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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, but not essential...
Great, but not essential

Is Apple's latest operating system, Snow Leopard, a strong, reliable OS that demonstrates the versatility of Macs? Yes

That being said, is Snow Leopard an essential upgrade? No, not exactly.

THE DIFFERENCE IS NOT THAT DRASTIC
The differences between Apple's "Tiger" OS (10.4) and "Leopard" (10.5) were very...
Published on August 28, 2009 by Cinnamon

versus
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Careful, As Always
It's always a good idea to wait until software has been out a little while before installing it, especially a new operating system. I bought the family pack and started installing it on four of our Macs. The first one went flawlessly, the second one had issues with reinstalling settings from a Time Machine back up and the third one went well until I tried to install...
Published on August 31, 2009 by Anthony B. Barthel


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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, but not essential..., August 28, 2009
This review is from: Mac OS X Snow Leopard Family Pack (5-User) (Software)
Great, but not essential

Is Apple's latest operating system, Snow Leopard, a strong, reliable OS that demonstrates the versatility of Macs? Yes

That being said, is Snow Leopard an essential upgrade? No, not exactly.

THE DIFFERENCE IS NOT THAT DRASTIC
The differences between Apple's "Tiger" OS (10.4) and "Leopard" (10.5) were very noticeable, and there were many improvements that made the upgrade worthwhile. Such as Time Machine, Boot Camp, Quick Look, and many more The bulk of changes between Leopard (10.5) and this latest release, "Snow Leopard" (10.6), are "under the hood" so to speak, and therefore the average user might not notice as much of a change as they'd expect with an OS upgrade. But then again, why fix a bone that's not broken? Leopard was a success, and Snow Leopard improves on it, without radically altering the user experience. The majority of improvements affect system reliability, speed, and resourcefulness. There is also Microsoft Exchange support, which is great for those who need it.

EXPECTATIONS
I bought the Snow Leopard upgrade knowing full well it wasn't going to be a drastically different OS, so I was by no means disappointed. I've been following the tech news regarding Mac and Windows operating system upgrades very closely, and am well aware that August's release of Apple's Snow Leopard and October's release of Microsoft's
Windows 7 are meant to provide additional stability and implement greater resourcefulness, rather than completely overhaul the user experience. This isn't a bad thing, since greater system reliability is more important than adding bells and whistles that ultimately take away from the user experience (i.e. Vista).

EXPERIENCE
I have only installed it on only one computer so far (running on an Intel chip and 4GB of RAM), but installation was a breeze, and Snow Leopard has been running smoothly so far. I previously strongly disliked `Preview' and `Quicktime' since they were so slow (I preferred freeware `Xee' and `VLC Media Player'). With Snow Leopard, loading times have noticeably improved for both Preview and Quicktime. I haven't yet noticed other improvements in speed, but that might be because my computer was already fast to begin with (4GB is great!).

Additionally, while I personally upgraded from Leopard to Snow Leopard, it is nice to know that even if you weren't using OS 10.5 (Leopard) and were still on OS 10.4 (Tiger), you can upgrade directly to OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard).

LAST THOUGHTS
I didn't have issues with Leopard, so I don't think Snow Leopard was to me as essential an upgrade as Windows 7 will be to Windows Vista. That being said, Snow Leopard is a very strong and reliable OS, so I don't regret my purchase. The low price makes this an affordable upgrade solution, but due to the lack of drastic changes between Snow Leopard and its predecessor, one that isn't absolutely necessary.
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41 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than meets the eye, August 28, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Mac OS X Snow Leopard Family Pack (5-User) (Software)
The most remarkable thing about Snow Leopard is simply that it can be installed on a Mac running Tiger. You do not need to pay the money to buy the boxed set to upgrade if you never upgraded to Leopard. This means that you can upgrade a Tiger computer to Leopard using this disk. It is up to the user to determine if they have an ethical problem with that; Apple certainly knew that this was possible when they released the software: they understand and use DRM effectively and always have. The fact it is missing here tells me that they are primarily concerned with getting Snow Leopard unto as many computers as possible as fast as possible. I am sure part of that is the desire to have Snow Leopard outperform Windows 7 which debuts in October. If you are updating from Leopard, Apple has continued to make it inexpensive for a family using more than one machine by pricing the upgrade at about $10.00 a machine (assuming you use all five). Not bad.

