Mac OS X Tiger Now Enhanced for Intel Core 2 Duo

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By: switchtoamac at: 11:56 AM on October 24, 2006 | Comments (14)
In their October 24, 2006 Press Release announcing the revised MacBook Pro line of professional notebook computers, Apple Computer mentions that the company's operating system, Mac OS X Tiger has been enhanced for the Intel Core 2 Duo processors.

The statement was embedded in the press release as follows:

"Apple has enhanced Mac OS® X to take advantage of the technology advances from Intel's Core 2 Duo processors, resulting in increased performance in professional applications like Aperture™ 1.5, Final Cut Pro® 5 and Logic Pro 7"

The new MacBook Pro's now join the iMac as the Macintosh models shipping with Intel Core 2 Duo processors.  When the iMac Core 2 Duo models were announced on September 6, 2006, Mac OS X 10.4.7 was the latest version of the Tiger operating system.  Mac OS X 10.4.8 was released on September 29, 2006.  The new MacBook Pro's ship with 10.4.8 and the press release provides insight into the 10.4.8 enhancements that were not previously disclosed.

If Apple can further disseminate this information, I would expect that more buyers would consider purchasing a Mac over systems made by PC vendors.

Can Microsoft make a claim that their current shipping operating system Windows XP has been enhanced to leverage the Intel Core 2 Duo?  Quite simply; No.  This enhancement provides yet another advantage in the Mac OS X versus Windows OS comparison.  The "enhancement" announcement demonstrates the inherent modern architecture of the Mac OS X operating system and that Apple can introduce updates to a shipping version of their operating system to leverage new processor features and technologies.

You can read the MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo Press Release here.


  • October 24, 2006 - I've contacted Apple's PR department for information regarding the Mac OS X enhancements.  Their reply didn't provide any useful information.  If anyone has insight or details about the enhancements, please post a comment.  Thanks.
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14 Reader Comments

Interesting find. I wonder if Apple will elaborate and tell us more. I wonder what they mean by that statment

Biased idiot, Windows XP does infact support multi-processing, the 64-bit version of XP certainly does multi-processing as well.


I never said XP couldn't support multiple processors or multi-processing. If you re-read the article, I asked the following question:

Can Microsoft make a claim that their current shipping operating system Windows XP has been enhanced to leverage the Intel Core 2 Duo?

That's pretty biased and more than a little silly: You don't even know what the enhancement are and you're proclaiming that it's proof of OS X's superiority (though personally, I think that OS X is superior for other, more tangible reason)?

The applications (which are what matter) will automatically take advantage of the enhancements to SSE and floating point arithmatic. There have been numerous benchmarks (Anand, Tom's Hardware, Hard OCP and others) which show the performance difference between the Core Duo and the Core Duo 2 on Windows.

There's nothing wrong with promoting OS X, however, you might want to skip the hyperbole and "keep it real" (otherwise it smacks of fanboyism).

XP barely support multiple processors.

I would be willing to bet XP doesnt, and vista wont really take advantage of a 64 bit multi core chip out of the gate.

disclaimer, I haven't used a windows PC since the 90's.

What kind of discussion is that?

A Microsoft hater bashing XP and a Microsoft zealot is replying and calling him "idiot".

There's no improvements in the core of operating system for Core 2 Duo. This new CPU introduces a set of instructions named SSSE3 which can offload complex DSP and 3D computations to CPU. Technically, these new instructions let the CPU do complex operations in its registers by one instruction. SSE extensions are for SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) computing. Giving a level of parallelness.

If you could read the article carefully, it says the improvements are for Aperture, Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro. Which all of them can take advantage of new instructions. (Which already work with SSE3 and the new SSSE3 will make them better).

What's wrong with you guys?

XP supports multiple processors just fine. Each "core" on a windows box just appears as a seperate processor. Windows has supported multiple processors for years.

