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What's the difference between Snow Leopard and Leopard?

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First thing to know: This is not a complete overhaul of Mac OS X. Rather, it's a series of small to medium-sized improvements, what Apple calls "refinements." Much of the new shine to OS X 10.6 comes from changes that are under the surface, possibly not obvious to the unobservant. But Apple does say that the improvements make the overall OS much faster, including a 45-percent faster installation than the previous version of the operating system, OS X 10.5, or Leopard. Apple is also promising faster boot times, quicker shut down, a speedier process when joining wireless networks, and faster backups to Time Machine. And it's not just quicker, Apple says, it's lighter: Upon install it frees up 6GB of space. Specific applications have been tinkered with as well, with a lot of attention focused on Quicktime, Expose, and a shiny new Safari 4 browser, which was released in June. For more on that, see here. Quicktime gets a mysterious new version number, and is now called Quicktime X. It's a ... more
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Leopard is the nickname of the MAC X Operating System (OS). Snow Leopard is the name given to the 2009 release which is also known as MAC OS X v10.6. Unlike previous OS releases, Snow Leopard featured more "behind the scenes" changes. The most noticeable change users might come across is the amount of disk space freed up after a clean install. The Safari web browsers will also seem faster and has been altered to boost Java and HTML performance, facilitating the increased speed.

Finder, an application included with MAC OS software, basically assists in managing the files and content on the computer as well as launching other applications. The Snow Leopard OS features a more responsive Finder that had been rewritten for Cocoa, an Apple object-oriented application program environment.

Additional feature changes include faster Time Machine Backups, more reliable disk ejects, and a more powerful version of the Preview application which is used for image and pdf viewing. Additionally, users will note increased performance and efficiency as well as improved stability in the Snow Leopard OS.

QuickTime X is included and features a new user interface and other features improving functionality that previously were only available to QuickTime Pro users.

An interesting change is the 64-bit capability of the Snow Leopard OS. Allowing for 64-bit use increases the amount of RAM the system can utilize significantly which can also facilitate performance improvement and speed. MACs running Snow Leopard require a minimum 1GB RAM and this operating system can only be used in machines containing Intel CPUs.

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