Apple Buffs Up Mac OS X Snow Leopard

Just got a chance to read the outcomes from Apple‘s latest update to Mac OS X Snow Leopard – 10.6.8 (download link for update available here and for combo update available here), from the guys over at iClarified and I must say I’m pretty impressed with these two elemental upgrades that came along with this patch.

The first subject worth noting is that they enabled TRIM support for all you Mac owners running Mac OS X Snow Leopard from a SSD, rather than a HDD. What this does is that a lot of overhead is surpassed with TRIM support since lots of times, a block of data in the page file (located on the system disk) is no longer valid, and so it may be deleted, however the disk data is not always updated accordingly. With this feature, the operating system notifies the disk of this data that is no longer valid and so the disk deletes it, essentially “trimming” the page file. This makes the page file smaller in size and thus more reactive. Performance benefits have been noted by this feature, but the much bigger advantage is that this decreases the number of writes to the SSD, and we all know how sensitive SSD’s are to data writes; essentially this increases the lifetime of your SSD. 🙂

Screenshot of System Profiler showing added TRIM support, picture courtesy of iClarified

The other feature that’s definitely worth mentioning is the improvement in graphics performance. As you can see from the benchmarks shown in the below there was a significant improvement for OpenGL graphics on both the Mac Pro and the MacBook Pro (48% and 11%, respectively), and a good 41% bump up on the MacBook Pro’s graphics performance for UI graphics.

Graphics performance benchmark results taken before and after OS X 10.6.8 update, courtesy of iClarified

It ‘s too bad that they didn’t mention which model Mac Pro, or 13″ MacBook Pro they were using for these tests; had I known of such improvement prior to upgrading I would’ve ran the tests on my system, while the idea of downgrading and re-upgrading just for the sake of a benchmark doesn’t appeal to me much.

And as usual (and I still don’t understand why this is), Apple failed to mention such improvements in the update description, especially considering that the Intel graphics performance was sub-optimal (to say the least). As far as we, the users, were informed, these were supposed to be the only major improvements that were implemented in this patch:

  • Enhance the Mac App Store to get your Mac ready to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion
  • Resolve an issue that may cause Preview to unexpectedly quit
  • Improve support for IPv6
  • Improve VPN reliability
  • Identify and remove known variants of Mac Defender

Bottom line: If you’re running Snow Leopard on your Mac, then do yourself a favor and upgrade to the latest version (10.6.8), it’s got nothing but goodies in it. 😉


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