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10 Reasons to Upgrade to Snow Leopard | Review

Snow Leopard is cool. Like snow. After using Snow Leopard for less than a night... these are the reasons I am actually happy to have spent a whopping $29 on the upgrade.

  1. It's friggin' $29! (or $25 if you buy HERE)
  2. Space savings - While a 6GB or so savings doesn't SEEM like a lot... it can make a big difference on a laptop, especially a laptop used for photo and video editing. I have a 320GB drive and with all of the apps and support files I have I average only 80GB free space when I'm keeping it CLEAN. I regularly run out of space when working on projects, but now I'll have 6GB more!
  3. Quicktime - Wow. It LOOKS cool. And it plays with no borders. There is no longer a Quicktime Pro. This is cool for most people. There is a new share menu and you have your standard iTunes-Mobile Me-YouTube options... but you are limited to them and the save for web (which is great for quick iPhone exports). The downside is that there are no professional output options... luckily during the upgrade you can choose to keep Quicktime 7 for that stuff.
  4. Screen Recording - Yeah this is another Quicktime feature but it's AWESOME and thus deserves its own place on the list. You can do screen recording now, so making simple tutorials, etc is a lot easier. I use Screen Flow for the more advanced stuff but sometimes I just want to do a quick capture, and now I can use Quicktime instead of iShowU.
  5. Wake up FASTER! - Although I had little to complain about Leopard's wakeup time... Snow Leopard is twice as fast. I pretty much never shut down my laptop, I just close the lid and open it to use... sometimes to use quickly... so this is great for me. Shut down time is also faster, though I don't really care.
  6. iChat in Hi-Res - I use iChat for lots of things... not usually chat. I share smaller files, talk to people via video chat, and preview documents and videos to clients and colleagues. This is a big upgrade for me because I was previously limited to crappy video quality when video chatting or especially when sharing videos and images through iChat Theater. Now it's 640x360, and that's pretty sweet.
  7. Finder - Yup, it's faster. Not so blazingly fast that I was as wowed as when I first used the iPhone 3GS after the sluggish-in-comparison 3G... but you can tell it's a little more zippy. You can also customize your Spotlight searches... which is something I've wanted for a long time... and you can undelete items straight back into the folder they came from... instead of having to figure it out and drag it back.
  8. Stacks - One thing I used to hate about stacks from the dock was that it would only show so many files... then you had to click the arrow to see more, and it would just open a new Finder window. It sucked once you had lots of files in your Downloads folder, and weren't looking for something recent. Now you can scroll right in the stack!
  9. Expose - I use active corners on desktop and all the wonderful multi-touch features of the pad on my MacBook Pro, but it's nice to have new options... and now by clicking and holding the dock icon for an app you can see just the application's windows in Expose. Small but cool feature.
  10. Faster Time Machine - Time Machine is cool, and Time Machine is slow. While a REAL upgrade would be the ability to actually travel through time with Time Machine... Snow Leopard supposedly runs 80% faster (I haven't timed it). That's cool, cuz until they build a real time machine... time is pretty short.
  11. Automatic printer driver downloads - Ok so this is number 11, because I've already got everything written for 10 but Lan just showed me something cool, and everyone likes a freebie, right? When you install you can choose to install NO printer drivers, which saves almost a GB, then when you connect to a printer the drivers will automatically be pulled for you. This ain't Windows!

While I've heard a few reasons NOT to upgrade just yet due to incompatibilities with software by some 3rd party companies who haven't updated yet... as long as you're not using any of those you should cough up the cost of a basic lunch for two and upgrade to get your mostly-small-but-much-appreciated new features.

EDIT: There is a wiki set up with a compatibility/incompatibility list of apps for use with Snow Leopard here: Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Compatibility List.

NOTE: If you are using a 3rd party hard drive or a replacement drive you may need to update your partition map scheme before you can install Snow Leopard. (you'll know if you get an error saying ""HD" can't be used because it doesn't use the GUID Partition Table scheme") If you have your original Apple-installed drive on an Intel Mac you will be fine, those come with a GUID partition table. If not then you'll need to reformat your drive, which means you need to back everything up first, format your drive, then install. Or do what Lan did and back everything up using Carbon Copy Cloner, reformat the main drive and change to GUID partition scheme, then restore your carbon copy clone, and upgrade to Snow Leopard normally. Takes a few hours but is clean and fairly simple.

If you buy Snow Leopard on Amazon by clicking the little banner below, you'll save $4 and pay only $25 AND I'll get like $2.23, which will make me much happier than you'd think $2.23 would.