FreeBSD 8.1 isn't as major of an update as FreeBSD 8.0 was when it was rolled out in the second half of last year, but 8.1 still carries some prominent updates. Notable changes for FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE is adding the zfsloader to FreeBSD, updating ZFS to version 14, NFSv4 ACL support for the UFS and ZFS file-systems, UltraSPARC IV/IV+ and SPAR64 V support, SMP support for the PowerPC G5, BIND 9.6.2-P2 integration, upgrading sendmail to 8.14.4, upgrading OpenSSH to 5.4p1, and on the desktop side there is GNOME 2.30.1 available along with KDE 4.4.5.
Those interested in downloading FreeBSD 8.1 can find them on the many FreeBSD FTP mirrors. PC-BSD 8.1 has also already been available for a few days now for those looking towards an easy FreeBSD experience with a polished KDE desktop or are looking for an easy way to install FreeBSD to a root ZFS file-system.
Of interest to *BSD users may also be our benchmarks from yesterday asking Which Is Faster: Debian Linux or FreeBSD? On Monday will also be test results from installing FreeBSD/PC-BSD 8.1 to a root ZFS file-system and then enabling the new CAM-based ATA infrastructure that is more mature with the 8.1 release than it was when introduced in 8.0 (with some I/O workloads the performance is supposed to be doubled, but our results show some notable gains while there are some regressions in this new ATA stack). Following that we also have file-system tests comparing FreeBSD 8.1 with UFS+J, UFS+S, ZFS, and then on the same system using Linux the file-system numbers from Btrfs and EXT4.