updated 05:10 pm EDT, Sat August 29, 2009
Benchmarks - Snow Leopards
Apple's latest release, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, has been benchmarked with positive results by normally Linux-focused Phoronix.com. The test suites cover over 100 profiles (only 60 were used in this round due to Snow Leopard incompatibilities) that can be applied to both Linux and Mac OS X, ranging from games to video playback and encryption tests. The tests cover two Mac setups, an older 1.83GHz 32-bit EFI Mac Mini with an Intel graphics processor and a newer 2.0GHz 64-bit EFI Mac Mini that supports OpenCL through its GeFORCE 9400M graphics processor. Mac OS X 10.5.8 and Mac OS X 10.6.0 were compared in the test.
Gaming tests exposed some early limitations of Snow Leopard, and apparently, Apple is aware of the regressions and plan to address the issues in the coming weeks. Java 2D testing showed modest gains in text rendering in both Mac systems from Leopard to Snow Leopard, but saw Snow Leopard regress in vector rendering. Another CPU-based game solving test, based on the game Sudoku, saw a regression in Snow Leopard, but the newest OS was nearly 50-percent faster in chess-based AI test.
RAW photo rendering tests saw large gains with both Mac systems putting up much better numbers, with both systems delivering about 14-percent jumps in scoring between Leopard and Snow Leopard. In compression tests Snow Leopard improved about 16-percent over Leopard scores on one test (7-zip), but was basically flat on another (Gzip).
File encryption tests saw another massive performance jump in the newer OS, with a 25-percent leap on the newer Mac Mini system, while the older Mac Mini was better, but at a smaller percentage jump. A ray-tracing engine test showed a 33-percent jump for Snow Leopard, while a multi-threaded ray-tracing engine test saw a near 50-percent jump.
Phoronix.com summed up its testing by stating that Mac OS X 10.6 is a must buy for users heavy into audio encoding, ray-tracing or image editing or those stressing computational tasks, while gamers may see a performance hit early in the Snow Leopard run. The testers were impressed with 50-percent improvements in a number of tests, and equally pleased to see 10- to 15-percent jumps in numerous other tests.
The primary regressions centered on OpenGL problems. Those should be fixed in a .1 release, but are present on the current shipping product.
In other coverage of Snow Leopard's debut, MacNN has compatibility notes, printer driver info and a list of incompatible apps.