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Snow Leopard in action looks a lot like OS X Leopard, but its significantly faster, according to Apple.  (Source: Apple)

The new OS also improves accessibility, adding support for braille wireless accessories for the visually impaired.  (Source: Apple)
Apple is ready to spread OS X 10.6 to the masses

Apple's new operating system, OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard", will beat the company's own launch target of September – an official launch date of August 28 was just announced.  The new OS is priced at $29 per license for OS X Leopard users (with additional discounts for bulk license users).  Apple notes, "Snow Leopard builds on a decade of OS X innovation and success with hundreds of refinements, new core technologies and out of the box support for Microsoft Exchange."

Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, describes, "Snow Leopard builds on our most successful operating system ever and we’re happy to get it to users earlier than expected.  For just $29, Leopard users get a smooth upgrade to the world’s most advanced operating system and the only system with built in Exchange support."

The new OS is set to go head-to-head with Microsoft's Windows 7 and delivers many major improvements for Mac users.

Over 90 percent of the 1,000 core programs in OS X had their performance tuned and improved, according to Apple.  Many -- namely, Finder, Mail, iCal, iChat, and Safari -- were moved from 32-bit into a 64-bit world, which boosts memory performance, among other things.  Apple says that its Finder is "more responsive", its Mail client is twice as fast, and Time Machine is 80 percent faster at its initial backup.

Apple includes the new QuickTime X and Safari 4 with the OS.  Apple says that the new version of Safari is more resistant to plug-in crashes and 50 percent faster at general web browsing (Safari recently received the accolade of being listed by Futuremark as tied with Google's Chrome as the fastest browser).

The size of the installation has also been cut in half freeing 7 GB. 

Apple is pushing a couple of new technologies with Snow Leopard.  The first is its Grand Central Dispatch (GCD) a technology designed to optimize multi-core usage.  Another new tech is OpenCL, a C-based open standard, which looks to provide heterogenous processing on both GPUs and CPUs.

Ironically, one of Apple's biggest selling point with the new OS comes from competitor Microsoft.  Apple explains, "Snow Leopard is the only desktop operating system with built in support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, and it allows you to use Mac OS X Mail, Address Book and iCal to send and receive email, create and respond to meeting invitations, and search and manage contacts with global address lists. Exchange information works seamlessly within Snow Leopard so users can also take advantage of OS X only features such as fast Spotlight searches and Quick Look previews."

Unlimited licenses of Snow Leopard are available for $499, half the price of an unlimited pack for Leopard.  The new OS will start shipping this Friday to customers that pre-order.  Amazon.com has already been holding an unofficial pre-order for the last couple weeks and saw Snow Leopard jump to the top of its software sales charts.

Snow Leopard Server will launch on August 28, as well, alongside the new consumer OS.  The Server edition comes with Podcast Producer 2 and Mobile Access Server and costs $499 for an unlimited license.



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RE: Ordered
By StevoLincolnite on 8/24/2009 1:36:58 PM , Rating: 0
Hopefully OpenCL brings competition to Direct X.

I miss the war of the 3D API's when it used to be Glide vs Direct 3D vs OpenGL, we had some amazing innovations during that time, heck Glide+3dfx kick started 3D gaming. :)

Glide went the way of the Dodo unfortunately when 3dfx went out of business and was absorbed by nVidia. (R.I.P 3dfx!)

And OpenGL has not really been much of an impact since Doom 3 in my opinion.

However with the Mac selling the way it is, Developers will be able to take advantage of the OpenCL API like they did with OpenGL and make games more cross-platform, essentially increasing available market share.

And maybe, just maybe, 10 years down the track the Mac Platform might be a decent gaming platform, especially if they made there hardware more "Open" to upgrades.


RE: Ordered
By Willardjuice on 8/24/2009 1:54:33 PM , Rating: 5
lol @ OpenCL replacing DirectX/OpenGL.


RE: Ordered
By DEredita on 8/24/2009 2:24:14 PM , Rating: 5
I'm looking forward to Snow Leopard taking the already awful GMA950 graphics, and making it run worse.


RE: Ordered
By StevoLincolnite on 8/24/2009 2:58:19 PM , Rating: 5
I thought Intel Decelerators did that automatically regardless of the platform?


RE: Ordered
By waffle911 on 8/24/2009 10:49:05 PM , Rating: 3
Thank god Apple doesn't use those any more.