So what do you get with Snow Leopard? The answer is largely performance boosts, although many of those are not really applicable (yet) since few (virtually none) third party applications use the performance gains offered by Snow Leopard. Similar to Windows 7s ability to load share between CPU and GPU, many of the changes in Snow Leopard will take several years for developers to really start to use and write programs for.

Relying on 64-bit architecture through the entire OS, Snow Leopard is essentially an upgrade for the future: as developers write programs that take advantage of the new, higher ceiling, end users like you and I will benefit. For now, most of the performance increases are only applicable to Apple's own software. However, that's not to say these aren't nice or useful, and in some cases very impressive:

1) Opening large photos is faster in preview mode

2) Quicktime uses significantly less CPU on all Macs regardless of generation. Older Macs benefit the most with as much as 40% performance gains.

3) Time Machine backups take about 20% less time

4) Snow Leopard itself installs faster than Leopard

5) Boot times are faster with Snow Leopard by 5-10%; Shut down times are slightly faster as well.

6) File compression is also faster by 10-15%

(These are somewhat simplified. If you want the exact numbers you can find them online: Google "Snow Leopard Performance")

Of all of these, the performance increases afforded to older first generation Macbooks are the most significant. Breathing new life into older hardware isn't easy, especially not significant improvements. Snow Leopard manages to do just that and make even slower 1.6ghz MacBooks that much more useful.

Installation itself is a SNAP (did I mention it takes less time than Leopard?). I've already upgraded a MacBook and MacBook Pro, and installation was simple, fast, and easy. I plan to install Snow Leopard on another older Macbook later in the week and will upgrade this review once I have.

The few new visual tweaks are nice, but not the reason to upgrade. Better stacks is useful, as is the quickness of Finder, but overall I don't find myself blown away by the upgrade. This isn't an entirely new OS with a fantastic array of improvements, aside from the welcome and useful performance increases. That said, if you are a power user or just observant, you WILL NOTICE the speed increase, especially in Finder.

*****UPDATE September 2nd 2009*****

A few other changes of minor importance but sometimes great usefulness:

1) Air Port now shows all available wireless networks and their relative signal strength, something Windows has done going back to XP, but that for some strange reason has been absent from OSX 10.X until now. Now when you turn on the Air Port you get a drop down to select which wireless signal you want as well as signal strength.

2) The date has been added to the desktop. This isn't that amazing but it is useful.

3) I am LOVING the way stacks work now. They're so much more intuitive to use and navigate, especially the ability to brows through directories directly from the stack itself.

4) Trash has the ability to restore a file to it's original location right from the trash. This is a feature common to Windows that has been very strangely absent from Mac OS. It's nice to see them catch this omission and correct it, but very odd it took this long to do it.

A MAJOR complaint:

1) Seriously, no support for CS3? Why Apple, why? I don't have the grand to drop on the newest version of CS. This is very, very frustrating, and makes me wish I could take back a star and downgrade this to a 4-star review. CS3 is still so widely used that I'm amazed Apple decided not to offer support for it. If you want to continue to receive support for CS3 or don't have the money to upgrade to CS4, this could be a big deal and even a reason not to upgrade.

A Minor complaint:

1) One of my time machine back-ups for a co-workers Mac was seemingly corrupted by the upgrade. Fortunately they didn't have any old data they needed from that backup so I just made a new one with Snow Leopard that mounts just fine, but this is something to be aware of. If you have a critical time machine backup that you cannot afford to lose, I'd suggest making a backup of the entire drive (clone it) using SuperDuper! or something like it.

