In August we reviewed Apple's Enhanced OpenGL Stack that was
introduced as an update to Mac OS X 10.6.4. This Snow Leopard Graphics
Update 1.0 came out following Valve bringing Steam and its games to Mac
OS X and collaboration via Apple, NVIDIA, and ATI/AMD to better the Mac
OS X graphics stack with supporting new OpenGL extensions and making
other optimizations, such as adding OpenGL occlusion queries support.
While we tested this major Apple graphics update under a NVIDIA
MCP79-based Mac Mini, which is a GPU that did not receive as many
performance optimizations as those higher-end NVIDIA ASICs in newer
Macs, the performance improvements were noticeable in some cases. In
select games, however, Ubuntu Linux with NVIDIA's proprietary driver was
still faster than Mac OS X 10.6.4 + SLGU. With Apple having released Mac
OS X 10.6.5 this week that "addresses stability and performance of
graphics applications and games," among other changes, we have carried
out some new Mac OS X benchmarks seeing how the performance has changed,
if at all.