RE: Ordered
By sapiens74 on 8/24/09, Rating: -1
RE: Ordered
By StevoLincolnite on 8/24/2009 2:56:18 PM , Rating: 4
What a load of rubbish, there are decades worth of games available for the PC, stemming way back to the time of the Dinosaurs. (Or the DOS era).

Then you have the little ability to Emulate other platforms which also opens up a massive amount of available games to play.

Then you have the massive money making MMORPG games like WoW, Eve Online etc'.

What about Browser games like Travian? or Flash games?

Hows about Casual games from Popcap/Reflexive Arcade/Game house?

Just because the creator isn't called "Crytek" doesn't mean there aren't games, PC gaming isn't going anywhere, it's merely shifting focus to the casual games/console ports, or in a dry spell again. (We were in this same situation about a decade ago.)


RE: Ordered
By rudy on 8/24/2009 4:06:01 PM , Rating: 2
He may have actually been talking about the online move. Many people feel that in 10 or so years we will all only be playing games that are streamed to us as an image and we just send back the input. Should take cheating off the table one of the big issues and will decrease the cost of computers. Consoles are very well poised to do this as well. For the last several years it seems consoles have really picked up steam and PC gaming has slowed down.

Although despite that the PC games are still far ahead of consoles but the fact is consoles are catching up.


RE: Ordered
By Mojo the Monkey on 8/24/2009 8:13:46 PM , Rating: 4
latency issues will ensure that this off-site game processing model will NEVER happen for any game which requires user speed/precision in controls.


RE: Ordered
By omnicronx on 8/24/09, Rating: 0
RE: Ordered
By Pirks on 8/24/2009 4:30:03 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
most of us don't have the money to buy a Mac Pro
Stop lying omni, you don't need to get Mac Pro to get OpenCL in GeForce 9400M which you can get in $599 Mac Mini :P


RE: Ordered
By omnicronx on 8/24/2009 4:36:51 PM , Rating: 2
lying? a 9400M is not a high end GPU, sure it is a high end mobile GPU, but nothing compared to some of the other desktop based GPUS on that list.(which can only be used on a Mac pro as far as I know, feel free to correct me)

On a nicely powered Cd2, you may get 15FPS with no AA/AF in crysis. Heck I tried playing TF2 on my friends Mac last week and only achieved 35-40 ish FPS in Team Fortress 2.

These are not the kind of GPUs that will be able to take advantage of all that is Open CL...


RE: Ordered
By Pirks on 8/24/2009 5:53:33 PM , Rating: 3
You do know that OpenCL is not a gaming API, don't you? Then why your irrelevant stupid references to Crysis and such?


RE: Ordered
By omnicronx on 8/24/2009 6:36:54 PM , Rating: 1
Obviously Pirks, Floating Point performance, you know, half point of having a GPU in the first place is totally irrelevent.

Sad part is you actually have people in here believe what you are saying. Gaming performance is a direct gauge of floating point performance, thus my 'stupid irrelevant' reference to Crysis turns out to be very much so relevant.

The 9400m is a 16 core GPU, and while that maybe fine in the mobile world, it is dwarfed by the performance of desktop cards.

Here is just an example of the difference: (go find any benchmark all will be pretty much the same)

Sad part is you actually have people in here believe what you are saying. Gaming performance is a direct gauge of floating point performance, thus my 'stupid irrelevant' reference to Crysis turns out to be very much so relevant.

The 9400m is a 16 core GPU, and while that maybe fine in the mobile world, it is dwarfed by the performance of desktop cards.

Here is just an example of the difference: (go find any benchmark all will be pretty much the same)

9400m OpenCL preview
OpenCL float performance- 18074 / 15892 kPixel/s

9600GT (64 cores, not a new top of the line GPU)
OpenCL float performance- 86.14 / 10.82 MPixel/s

Notice how the 9400 is measured in kila-pixels and the 9600gt is measured in Mega Pixels , the difference is night and day. (somewhere in the magnitude of 6x)

I thought you had outgrown your shenanigans, I guess I was wrong..


RE: Ordered
By omnicronx on 8/24/2009 6:45:05 PM , Rating: 1
P.S The only reason I used crysis as an example is because I assumed not that many people here realize what Open CL actually does. Calculations that run on the GPU will be taking advantage of its floating point performance (FLOPS), and the simplest way to show this kind of performance is simple gaming benchmarks. You can know right off the bat how useful a GPU will be for OpenCL just by looking at something as simple as this. The fact remains a 9400m will see little to no benefit, this is even evident on your beloved Apple forums where there are multiple threads dedicated to the topic.