*****End of update*****

Snow Leopard will grow in usefulness as time passes. As I said earlier, once third party applications start to be written to take advantage of advancements in the OS, the performance overhead will become more and more useful. Expect to wait 6-12 months for that to happen, but in the mean time at least you're enjoying speedier OS performance for an very inexpensive price!
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Careful, As Always, August 31, 2009
This review is from: Mac OS X Snow Leopard Family Pack (5-User) (Software)
It's always a good idea to wait until software has been out a little while before installing it, especially a new operating system. I bought the family pack and started installing it on four of our Macs. The first one went flawlessly, the second one had issues with reinstalling settings from a Time Machine back up and the third one went well until I tried to install Parallels, at which point some of the software running under Parallels didn't work.

So, I went back to plain ol' Leopard on that machine and will wait until some updates come out for Snow Leopard from both Apple and the other software manufacturers from whom we've bought stuff (like Parallels).

There's really no reason to rush into Snow Leopard anyway, honestly there aren't really any new features in it, it's just a refinement. Although for $29 bucks it's a deal, but not one most users should take just yet. Give it and your other software vendors a while to catch up and it'll be a bargain and a half but, until then, just watch goofballs like me pull their hair out.
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36 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How dare Apple, September 2, 2009
By 
btrvalik (arlington, ma United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Mac OS X Snow Leopard Family Pack (5-User) (Software)
How dare Apple come out with an operating system that..

1) Doesn't require you to buy a new computer to run it
2) Doesn't require a service pack to make it stable
3) Makes old hardware run better
4) Has all I need in an OS
5) Only comes in one flavor
6) Cost me ~ $15/machine

I was planning to add bigger hard drives and more memory to my 3 macs. Now that each has 10+ GB more disk and they run cooler and quicker than before, I have nothing to upgrade. The US economy will directly suffer as a result of Snow Leopard.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Significant speed increase, September 1, 2009
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This review is from: Mac OS X Snow Leopard Family Pack (5-User) (Software)
It's amusing that some reviewers will give this one or two stars just because they can't get their HP printer to run. Guess what, that's an HP issue - they should have coordinated with Apple to get their code right. Besides, printing is only a very small part of the OS. I'll leave the technical details to Walter Mossberg and other professonals. So far I have only installed it on my 2007 MacBook Pro which handled the install painlessly. The speed increase is definitely there, just like the technical reviews said it would be. What I didn't expect is that the speed increase is noticeable for everything, including my huge Mail database. I applaud the Apple engineers for getting so much improvement out of the underlying software. This is where Apple really outshines the Wintel platform because of the tight hard/software integration. Another selling point! I gained about 8 GB of hard drive space, something else to be happy about. The most significant improvements are of course under the hood, but overall I would highly recommend this upgrade. If you rely heavily on Skype, note that their current version 2.8.0.659 seems to give some people problems. I haven't noticed any but I'd read up on the latest reviews of Skype and Snow Leopard before upgrading. Otherwise, go ahead and welcome this big cat to your home!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clean installation of an upgrade under the hood, September 2, 2009
This review is from: Mac OS X Snow Leopard Family Pack (5-User) (Software)
As many have said online, this upgrade is focused "under the hood". There are some user improvements, but mostly they are subtle, ones you almost have to hunt to find.

The upgrade did go very smoothly for me on two different macbooks. The very simple instructions not only covered what was needed, but what was possible. Very little to concern yourself with on this upgrade.

To me, the most notable improvement was in mail.app, finally at least making a workaround for the broken IMAP support usable. In 10.5, mail.app would refuse to see any IMAP folders not in the prefix it was told to use and expected. You could tell it to look at the entire space, but many different operations would cause it to give an alert warning you your IMAP prefix was "wrong" and offer to correct it. Now, that warning prompt is gone. You can wipe out the prefix and have access to your public/ and inbox/ folders both.

