updated 06:10 pm EDT, Mon June 27, 2011
More than 40 percent faster graphics in some tests
The release of OS X 10.6.8 has brought improvements to both gamers and those using Apple-approved models of solid-state drives (SSD), MacRumors reports. Apart from some model-specific builds of 10.6.6 and 10.6.7, OS X has generally lacked TRIM support, but as of 10.6.8 TRIM now appears to be available in all Macs capable of running it, and will also be included in Lion. The update has also brought significant graphics improvements, according to testers on Steam and other forums.
TRIM is a technology for SSD drives that enables garbage collection and write optimization, basically keeping the drive's performance at a steady level rather than allowing it to deteriorate over time. Apple's TRIM support is thus far limited to the brands of drives Apple ships or makes available as an option with models such as the MacBook Air, but unofficial TRIM support for other brands has existed since the release of Snow Leopard, but was turned off by default except on certain special builds of 10.6.6 and 10.6.7 for the MBA and other machines that were custom-built with SSDs.
Some third-party SSD resellers (such as Other World Computing) have turned to other technologies such as over-provisioning to enable TRIM-like performance sustainability on their drives, and there are other third-party programs that claim to turn on the unofficial SSD support in Snow Leopard, though some users have reported problems with these. TRIM is widely supported in Windows 7 for most major brands of SSDs.
In addition to wider TRIM support, gamers and other graphic system testers have reported that 10.6.8 has boosted graphics performance, particularly for OpenGL and user interface graphics. Testing done by MacRumors shows a significant jump in OpenGL speeds, often improving the speeds of games such as Halo (showed a 37 percent improvement). Other OpenGL tests showed around a 40 percent improvement. [via MacRumors]