RE: Ordered
By omnicronx on 8/24/2009 6:48:37 PM , Rating: 3
Taking this even further, OSX 10.5 already performs load balancing between the CPU and GPU for certain calculations with Open GL. As such the benefit of OpenCL is even less, as a similar system is already implemented.


RE: Ordered
By Pirks on 8/24/09, Rating: -1
RE: Ordered
By Alexstarfire on 8/24/2009 7:48:37 PM , Rating: 1
I think he was just talking about price wise. And I think having to spend $1800 Just to get up to the GT120 is much of an improvement. You really do almost have to get a Mac Pro to get something better than the 9400M. Only ones available on non-Mac Pros are the 9400M, 9600M, the $1800 iMac with a GT120 and the $2200 iMac with a GT130. That's it. I'm not sure how much a better GPU will help, but having to spend $1800 just so you get something better than a mobile GPU is quite sad.


RE: Ordered
By themaster08 on 8/25/2009 1:45:00 AM , Rating: 1
Just when I thought that liver donation got the best of you, you come back from the dead.

I even had your funeral song prepared....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdrYgUNugko


RE: Ordered
By Pirks on 8/25/09, Rating: -1
RE: Ordered
By Alexstarfire on 8/25/2009 3:51:33 AM , Rating: 1
Not even an insult from you? I'm quite shocked that you have absolutely nothing to say against my facts.


RE: Ordered
By Pirks on 8/25/2009 4:56:31 AM , Rating: 2
What facts? About iMacs that have pretty powerful GPUs like Radeon 4850? Sure thing buddy, this is exactly why I called the omni's lies about Mac Pro. Any more questions on that?


RE: Ordered
By Alexstarfire on 8/25/2009 1:54:34 PM , Rating: 2
For $2000+ and for a $200 upgrade on a card that costs about half that brand new and at full price? I'm sorry, but it may seriously just as well be a Mac Pro. I've been saying the whole time that it's more about the price you can get them at and not just about what computers you can actually get it on.


RE: Ordered
By Amiga500 on 8/25/2009 3:19:34 AM , Rating: 2
All nice.

But quite irrelevant with regards running games on OpenCL... 'cos no-one is going to do that.

Realistically, right now the bottleneck is the GPU, so moving more non-graphical work to the GPU is not the way to optimum frame rates.


RE: Ordered
By Smilin on 8/25/2009 5:00:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The 9400m is a 16 core GPU, and while that maybe fine in the mobile world, it is dwarfed by the performance of desktop cards.


While I agree with your overall statement about desktop vs mobile cards the example you used doesn't really show it..

quote:

9400m OpenCL preview
OpenCL float performance- 18074 / 15892 kPixel/s

9600GT (64 cores, not a new top of the line GPU)
OpenCL float performance- 86.14 / 10.82 MPixel/s

Notice how the 9400 is measured in kila-pixels and the 9600gt is measured in Mega Pixels , the difference is night and day. (somewhere in the magnitude of 6x)


Just FYI ...

15896k > 10.82M

The other number is a different story but you might want to highlight what's actually being measured.


RE: Ordered
By mmntech on 8/24/2009 6:53:51 PM , Rating: 4
OpenCL is designed to accelerate CPU intensive tasks by using the GPU's higher processing capacity. Namely simulations, video & photo editing, and media encoding. Basically anything that involves complex matrix calculations, which is what graphics processors excel at. It's the same thing as nVidia's CUDA, ATI's Stream, and Microsoft's DirectX 11. However, unlike those three which are limited to a specific platform, OpenCL is intended to be cross compatible allowing it to function on any GPU on any OS. It has absolutely nothing to do with gaming. Besides, gaming is only a relatively small segment of the entire PC market as a whole. High end graphics cards tend to be far cheaper than professional grade CPUs. Using the untapped GPU power in most computers to accelerate profession apps beyond only CAD would pay huge dividends both for users and hardware manufacturers. Even a small boost on low end hardware would add up to save a lot of time and money.


RE: Ordered
By Pirks on 8/24/09, Rating: -1
RE: Ordered
By Alexstarfire on 8/24/2009 7:53:23 PM , Rating: 2
Only if you consider a GT130 powerful... Only Mac Pros have better GPUs.

Not saying you won't gain anything on those lower GPUs though. Just not sure if it'll be all that useful. Better than not having OpenCL, that's for sure.