Only with careful looking can I see some of the 64 bit features, which is usually a good sign. Some of the very subtle new features (option to display date in the menu bar, integration of expose and the dock) are welcome touches.

I'll avoid the debate over the various features like the inconsistent change of the definitions of the size terms in finder (without even making the command line utilities support options for those revised definitions), some of the anti-malware features criticized for their not going far enough, etc.

So who should get this upgrade?

If your computer is listed as being a "Core 2" or better (look for the "2" in the name of the CPU), I'd suggest it, but it isn't a rush. The family pack is a very reasonable additional price to encourage people to stay legit. Older Intel based systems would derive less value from this upgrade. At the relatively low cost, I wouldn't advise against it. Unlike most OS upgrades, I wasn't spending time after it was done trying to clean up after it, I was able to quickly use the computer, ignoring the rest. Maybe that's the true ideal of an OS upgrade, that after it is done, the user just gets back to using the computer instead of trying to maintain it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, faster, and frees up disk space, October 3, 2009
By 
B. Pang (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mac OS X Snow Leopard Family Pack (5-User) (Software)
It's solid, slightly zippier, and the best feature is that it frees up a bunch of disk space, in my case probably ~10GB. It's a no brainer for the price.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Family, September 30, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Mac OS X Snow Leopard Family Pack (5-User) (Software)
Apple trusts users of it operating system software to do the right thing and buy licenses for each install. In doing so they must leave a lot of money on the table, but this contributes to the strong sense of loyalty many Mac users feel. There are five Mac computers in my house and I could easily buy a single user license and install it on all my machines. Apple could also track OS installs and require unique copies on each and every Mac connected to the internet. I want to encourage Apple to continue to trust me so I buy the Family Pack. It's a great deal, even if you have (only!) two Macs. Oh, yea, Snow Leopard improves our user experience; it's great.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Family pack is a fantastic value, August 29, 2009
By 
Mitch Haile (San Jose, CA and Boston, MA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Mac OS X Snow Leopard Family Pack (5-User) (Software)
The price of the family pack makes this a no brainer. You get license to install on 5 computers in the same household for a price less than two individual copies of Snow Leopard. And the OS itself is fantastic, below is my review of the OS itself:

I installed the family edition tonight on two laptops, a MacBook and MacBook Pro. It is immediately obvious the new Finder is worth the price of admission alone. Finder windows open and close quickly, there's no annoying pauses and hangs. File copies are dramatically faster; no more need for power users to use a third party tool or drop into Terminal to copy files quickly. Time Machine backups are indeed faster, my old applications still work fine. When I opened a PowerPC app that needed Rosetta, Snow Leopard went to the Internet to download Rosetta--no need to dig out a DVD.

My primary applications--Photoshop CS3, Dreamweaver CS3, OmniGraffle Pro, PowerPoint 2008, Word 2008, Flex Builder, Eclipse, FireFox, VMware Fusion--all seem to work just fine.

So I see no reason not to upgrade: The speed improvements, the painless installation, and most significantly, the much-improved Finder make this a bargain of an upgrade.

And that's ignoring all the cool technologies under the hood (discussed in other reviews) and the small details that have been added (signal strength icons of wireless networks in the AirPort menu, for example).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent OS for the Mac, December 2, 2009
By 
Stephen J. Tranetzke (Milwaukee, WI United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Mac OS X Snow Leopard Family Pack (5-User) (Software)
Not so much as a revolutionary update but it sure is stable and fast. Take everything you know about Leopard and make it more efficient in every way and you have Snow Leopard. The changes are not about new new new, it is about streamlining and efficiency. The install was in about 1 hour and that was a clean install on a Core Duo MacBook, Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro, Core 2 Extreme iMac and a Unibody MacBook. Everything went flawless. I highly recommend this upgrade to any Mac users that have the Intel Processors.
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