Per the release announcement, some of the FreeBSD 9.0 highlights include:
- A new installer. It's an improvement over the previous installer, but it's still text-based and not really superior to the Debian installer, Red Hat's Anaconda, Ubuntu's Ubiquity, etc. At least the PC-BSD crew has a nice installer for desktop users.
- Version 28 of the Oracle/Sun ZFS file-system is now integrated. The Fast Filesystem also now supports soft-updates journaling.
- ATA/SATA drivers now support AHCI within the CAM framework. Highly Available Storage (HAST) framework has also been integrated.
- User-level DTrace support.
- An updated NFS implementation.
- Sony PlayStation 3 support by their PowerPC architecture port.
- The LLVM compiler and the C/C++ Clang compiler front-end have been imported.
- KDE SC 4.7.3 and GNOME 2.32.1 are available as desktop options.
There's also newer hardware support, but the graphics drivers remain in a horrible state.
Expect new FreeBSD 9.0 benchmarks soon.
For those wanting to try out FreeBSD 9.0 on a desktop or in just a really easy-to-use manner, try out PC-BSD 9.0 for the KDE desktop experience. GhostBSD 2.5 also provides a nice GNOME experience and is built atop FreeBSD 9.0.