That being said, since OSX has a controlled hardware environment, it is possible that they have put in CPU specific code in OSX to better utilize the processors.

You trade a bit of performance for the ability to pop out the cpu and upgrade it.

The author is clearly wrong about Windows not being able to update to support a new processor. They did this quite well with the AMD processors.
I have to call this a work of fanboyism as well.
PS. I just switched to mac.

I'm amazed! I havent' stated that Windows can't support new processors or multiple processors.

My statement was specific to the "Core 2 Duo" and if Microsoft could claim that Windows XP has been enhanced to leverage the Core 2 Duo

My point was to single out Apple's claim and that Microsoft cannot make a similar claim to XP. That's all.

yea, the enhancements are a form of advertising to push people to buy Core 2, even if they already have a perfectly capable core duo.

All versions of XP support multi-core, single-chip processors like the Core 2 Duo. XP Media Center and XP Pro support multiple separate processors and can take advantage of more than two program threads.

Similarly, quite a few apps in Windows (mainly games and workstation apps) can take advantage of SSE3; 64-bit versions of the OS can also take advantage of the extra memory addressing and math precision. In short: there isn't some major, overwhelming advantage to OS X's processor support.

The best argument to be made is that OS X is more explicitly parallel (i.e. it juggles resources more evenly), but that only helps with the perceived fluidity of the OS under load - not the apps themselves. Any app depends on how well-written its code might be... not necessarily the OS behind it.


Whatever your intentions your statement is still silly. It's the applications that need to support the enchanced SSE and floating point performance... and that they'd do automatically (i.e. the processor is just faster).

This statement and what followed it:
"This enhancement provides yet another advantage in the Mac OS X versus Windows OS comparison"

Is just wrong and all you're doing is taking marketing fluff (which you don't understand since you don't know what exactly has been enchanced to be able to make your arguments) and making silly claims with it.

Benchmarks on the iMacs already show that you get a boost going from the Core Duo to the Core Duo 2 (and the iMac had the Core Duo 2 months ago... long before this update).

Again: less hype more facts (at least facts can be proved).

My point was to single out Apple's claim and that Microsoft cannot make a similar claim to XP. That's all.

Given you can't even tell us what Apple's claim is technically (is it SSE3? No one knows), you can't answer this question yourself.

Here's one for you: Windows x64 runs on Merom/Conroe right now, today. I can fire it up with 8G of RAM. MacOS X won't be able to do that until next year. That extra RAM is more likely to help large scale applications than SSE3 over SSE2 or whatever hyperbole Apple is putting out there and you're chewing on.

Jason and FOTA,

Thanks for your follow up responses. Perhaps I wasn't clear on the comparison statement. The point I wanted to make was that Mac OS X is a more modern operating system that can be "enhanced" to take advantage of the latest processors.

So we're left to ask and/or speculate on the following:

1. What about the larger L2 cache, increased 140M transistor count, and architecture advantages in the Core 2 Duo and can these advances be leveraged by Mac OS X? What if any in Mac OS X Tiger can be (or was) enhanced to exploit these?

2. What can OS X leverage from the increased decode and execution width in the Core 2 Duo relative to the Core Duo?

3. Has something been enhanced in Mac OS X that can take advantage of the memory access and cache subsystem on the Core 2 Duo?

Now I agree with the both of you, without Apple providing additional details on what those exact enhancements are, we are left to speculate.



They'd have to make fairly significant changes to Darwin to fully exploit (i.e. specific optimizations for) the Core Duo 2.

OS X would automatically benefit from the architectural enhancements without any specific optimizations (i.e. stuff will just plain old fashion run faster). In fact OS X doesn't need the optimizations, the applications (like Final Cut or Aperture) do.

The only places where OS X could benefit is possibly in enhancements to Quartz Extreme for faster response (but it's already got hardware acceleration and that's largely the province of the device driver... though it could help for the GMA950 since it lacks hardware vertex shaders and has to rely more on the CPU).

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