2. Metro Redux Is Going To Require OpenGL 4.x On Linux
  3. Jailhouse v0.1 Released As A Basic Hypervisor For Linux
  4. Google's Chromebook "Samus" Now Supported By Coreboot
  5. Chrome 38 Now In Beta With Exciting Advancements
  6. Ubuntu's Utopic Unicorn 14.10 Beta 1 Released
  7. Genode OS 14.08 Has New GUI Architecture, Pluggable VFS
  8. Another Intel Linux Power Regression Is Being Investigated
  9. DNF Makes It A Step Closer To Replacing Yum On Fedora
  10. OS Battle: Linux Takes 1.7% Desktop Marketshare
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Canonical Joined The Khronos Group To Help Mir/Wayland Drivers
  2. Users defect to Linux as OpenBSD removes Lynx from base system
  3. Radeon HD5670 and Ubuntu 14.04
  4. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  5. AMD Releases UVD Video Decode Support For R600 GPUs
  6. Best Radeon for a Power Mac G5?
  7. OC capability - Intel Core i5 4690K & Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE
  8. Announcing radeontop, a tool for viewing the GPU usage