RE: Ordered
By Pirks on 8/24/2009 8:16:52 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Not saying you won't gain anything on those lower GPUs
Precisely my point.


RE: Ordered
By Alexstarfire on 8/24/2009 9:00:33 PM , Rating: 3
I'm sorry, but other than that ONE statement you made, it was not your point at all. You were just trying to make him look stupid, but all you do is bring it upon yourself by making wild "facts" like saying "everyone knows that iMacs have pretty powerful GPUs." That is the most bullshit I've ever heard.


RE: Ordered
By ffakr on 8/25/2009 12:16:10 AM , Rating: 5
The High End iMac ships with a Radeon 4850. That's a pretty high end video card. Even the lowly GT 120 is fast in terms of parallel Floating point performance.

I know there's really no point with arguing with the 12 year olds on Daily Tech,.. but what the hell, I've got nothing better to do right now.

Most of you have no idea what you're talking about.

* OpenCL is a high level API that abstracts technologies like FireStream and CUDA. If a new chip technology comes on the market with the appropriate instruction support, OpenCL will be able to support that as well (with little under the hood, and probably no developer changes). It's cool because it's the easiest way to write GPU accellerated code.
* OpenCL is called OpenCL in part because the functions map to OpenGL instructions. Rendering 3d and doing generic matrix math have a lot in common. It's no concidence that CUDA, FireStream and OpenCL use GPUs that are capable of running OpenGL code.. They all specialize in the same math.
* I know some of you hate Apple but I'll have to break it to you. OpenCL is an open standard. Apple was just a major contributor and a steerer of the project. OpenCL is open to Microsoft and the Linux community if they choose to adopt it.
* Yes, even a lowly GT120 or 9400M will do certain calculations faster than a Xeon or Operton. The point of OpenCL isn't to run Crysis. If that's all you can see, you're a moron [or a 12 year old]. Apple's providing a powerful tool to leverage a GPU with very minimial coding effort. If I need to do FFTs or Matrix Multiplication and I can move the data back and forth to the GPU without taking a big hit from the context switch, there's a good chance even the lowly GPU will be quite a bit faster than the CPU. A 9400 is a 16 "core" chip and a GT120 is a 32 "core" chip. These are simple cores that don't have nearly as many instructions available to them as a GPCPU but they can do an awful lot of work in parallel if it happens to be the 'right kind of work'. A Mac Mini has a dual core CPU. Do you see why it might be nice to leverage that lowly 16 core co-processor to help with heavy lifting.. like transcoding video in iMovie?

This isn't about how much faster Crysis will run, it's about tapping under-utilized computation resources in a computer system.
What you, as end users, will see is significant performance increases in some consumer apps. There are already CUDA aware apps for Windows which perform some functions, like transcoding video, at several times the unaccellerated rates. You can find examples at Nvidia's CUDA site. They've got more example apps with the speed increases posted every week.

Perhaps the best example of OpenCL's utility is how we might use OpenCL. Right now we're working with CUDA (an analog) because it can do some things two orders of magnitude faster than a CPU [with a powerful GPU]. Some Mathematica parallel routines are up to 100x faster with version 7's CUDA support.
The Accellereyes Jacket libraries for Matlab are 5-10-20x faster for supported calculations.
Go to the Portland Group's site to watch a demo of their next Fortan Compiler's CUDA support. It can be an order of magnitude faster with a GPU than with a CPU.

I really hate to shatter the world view of everyone here, but every new technology isn't designed for Gamers. OpenCL is extremely cool. It's extremely powerful. I've seen 3rd party app acceleration with OpenCL already. It's extremely impressive. If you're doing 'the right kind of' math, it's easy to realize a 10X performance increase with a decent video card.
The really cool thing about OpenCL though, is that the developers don't have to write to the Chip. Accelereyes Jacket is a CUDA acceleration library for Mathematica. If it were written with OpenCL rather than CUDA.. it would work on ATI and Nvidia systems. That's the real power of OpenCL.


RE: Ordered
By Pirks on 8/25/2009 1:26:33 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
The High End iMac ships with a Radeon 4850. That's a pretty high end video card
Well, looks like telling these obvious things to Alex and Omni is a waste of time. The boys just like to bash Apple, that's all. Let'em play :)


RE: Ordered
By Alexstarfire on 8/25/2009 3:59:13 AM , Rating: 2
Ahhh, I'm quite sorry for getting that information wrong. I went and looked on the Apple website before posting but missed it. I checked several computers to see if I could configure it with a better video card, but I couldn't. I therefore assumed, which I suppose I shouldn't have, that none of them could be configured with a better video card. Still, the cheapest computer with that card would cost you $2000 from what I'm looking at, the 24-inch 2.93 Ghz iMac. I find it atrocious that it's a $200 upgrade to get a card that can be had for half that price for a PC. And mind you that's full price, not just for an upgrade.

