Mac OS X v10.6 "Snow Leopard" was released on August 28, 2009. Rather than delivering big changes to the appearance and end user functionality like the previous releases of Mac OS X, Snow Leopard focuses on "under the hood" changes, increasing the performance, efficiency, and stability of the operating system. For most users, the most noticeable changes are: the disk space that the operating system frees up after a clean install compared to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, a more responsive Finder rewritten in Cocoa, faster Time Machine backups, more reliable and user friendly disk ejects, a more powerful version of the Preview application, as well as a faster Safari web browser.
Mac OS X v10.6 also features Microsoft Exchange Server support for Mail, iCal, and Address Book, new 64-bit technology capable of supporting greater amounts of RAM, an all new QuickTime X with a refreshed user interface and more functionality that used to be only available to QuickTime Pro owners.
Back-end platform changes include improved support for multi-core processors through Grand Central Dispatch which attempts to ease the development of applications with multi-core support, and thus improve their CPU utilization. It used to be that developers needed to code their programs in such a way that their software would explicitly take advantage of the multiple cores, which could easily become a tedious and troublesome task, especially in complex software. It also includes advanced GPU performance with OpenCL by providing support to offload work normally only destined for a CPU to the graphic card's GPU. This can be especially useful in tasks that can be heavily parallelized.
Snow Leopard only supports machines with Intel CPUs, requires at least 1 GB of RAM, and drops default support for applications built for the PowerPC architecture.
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