Mac OS X 10.6.8 benchmarked: How fast is it?

“I have tested the speed of virtually every version of Mac OS X since the release of the public preview of Mac OS X 10.0,” Bill Fox reports for MacsOnly. “Until Lion is out, I expect no real speed differences except, perhaps, in graphics since the drivers package keeps getting updated (e.g. version 1.6.36 in 10.6.8 and 1.6.26 in 10.6.7) so I have only been testing the graphics speed of the past several releases.”

“In my speed test of 10.6.7, it appeared that the graphics speed of Snow Leopard had become slower from 10.6.5 to 10.6.7, especially for my Mac Pro with an ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card,” Fox reports. “However, the change, if any, was slight and not significant although consistent among tests. My MacBook Pro with Nvidia 320M graphics showed no change.”

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Fox reports, “I tested 10.6.8 in my 2008 dual quad 2.8GHz Mac Pro with the latest and greatest Mac graphics card, the ATI Radeon HD 5870, and my 2010 2.4GHz 13″ MacBook Pro with Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics… The good news is that OpenGL graphics performance has finally and substantially improved.”

Full article with the benchmark results here.

MacDailyNews Note: Our iMac 32- and 64-bit Geekbench scores running Mac OS X 10.6.7 vs. 10.6.8 (click scores for more details):

Mac OS X 10.6.7:
Geekbench iMac 3.4GHz Mac OS X 10.6.7

Mac OS X 10.6.8:
Geekbench iMac 3.4GHz Mac OS X 10.6.8

Pretty, pretty, pretty good (and snappy!)


  1. Aren’t those numbers too close to call? Could well be within the bounds of statistical error. No two tests would produce the exact same results but they look close enough to not matter.

    I don’t feel as if my MBP is running any faster. It feels smoother though, like gliding on ice. That for me is an incalculable advantage over Windows. Plus with a Mac you only ever need to undergo the upgrade process once which is done seamlessly in the background with the updater. 

    The frustration of the average Windows user with constant restarts, small random patches that don’t seem to do anything other than put a bandaid on another security hole must really be boiling over by now.

  2. Your 2 iMacs appear to be the same model with same processor, yet one tests consistently 1000 points less than the other? Why is that? Does one have an SSD while the other has a hard drive? Does one have more RAM?

  3. I’ve often yawned at reports like “This latest Mac is 10% faster…” I don’t want a machine that’s ten percent faster. I want a machine that’s ten TIMES faster!

    1. That’s what you want…but you aren’t going to get it overnight. 10% compounds pretty darn fast. In seven generations you end up with twice the speed. And every few generations, Macs tend to get a big performance bump from the next generation processor.

      The performance that is currently available on iOS devices is truly amazing to us older dudes who saw the first electronic calculators emerge as a commercial product.

  4. haven’t tried it yet..will try later. It better be good.. As a long time Mac user I’ve been nothing but disappointed with 10.6 and it’s speed and stability.

    Have you ever taken your old 10.4 or 10.3 and compared the snappyness on even older hardware?

    I don’t like this trend… . I hope Lion is getting better, but just by the look of things it seems they just keep on adding eye candy, which doesn’t interest me at all. Wish you could entirely disable all that.

    If apps would still run on 10.4, I’d install this on my macbook pro… . Or even back 10.5, that was good as well.

    Let’s see… 🙂

    MDN, can we raise like a poll or something about this? ie: who else as huge OS X fanatics find 10.6 worse or better than older versions?

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