Unlike Pirks, I can admit when I've made a mistake. With this new information I can say that what Omni said is false, but for all intents is quite true. You have to pay and arm and a leg to get a decent video card for a Mac. Though, I'd be interested to know just what kind of performance boost you'd get out of these video cards with OpenCL.


RE: Ordered
By MrBlastman on 8/25/2009 11:00:34 AM , Rating: 2
Don't forget to mention the fact that the 24-inch iMac's response time for the screen is ~14 ms.

Far too slow to do any serious hardcore gaming. With a screen that slow you'll be seriously hindered in your playing ability.

A 5 ms screen for me is even way too slow, 2 ms is acceptable but nothing beats the sub 1 ms CRT's. So really, what is the point of having a fancy graphics adapter on a MAC if their displays are slow as heck?


RE: Ordered
By Alexstarfire on 8/25/2009 2:02:41 PM , Rating: 2
Who cares about games on a Mac? We all know that Mac OS is horrible for games and that no person in their right mind buys a Mac for gaming.


RE: Ordered
By MrBlastman on 8/25/2009 2:07:48 PM , Rating: 2
Well, you're right. :) But, to me, I only see a point in fancy high-speed graphics hardware for gaming. That is really the only point my desktop computer serves for at home. My laptop and office computers are for work.

The thing is--do Mac users know the Mac OS is horrible for gaming? Probably not. Apple's website says the 24 incher is good for gaming. We all know i-Fans follow the word of Jobs.


RE: Ordered
By Alexstarfire on 8/25/2009 4:03:42 AM , Rating: 1
I probably never made my stance clear, but I was never referring to games in my posts. I was referring to whatever tasks would be sent to the GPU.

Ohh, and the amount of actual cores isn't comparable to a CPU since they aren't designed the same. Much like saying a P4 and a P1 are equal just because they both have only 1 core.


RE: Ordered
By Pirks on 8/25/2009 5:01:36 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
That is the most bullshit I've ever heard.
And now after looking at Radeon 4850 in the iMac you realized that your BS is on YOU now, didn'tcha? ;)


RE: Ordered
By Alexstarfire on 8/25/2009 1:59:14 PM , Rating: 2
Sorta, but still not really. I can give you that that ONE card is very decent, but it's on a $2000 minimum computer.... that seems to have a crappy screen according to MrBlastman. Not useful for gaming, but then again I was never referring to games on a Mac because..... well that's just silly. And the price for that video card is the biggest joke of them all. A $200 upgrade for a $100 or so video card?

So yes, slightly less BS. I'll give you that.


RE: Ordered
By sinful on 8/24/2009 2:59:27 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
And maybe, just maybe, 10 years down the track the Mac Platform might be a decent gaming platform, especially if they made there hardware more "Open" to upgrades.

That's what they said about Quickdraw 3d (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QuickDraw_3D)... and then OpenGL... and now OpenCL...

Oh well, I'm this THIS time it'll be different!
Good luck with that, Apple!

(Don't hold your breath though)


RE: Ordered
By theapparition on 8/24/2009 3:52:21 PM , Rating: 3
OpenCL is not meant to be a replacement of OpenGL or DirectX. It is not meant to be a graphics language, rather it is used for harnessing GPU power in math intensive applications.

Nvidia already has something similar called CUDA, and ATI has thier implementation. OpenCL is designed to interface directly to CUDA enabled GPU's.

OpenCL is not for games.


RE: Ordered
By ffakr on 8/25/2009 12:22:55 AM , Rating: 3
specifically, CUDA and ATI's firestream are APIs that leverage the GPU's supported instructions.

OpenCL is cooler because it abstracts the underlying API with a OpenGL-like API.
OpenCL code will run accellerated on any supported GPU family while CUDA only runs on Nvidia and FireStream only runs on ATI hardware.

What it boils down to is, they all support the same machine instructions because they're designed to handle the math required by version x.x of DirectX and version x.x of OpenGL. At their heart, CUDA and FireStream leverage the same instructions.. they do the same math.., but the API is different.
OpenCL standardizes this for developers, and in turn for consumers.


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