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Mac OS X version 10.6.3 Snow Leopard (Mac computer with an Intel processor required)
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- Mac computer with an Intel processor required
- Mac OS X Snow Leopard is built on a rock-solid, time-tested UNIX foundation.
- Improvements include a more responsive Finder, new look and features for Exposé.
- New core technologies unleash the power of today's advanced hardware technology and prepare Mac OS X for future innovation:
- With virtually no effort on your part, Mac OS X protects itself--and you--from viruses, malicious applications, and other threats
- Mac OS X Snow Leopard includes built-in support for the latest version of Microsoft Exchange Server.
- 64-bit computing, multicore-optimization, OpenCL, QuickTime X, and more
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Mac computer with an Intel processor
1GB of memory
5GB of available disk space
DVD drive for installation
Some features require a compatible internet service provider: fees may apply.
Mac OS X Snow Leopard is an even more powerful and refined version of the world’s most advanced operating system. In ways big and small, it gets faster, more reliable, and easier to use. New core technologies unleash the power of today’s advanced hardware technology and prepare Mac OS X for future innovation. And Snow Leopard includes built-in support for the latest version of Microsoft Exchange Server, so you can use your Mac at home and at work.
The world's most advanced operating system. Finely tuned.
Top Updates in Mac OS X
Mac OS X is the world’s most advanced operating system. Built on a rock-solid UNIX foundation and designed to be simple and intuitive, it’s what makes the Mac innovative, highly secure, compatible, and easy to use.
Better, faster, easier.
Mac OS X Snow Leopard includes hundreds of improvements that will help make your Mac faster, more responsive, and more reliable than ever. Installation is up to 50 percent faster than with Mac OS X Leopard; wake from sleep is as much as two times faster; shutdown is up to 80 percent faster; and initial Time Machine backups to Time Capsule are up to 80 percent faster than in Leopard.2
Now Exposé is integrated in the Dock, giving you a quick and easy way to see all the open windows of an application.
The Finder has been completely rewritten to take advantage of the new technologies in Snow Leopard. The familiar Finder interface is unchanged, but you’ll discover that the Finder is faster and more responsive. It also includes an enhanced icon view with live file previews, so you can thumb through a multipage document or even watch a QuickTime movie.
New core technologies.
New core technologies in Snow Leopard unleash the power of today’s advanced hardware and prepare Mac OS X for future innovation.
The next-generation media technology, QuickTime X powers the audio and video experience in Snow Leopard. It debuts a completely new QuickTime Player application with a clean, uncluttered interface as well as an easy way to record, trim, and share your media.
Out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange.
Snow Leopard includes out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 in Mail, iCal, and Address Book, so it’s easier than ever to take your Mac to work.
Every Mac comes standard with a wide range of assistive—or Universal Access—technologies that help people with disabilities experience what the Mac has to offer. Snow Leopard continues this support with a variety of innovative features that advance accessibility even further.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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).
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).
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.
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. I used to prefer Google Desktop search on PCs to Finder, but this upgrade has swayed me to prefer 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!